Isla is an Australian, born and raised in Sydney, her professional life took her to Indonesia where she has worked and lived for the past 35years. Isla is a charter member of SI Jakarta, joining in 1992.
Isla has held many positions at club and federation level, and will be remembered as the SIJ Project Director, Rebuilding Lamreh Village Project, read more about this amazing accomplishment below in Isla’s reflections.
Another interesting fact about Isla is that Isla is from a family of Soroptimists: Isla’s mother, Mary Holmes, has been a member of Soroptimist International of Christchurch, NZ, for more than 50 years, and sister, Trien Ong, is a member of Singapore Garden City club.
From 2006-2010 when I served two terms as the NR for Indonesia, and one as the 2nd Assistant Federation Programme Director (AFPD - 2008-2010), there was considerable focus on community development projects in the SEA region, especially in Indonesia, which was recovering from several devastating natural disasters. At the time, SISWP also managed an expanded programme portfolio, with increased reporting responsibilities.
After the deadly tsunami of 2004, our SI Jakarta (SIJ) Club raised AU$1,7 million to implement an ambitious, high profile project: Rebuilding Lamreh Village (Aceh, Indonesia), completed in 2007. Within two years, SIJ had provided the disaster affected Lamreh village with 200 new houses; a school; library; community centre; clinic; market; electricity; and clean, running water. At the hand-over ceremony in 2007, SIJ members can still recall, with pride (and some amusement!), the district head’s comments: “If only our own leaders could be as efficient as the Sorp-roti–mis (sic) women, we would be a better place…”! As the Project Director, I witnessed first-hand how a small Soroptimist club, through true dedication, commitment and accountability, could achieve results where many larger organisations had failed, and through our hard work, we were successful in bringing about hope, and a complete, positive transformation to the lives of the tsunami survivors."
Under the SI Strategic Plan, one of many significant outcomes approved in 2008 was the Long-term Project. I was privileged to have been closely involved in writing the project proposal draft - Education: Transforming the Lives of Women and Girls, that SISWP had been tasked to prepare. As in many of our Federation’s projects, impressive results were achieved by a small, diligent Federation Programme team… Size does not matter!
Clearing the village site after the Tsunami