The History of Soroptimist International


Soroptimist International (SI) is a worldwide organisation for women. It was established in California, USA in 1921 and still accepts women from all walks of life. The main objective of the Soroptimists is to work through service projects and advance human rights and the status of women and girls. In recent years, the education of boys has become an added focus area with the aim to reduce domestic and gender-based violence.

The name Soroptimist is derived from the Latin "Soror" meaning sister and "optima" meaning best. It can thus be interpreted as the "Best for Women".


SI acts as a global voice for women through awareness, advocacy, and Action and we continue to strive for:


  • The advancement of the status of women and girls;

  • High ethical standards

  • Human rights for all

  • Equality, development and peace through international goodwill and understanding and friendship.


Soroptimist International of South Africa


Soroptimist International of South Africa (SISA) was chartered in Port Elizabeth in 1959. Until the African Federation (SIA) is established, SISA belongs to the federation of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI)

In South Africa, we unite in our vision for a better tomorrow and continually strive to improve the quality of life for women and children who face many challenges from day to day. We support the objectives of Soroptimist International through Advocacy, Awareness and Action and strive for the advancement of human rights. We advance the human rights of women in South Africa through Education, Empowerment and the Enabling of women socially, economically and politically.


In response to and in support of the SA Government's plea to NGOs and NPOs to be involved in the fight against AIDS, Gender and Domestic Violence and other ad hoc campaigns, SISA Clubs have identified present and future projects in the communities in which the members live and work. These require input and support from every Soroptimist.


SISA encourages clubs to add more value to their current and future projects by utilizing the individual skills, knowledge and expertise of each of the members. This, in turn, benefits those in need. We endeavour to be pro-active in shaping the future of women and children by lobbying government on important issues and contributing to the debate in areas of importance. We have a strong international voice through our representation on the Economic and Social Standing Committees of the United Nations, UNICEF and UNESCO. We have however, not influenced decisions in our own country to the extent that we should have. Strategies for changing this situation are being implemented.

New members who see an opportunity to make a difference in their own individual ways, should be attracted to join the Clubs, because of the projects which are exciting, challenging and valuable, whether they are new or long standing projects.

SISA Foundation Trust

The SISA Foundation Trust is the fundraising arm of Soroptimist International of South Africa. Registered as a non-profit organisation and Public Benefit Organisation. Its mission is to promote and raise funds to assist the Soroptimists allowing them to accomplish the goals of each of its projects. 

Contact Us

For more information about the SI Club in your area, do not hesitate to contact us by simply clicking on the link below. We will return your message as soon as possible.

  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey YouTube Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Pinterest Icon
  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey YouTube Icon