SWIC Reaches Out to Shenzhen
SWIC came into existence way back in 1992, when the city looked completely different from today’s modern metropolis. The club was set up to look after the needs of newly arrived expat ladies, who were in need of some orientation and a ready made community to help them adjust.
As we know, Shekou is the oasis where the majority of expat families have always been located, with its large choice of quality accommodation, so it made a lot of sense to base SWIC there.
As with its parent city, SWIC has evolved over the last 20 years, with many members passing through, and many remaining for the long term. As the board prepared for Saturday’s extravaganza, I met up with Bonnie Horibata, the President, Sangeeta Ghose, the Vice President, Nika Seng and Monica Schreck who was to take pictures of the event, at Starbucks in Sea World.
This turns out to be no coincidence; Bonnie informs me that the club meets every Tuesday at this very location, as it’s well known and easy to get to. ‘We keep things very casual…its informal and relaxed’ she remarks.
So how do potential new members join? ‘All they have to do is turn up and say hello. We have kept the fees very low at Y300 per annum to encourage membership, and we now have close to 400 members’ Bonnie continues.
Impressive numbers indeed…I wonder what type of activities does SWIC get involved in? Sangeeta responds ‘we have many ongoing initiatives; for example, we recently organized a course for our ayis to train in first aid in case of medical emergency.’ This makes a lot of sense, bearing in mind the number of hours children are left in the sole care of these hard working ladies.
‘We’ve seen an increasing number of young women arrive in the city, and have adapted our services accordingly, including a discounted shopping service, education for parents and lessons in basic mandarin’ Bonnie states.
Matters have progressed to such a degree that a change of name has been agreed upon. At Saturday’s well attended event, it was reported that the name of the organization had been changed from Shekou to Shenzhen Women’s International Club, reflecting the fact that SWIC’s membership is expanding all over the city.
It all bodes well for 2013, with a number of new projects and initiatives planned for the new year.
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