Croydon Soroptimists mark International Women’s Day 2016


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To mark today’s International Women’s Day 2016, girls from junior schools throughout the borough showed off their public speaking skills in a competition held annually by Soroptimist International Croydon and District.

The final of the LOUD & PROUD competition, which is in its sixth year, featured 16 girls aged 10 – 11 who spoke for up to four minutes on a wide range of subjects including, Is football just for boys, should children learn a foreign language, should the UK stay in the EU and how would they handle the refugee crisis.

The final was held in the Council Chamber at Croydon Town Hall and the girls performed in front of a panel of five judges including the Chair of Crystal Palace Ladies Football Club, Richard Spokes, Nitin Mehta MBE, Cllr Maggie Mansell, Shelley Davies, Strategic Manager – School Improvement, Department for Children, Families and Learning and Fatima Koroma – Director of Social Enterprise.

Grace Onions, says,

“Their speeches were inspirational, revealing some astute observations.

The competition has gone from strength to strength and it was wonderful to see so many young girls stand up in front of a daunting audience and speak so passionately and articulately about their chosen subjects.”

The proud winner was Ninsola Adewale, who attends St Peter’s Primary School. Her chosen subject to speak on was the current refugee crisis. Second place went to Lara Martins and third place to Megan Shakespeare, both of St James the Great RC Primary School. 

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Front row, L to R – Megan Shakespeare, Ninsola Adewale, The Mayor of Croydon Cllr Patricia Hay-Justice and Lara Martins Back row, L to R – Nitin Mehta, Shelley Davies, Grace Onions, Gabi Richardson (immediate past President of SI Croydon and District), Cllr Maggie Mansell, Penny Veness and Fatima Koroma

“We believe events like these give girls an opportunity to not only improve their communication and public speaking skills but also encourage them to take part in public life in the future.”

The winners received their prize of Whitgift Centre vouchers as well as Crystal Palace scarves offered by Richard Spokes on the day.

All  contestants were also given a tour of the House of Commons by Gavin Barwell MP, who has supported this event for some years now, following on from the support shown by the late Malcolm Wicks MP.

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For further information about Croydon and District, please

Soroptimist International (SI) is a worldwide service organisation for women and represents 350 Soroptimist clubs in 29 countries. SI has been granted Special Consultative Status by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. Consultative Status allows an organisation to actively engage with the UN, submitting oral and written statements, and sending representatives to UN events, conferences and meetings. SI is committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their individual and collective potential, realise aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong, peaceful communities worldwide.

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