The International Women’s Club of Merida (IWC) has been an active presence in our city for more than 35 years. Like many women’s clubs all over the world, ours was initially formed so that women could meet and make friendships. Moving to a new country always entails a period of cultural adaptation, and lots of international women living in Merida say the IWC has helped them understand and get through the process. Many Mexican women also join the IWC… for the most part they have lived or studied in the USA or Canada, and when they return to Merida, they look for opportunities to practice their English. And as the women help one other, they also help the community in many ways:.
- Some members tutor students in English, at city schools and at the Merida English Library.
- Others knit warm caps, hand out activity books, and raise money to pay for medicines needed by the Children’s Cancer Hospital.
- The group supports a small medical dispensary in the village of Baca…
- And an afterschool program for young girls at “Nueva Vida”, in the southern part of the city.
- Several members offer their time (and a lot of love) at CAIMEDE, the State of Yucatan’s orphanage.
- IWC members also help out, and attend, the fund raising events of other altruistic groups in the city… such as animal shelters, the Red Cross, civic improvement groups, and more.
- However, the majority of the club’s resources go towards their Scholarship Program. Each year, the members fully sponsor three young Yucatecan women by covering all their university costs, books and transportation needs. Over the years, the 30+ scholarship recipients have graduated from Medicine, Law, and from other faculties.
All club members feel that when one woman achieves a university education, the whole family is helped and positively changed for generations to come.
Past and present IWC educational, self improvement and entertainment activities include courses, concerts, exhibits, lectures, day trips and week-long excursions, parties, dances, game nights, workshops and retreats. One member is currently hoping to start a choral group; another urges us to take up Salsa dancing, and yet another is into belly dancing. One afternoon a month, a tea is held, and one morning there is a coffee, at a member’s home. Also once a month, a restaurant breakfast buffet is organized for members and their guests.
Needless to say, all this activity requires umpteen hours of organization and follow-up, and the IWC’s five member Board is responsible for all this. Our club has recently completed a stellar two year period with an extremely capable and dedicated Board, led by President Fiona Wilmot. I would venture to say that Fiona made a positive impact on every single member of the club. And now Connie Burke (who served as Secretary on Fiona’s board) will be our new president.
We all look forward to Connie’s term. She too is a delightful, positive woman with a great sense of humour, a lot of life experience, wisdom and skills. Her Board is comprised of two women that she worked with while a part of the out-going team: Viviana Ramos and Kiki Molin. New members to Board positions are Joan Ileson-Combee and Roberta Ginsberg.
The International Women’s Club has a membership of more than 100 women from all over the globe. I for one, have made life-long friends through the IWC. Wherever women live, they need to feel useful and to have other female friends. So if you are feeling a need of some positive companionship and purpose… I urge you to come to a general meeting, held the last Saturday of each month at 9:30 am: The venue is a local college, TTT, located on Calle 57 No. 492, Between 56th & 58th, Centro. You don’t need an invitation, just show up… you’ll feel welcome. Or you can read more about the club at: https://iwcmerida.com/ And if you have any questions, you can leave a message there.