AT the September meeting of Eikenhof Women’s Institute, members enjoyed a talk given by their own president, Joy Boswell, who went back in time telling them about the history of the WI movement.
“It was in 1897 a Canadian woman lost her 18 month-old-baby through a nutritional problem, and after recovering from the bereavement she invited other woman to come to her farm to explain the benefits of good nutrition. She only expected a few to turn up, but 100 women came,” said Joy, “and so the WI became into being.”
By 1917 there were 40 Women’s Institute branches, and by 1918, 199. In 1927 Queen Mary of England began a WI branch on her estate, and over time many other royals have been avid members.
During World War Two, the WI movement was very active in Britain, and in 1945 at the end of the war the United Nations was created, and in 1947 the WI had a voice at the United Nations.
It’s the largest organisation run by and dealing with women, with the head office of Women’s Institutes worldwide being based London, England. It is well-known the institute carries weight behind it and is a voice to be heard.
“Today, sadly, many WI branches have closed due to women being in full time employment and not being able to attend monthly meetings which are generally held during the day. Evening meetings were talked about, but with safety being a prime concern, women wouldn’t feel safe travelling.
“It is sad to see WI numbers dwindling and we hope to keep our numbers up at Eikenhof WI. Some of our older members have passed on and some have moved away. Therefore we would love to have new members joining us,” added Joy.
Their meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 9.30am in the hall of the St Andrew’s Church garden, Burger Street, Suideroord. If you are interested in coming as a visitor to see what the WI is all about, please phone Joy on 084 526 5857 or Julie Board on 083 408 1833.
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