Women’s rights on the menu

Gillian McAinsh

WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Gail Charalambous
WOMEN’S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Gail Charalambous

THE president of Soroptimist International of Port Elizabeth, who is also the communications officer for Soroptimist International of South Africa, chose Flava for her lunch date as she thinks John Burger is “fabulous”.

“I had one month in which to organise the Eva Rodriquez fundraising luncheon last year and John was a pillar of strength. He prepared a fantastic meal for the event. He was kind, considerate and very, very helpful.”

The salads were so appetising that Charalambous and I shared two, swapping plates halfway so that we could both enjoy the Mediterranean Pisa salad with lamb in place of beef, and a Canadian salmon salad.

A glass of soda water and cappuccino rounded off the meal.

I love working for Soroptimist International, a global voice for women and girls. Our focus is to educate, empower and enable women and girls to reach their full potential.

This gives our organisation credibility in the United Nations where our voice is heard and respected.

The Port Elizabeth chapter focuses on addressing issues like rape, human trafficking and high levels of violence towards women and children. We assisted in educating five young women who have shown promise in maths and science.

I’ll know I’ve made it when faced with a problem or adversity that I know I cannot overcome, and by changing my attitude to the problem, I am able to use the problem to my benefit and to the benefit of others.

The person who has taught me the most is my lovely, kind, funny, Irish father. My father was a Methodist minister and he taught me to love poetry, to dream and always to laugh at my own idiosyncrasies. He had a very strong sense of justice and he was steadfast in his beliefs.

I have a soft spot for animals and children.

I should have studied anthropology and sociology – I am curious about and interested in human dynamics and the structure of communities and societies. These subjects would have been so beneficial to my work as a women’s rights activist.

I’d love to party with my husband. That’s who I always love to party with as he can be such fun and he makes me laugh. However, if he wasn’t available for any reason, then, Richard Branson.

I’m listening to Leonard Cohen and Koos du Plessis, two fantastic poets.

When I was 16, I wish I knew … not to be anxious about life, but to embrace it and enjoy adventures.

Nothing makes me happier than hearing a child laugh.

My favourite item of clothing is a pair of cotton pyjama pants. I just love to sloth around in them.

I absolutely hate telesales calls. ARGH!

I am saving to pay for an adventure… watch this space!

I share my life with my husband, George, three cats and three dogs.

I can’t go a day without laughing. It is medicine for the soul.

My favourite places in the metro areHobie Beach – I swim there most mornings for about seven months of the year… love it. Love dining at Yiayias, Marilyn’s, Le Med, Zorbas, Sunday lunch at the Portuguese Club, especially when they serve paella. However, my best all time favourite place is at home, in my garden with my husband, my animals, and kind and loving friends.

 

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