IWC promotes service and friendship for women of Merida

Photo: Robert Adams (left to right) IWC officers Laura Herandez, Elizabeth Johansson de Ballate and Anne Franks.

With 150 members from more than 15 countries, the International Women’s Club of Merida (IWC) recently marked its 30th year of service and friendship by and for women from many origins.

IWC, the recipient of a 2015 award from the USA-based General Federation of Women’s Clubs recognizing volunteer service and community improvement, provides a welcoming atmosphere for women to meet and get to know each other, according to President Elizabeth Johansson de Ballate.

“Our main goals are to help the community, provide friendship and promote self’-improvement and cultural enrichment,” Johansson de Ballate said.

Founded in 1984 by Joanna Van Der Gracht de Rosado and a small group of expats, IWC has grown to include native-born Yucatecan women as well as Americans, Canadians, Swiss, Swedes and other Europeans.

The club, which holds general meetings the last Saturday of each month at Tecnológica Turística Total on Calle 57 in Centro, is open to any woman regardless of age or background, Johansson de Ballate said.

Photo: Robert Adams (left to right) IWC officers Laura Hernandez, Elizabeth Johansson de Ballate and Anne Franks.
Photo: Robert Adams
(left to right) IWC officers Laura Hernandez, Elizabeth Johansson de Ballate and Anne Franks.

The only requirement for a woman to become a member is that she speak adequate English to be able to participate in meetings, which are conducted in English. The club also hosts regular coffees, teas, luncheons and other social gatherings.

Dues paid by members help support the club’s community service activities, which include scholarships for young female students at the Autonomous University of Yucatan (UADY). This program, which provides scholarships to two or three young women each year, has helped foster careers of more than 20 students in medicine, law, nursing, psychology, tourism and other fields, said Anne Franks, the club’s secretary.

Over the years, the club’s composition has evolved from mainly young mothers to mostly retirees seeking to meet new people in their adopted city. “The personality of the club has changed, but the goals remain the same,” Franks said.

Laura Hernández, the club’s treasurer, said members also contribute to the community by supporting a program for young cancer patients at O’Horan Hospital, and an after-school program for young girls at Estancia Nueva Vida. The club has also supported the Red Cross Hospital, and also even occasionally comes to the aid of members in need, Hernández said.

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By Robert Adams for TYT



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