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Heidelberg International Women's Club - Social Cultural Charitable

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  • Mon, January 27, 2020 11:29 | Christine Funke (Administrator)

    On January 26th, 2020, members of the Heidelberg IWC gathered at the Mehrgenerationenhaus Heidelberg for the Annual General Meeting and to celebrate the Club’s 2nd birthday.

    Heidelberg IWC AGM 2020 Group photo

    Our Amazing Partner Organizations

    President Christine Funke opened the meeting and appointed Mary Manning as the AGM Secretary, and then leading the vote for the new Executive Board. Christine then gave her President’s report noting that the 2nd year for the club was one of change and growth. She mentioned that a big focus was on building relationships in the community and talked about the partner groups the HIWC interacted with in the past year, including Food Explorers, Mehrgenerationenhaus Heidelberg, CoWomen Heidelberg, Heidelberg Women’s March, the German American Women’s Club, and the HIP Women’s Forum.

    Charitable Work & Volunteering

    She passed the spotlight to VP Marelie Manders who told about some of the highlights of the year, and later she covered the Club’s charity work and volunteering activities with Cooking for Hope, the Beauty Skills Project at the Hardstrasse Refugee Shelter, the NCT Run and Benefit Concert. In total, the Club donated over €950 to charities in the past year. Well done!


    Christine presented the Treasurer and Membership reports, on behalf of Maria Simo and Ginny Trowman, respectively. The Club’s finances are in good order, and the Club currently has 60 members with the goal to get to 80 this coming Club year. Most members find us through their friends so we encourage our current members to spread the word about the Club. Our Club is comprised of women from over 22 different countries—a truly international group.

    Social Media & FAWCO

    Tatiana D’Antonio presented her Social Media report explaining her role in keeping the Club’s Facebook and Instagram accounts up-to-date. FAWCO Rep Ulrike Näumann finished up the reports part of the meeting with updates from the Club’s activities with FAWCO, a brief introduction, and ways to get involved from attending the upcoming Interim Meeting in Luxembourg in March and helping to fundraise for the soon-to-be-picked Target Project. Both Ulrike and Christine mentioned ways in which the HIWC has connected with other FAWCO Clubs around the world to do good work.

    Heidelberg IWC Board Members 2020

    Newly elected 2020 - 2021 Board Members (from L to R): Mary Manning, Treasurer; Marelie Manders, President; Christine Funke, Vice President & Founder

    Thank You to Our Volunteers!

    After a short break, the meeting resumed and Marelie announced the names of the members being recognized for their service to the club and presented the ones present with gifts. Thank you to all of our members who keep our Club running!

    Christine then gave a short speech and presented Marelie with the “Barbara Bellosa Volunteer of the Year” Award highlighting her time with the HIWC, dedication to and involvement with the Club. Barbara was a cherished member who played an integral role in the founding of the Club in 2018 but passed away from cancer in late 2018.


    The meeting came to a close then it was time to celebrate! Raffle tickets were purchased, cake and food were eaten, and mingling brought members together. Over €245 was raised from the raffle for the Club's Beauty Skills Project, and we want to say a big thank you to our donors who donated the 4 prizes:

    It was a joint effort with all members helping to set up and take down the events. The AGM is really a wonderful way to celebrate the accomplishments and fun of the Club from the past year.

  • Tue, July 16, 2019 10:00 | Christine Funke (Administrator)

    Written by HIWC Member Susanne Ley

    On a very humid and warm evening in June 2019 at the Mehrgenerationenhaus Heidelberg, some courageous members of the Heidelberg IWC embarked on their personal quest for well-being as a whole, facilitated by Susanne Ley, Children Coach and Expert for Life Empowerment.

    Sundao, the art of Well-Being & Whole-Being with somatic meditations and internal energy alignment practices was originally invented by a south- Korean Master and his wife 20 years ago (www.ism.center or www.sundao.com). It is continuously updated and refined through personal experiences. Until now the inventors are travelling teachers holding workshops and retreats and spreading the word for the benefit of individuals and organizations.

    Heidelberg IWC Sundao Workshop 1

    You may ask: but what does it set apart from other mindfulness techniques like Yoga, Zen, or MBSR?

    Above all, its focus on the body as re-integrating basis as well as on the human energy system to release unconscious blockages.

    The effects?

    Your transformation that gives you peace, clarity and abundance in all dimensions of life.

    And the advantage?

    It roots in 5,000 years old ancient wisdom and strategies and yet it is not affiliated with any particular spiritual traditions, religion, culture or ethnicity. It has literally millennia of documented proof of extraordinary results for individuals and organizations, that its methods actually get the results advertised.

    Heidelberg IWC Sundao Workshop 2

    So how does a session of Sundao look like?

    At the very beginning the body needs to be warmed up. This can be done with shaking your body or light bouncing. The duration is very flexible and can be adapted to the individual needs of the participants, as with every practice. Nobody needs to stress his body to perform in a certain way. Afterwards, rotating your head, shoulders, arms, hips and knees can release further tightness and calm your mind. Tapping your body and your lower abdomen with both hands, either individually or as a partner exercise, activates your major energy power center and also helps accumulate the energy inside your body. The effects are immediate and demonstrate in high energy and refreshment.

    After warming-up, there are quite a few centering and embodiment practices (both sitting, laying down or standing) where you can feel the energy sensations moving inside your body. By breathing in, you welcome all the new possibilities into your life, by breathing out, you let go of all the past, sense of lack, deficiency, limiting beliefs, and release all the tension.

    Especially the slow movements and the underlying music facilitate the gentle and soft release of somatic tensions which benefit you the most.

    After having used the wisdom of your body to reconnect with yourself, increase your overall energy level and relieve stress, there is usually a phase of complete relaxation (laying down posture).

    Reawakening your body with light stretching and deep breathing brings you back into the real world.

    Keep in mind that at least 51% of your mental concentration is always on your lower abdomen. With this principle you can build up the awareness muscle and you will see your response to the things around you more consciously and become less reactive. You can observe your emotions as they come in the very moment, not storing unsupported energy anymore.

    Heidelberg IWC Sundao Workshop Susanne Ley

    Where can you try to practice Sundao the next time?

    If you were unable to join our session at the MGH this June, there is the exclusive possibility to get to know the founders of Sundao, ISM this October in Heidelberg. If you want to learn from them, visit: www.experiencepurebenefits.com. And please don’t get puzzled, since they changed the branding meanwhile, from Sundao to ISM (Inner Space Meditation, Integral Somatic Methods).

    And since Susanne is offering coaching for kids and parents, do not hesitate to contact her for specific coaching sessions. You can book her for a free introductory talk on bookme@susanneley.life.

    Thank you Susanne for hosting this workshop for HIWC Members!

    In Cooperation with the MGH Heidelberg

    Mehrgenerationenhaus Heidelberg

  • Mon, March 25, 2019 15:30 | Christine Funke (Administrator)

    Springtime brings the FAWCO Biennial Conference, and we have lots of exciting news from this year’s meeting in Edinburgh, which took place March 21-24.

    FAWCO Conference in Edinburgh 2019

    AIWC Cologne and HIWC Member Tricia R Saur wrapped up the Target Program for Education this weekend after three successful years. The highlight was the announcement of the final fundraising achievement of $190,000.00 ($65K over the original goal!) for the Target Project Hope Beyond Displacement. These funds have served over 1290 individuals to date and will continue to be invested through the fall. If you would like to read more, view her last blog post, “We’ve Crossed the Finish Line!

    FAWCO Target Program Health

    With the Target Program for Education coming to an end, the conference marked the launch of FAWCO’s new 3-year Target cycle centering on Health. The first year (2019-2020) will be devoted to awareness-raising and education on health-related topics affecting women and girls. At the same time, FAWCO will be accepting nominations for a new Target Project to be the focus of our charitable giving. Applications for the new Target Project will be available beginning May 1, 2019. The deadline for nominations is September 30.

    FAWCO Foundation

    And the FAWCO Foundation celebrated an astounding $2,000,000 in total giving towards Development Grants, Education Awards and other charitable programs since 1967, its founding year! 

    The FAWCO Youth Team announced the 2019 Youth Cultural Volunteers Program, which will take place in Athens, Greece from October 16 to 23, 2019. The wonderful week-long program is open to children of FAWCO club members, ages 15-18. Applications for the 2019 FAWCO Youth Cultural Volunteers will be available later this spring.

    Want to join us next year? Then mark your calendars... we're heading to Luxembourg for the FAWCO Interim Meeting the weekend of March 20-22, 2020.

    FAWCO Members from Region 5

    FAWCO Members from Region 5 (Germany and Austria)

    Additionally, the Region 5 Meeting will take place in Leipzig, Germany from November 15 - 17, 2019. All FAWCO Members are invited!

  • Mon, January 21, 2019 10:00 | Christine Funke (Administrator)

    The Heidelberg IWC celebrated its first birthday on January 20, 2019 during its first Annual General Meeting and Club Birthday Bash. It was a festive celebration along with a touching and thoughtful review of the past year. Around 20 members attended and after reports from the Executive Board and Coordinators and a vote to elect the new Board, there was cake, games and a fun party.

    The afternoon started off with the opening of the AGM by President and Founder Christine Funke. After a quick review of the AGM’s schedule and appointment of Stacey Barbaro as AGM Secretary, the members in attendance voted to elect the new Executive Board:

    • Christine Funke, President
    • Marelie Manders, Vice President
    • Maria Simo, Treasurer

    Next up were the reports from the officers which included photos from the Club’s firsts (first coffee morning, first Instagram post, first going away party, first vote, first partner event…) by the President, a fascinating look at the membership numbers and demographics by the former VP Laura Bobanovic, and a financial review by President Christine Funke, reporting on behalf of the former Treasurer Barbara Bellosa, who passed away last year. The Club finances are all in order!

    Following up were reports about charities and volunteering by Marelie Manders, highlights of past events by Activities Coordinator Kirsty Rowan, and then the introduction of many of the Activity Leaders to their activities, and finally FAWCO Rep Ulrike Näumann gave a brief overview of FAWCO, the events the Club did to support FAWCO over the last year, including raising over €1,250 for the Target Project: Hope Beyond Displacement.

    After a short break, the group gathered again to recognize and thank the volunteers who have supported the Club with their time, effort and resources over the past year. Their names were called and their were gifted with a small cactus.

    Lastly, the first ever Barbara Bellosa Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Ulrike Näumann for outstanding service and dedication to the Club. The President said some words about Ulrike, as well as Barbara, and then congratulated Ulrike for all she has done for the Club.

    After a few comments, the President closed the AGM and then the party started. There was a place for photographs with funny props, a “pass the parcel” game where a package of FAWCO Foundation Backing Women items were won, members sang Happy Birthday to themselves and cake was eaten.

    Overall, it was a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon enjoying each other’s company, celebrating the club and achievements, and getting excited about the new Club year.

  • Wed, December 19, 2018 10:00 | Christine Funke (Administrator)

    After writing, voting, revising, and revoting on the Club’s constitution, and voting for and then re-voting for the Executive Board, we can announce that the Heidelberg IWC is an official charitable nonprofit association (in German, ein gemeinnütziger Verein).

    Our association status is recognized by the district court in Mannheim (Amtsgericht Mannheim) and our charitable nonprofit status is certified by the tax office in Heidelberg (Finanzamt Heidelberg) with our charitable purposes being officially: the advancement of art and culture, charitable purposes in supporting those in need.

    We have fulfilled the requirements under association law and have proved our charitable goals and look forward to operating as an official organization in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

    See all the details on our Impressum.

  • Fri, December 07, 2018 11:00 | Christine Funke (Administrator)

    All throughout 2018, the Heidelberg IWC has been fundraising for the FAWCO Target Project, Hope Beyond Displacement, which provides education and skills training for refugee women and girls in Amman, Jordan. As a FAWCO Member Club, the HIWC has the opportunity to come together with the 62 other Member Clubs and make a difference with one organization. After the last of five fundraising event and activities took place in December, we can announce that the HIWC has raised €1,215 to donate to Hope Beyond Displacement!

    Hope Beyond Displacement aims to build better futures through education, vocational and leadership training for refugee women and girls in Amman, Jordan. It is an initiative of the Collateral Repair Project (CRP) designed to address the pressing issues identified in close consultation with the women they serve.

    Hope Beyond Displacement

    Located in Amman, Jordan, Collateral Repair Project is a grassroots effort to bring much-needed assistance to refugees and other victims of war and conflict - those commonly referred to as "collateral damage". They operate numerous programs focusing on community building, education and emergency aid.

    The project addresses these issues through targeted training and educational programs, and through tangible opportunities for advocacy and leadership. To ensure the sense of ownership and investment that will be integral for the longevity, sustainability, and success of the project, community members will be involved at every stage.

    The events and activities where money was raised were:

    • A special book discussion, where members read When the Moon is Low and the Skyped with the author Nadia Hashimi;
    • A Walk Through the Night, where members walked along the Neckar in Heidelberg and considered the plight of refugees fleeing their homes;
    • The Kick-Off Monthly Meeting, where attendees participated in a raffle to win two gorgeous prizes provided by members Gisela Backe of Evolving You Art Design, and Ginny Trowman, an Independent Stella & Dot Stylist;
    • Soirée on the River, a fancy picnic on the river Rhine in Mannheim; and
    • The Benefit Concert with Robin Meloy Goldsby.

    Additionally, Target Program Chair Tricia R. Saur was the guest speaker at the club’s Monthly Meeting in May, and Collateral Repair Project Executive Director Amanda Lane and four Target Project Site Visit attendees spoke at the FAWCO Region 5 Meeting hosted by the HIWC in November. It’s been wonderful to learn more about the project and organization and to spread this awareness among the members.

    The Heidelberg IWC is thrilled to have raised so much money in support of this amazing organization. Not even a year old, the HIWC has jumped in feet first in support of the Target Project, learning as much about it as possible and contributing to the programs that will make a vital difference in the lives of the women and girls in Jordan.

  • Thu, December 06, 2018 10:01 | Christine Funke (Administrator)

    In the middle of the Heidelberg Old Town at a small music school, Robin Meloy Goldsby performed a touching, funny and heartwarming concert for 30 guests at the Heidelberg International Women’s Club’s Benefit Concert on December 5th. Robin played beautiful pieces on the piano, a combination of her own composed pieces and classics from her multiple albums, and shared three delightful and relatable stories about visiting German saunas, performing for Prince Charles, and shopping at Ikea while pregnant.

    Robin Meloy Goldsby at the piano

    Robin Meloy Goldsby: Composer, Pianist, Author, Storyteller

    It was not only just a wonderful concert, but the Heidelberg IWC raised money for the FAWCO Target Project, Hope Beyond Displacement, which provides education and skills training for refugee women and girls in Amman, Jordan, through the Collateral Repair Project. All proceeds from the tickets, plus 50% of the sales of Robin’s books and albums, combined to an impressive €635 for the night! The Heidelberg IWC thanks the clubs of FAWCO Region 5 for their support for the evening as well.

    The Heidelberg IWC, not even a year old, has supported the Target Project all throughout 2018, raising a total of €1,215 through 5 different fundraising events and activities. Well done!

    The Club says a big thank you to Robin Goldsby for entertaining us in fun and inspiring evening.

    President Christine Funke and Robin Meloy Goldsby

    Heidelberg IWC President Christine Funke and Robin Meloy Goldsby at the Benefit Concert

  • Mon, November 12, 2018 10:00 | Christine Funke (Administrator)

    The FAWCO Region 5 Meeting took place in Heidelberg, Germany for the first time ever with it being hosted by FAWCO’s newest Member Club, the Heidelberg International Women’s Club. The organizers, led by President and Founder Christine Funke, took on a huge challenge in the Club’s first year in existence and threw a giant welcoming party for itself by hosting this meeting.

    The meeting, held on Friday and Saturday, with optional tours on Sunday, had 48 women in attendance from all the Region 5 Clubs, except for Frankfurt, plus women from Amsterdam, Paris, Denmark, Dublin, and The Hague among others. Eight members from the host club were there with this being the first ever FAWCO event for many of them!

    Region 5 Meeting Attendees in Heidelberg

    The theme of the meeting was “Connect & Inspire” and the focus was on getting to know the other women in attendance. There were stickers for the name tags for starting conversations, a round of “speed dating” where everyone had two minutes to chat with each attendee, longer lunch time and coffee breaks, and a member directory with attendees’ photos and a short description they provided upon registration. Overall, everyone took the opportunity to reach out to someone they hadn’t met before which created a buzzing atmosphere throughout the weekend.

    During the FAWCO and FAWCO Foundation sessions, the majority of the time was spent on hearing from the attendees themselves. Eight FAWCO volunteers, including a counselor, the Inspiring Women editor, the Club Workshops Coordinator and Youth Co-Chair, stood up and gave a short explanation of their position and why they got involved. Later, we heard from women who won an Education Award or have a son or daughter who won one, and from Roxey Lau and Carol Strametz who each won a Development Grant for a project. Last but not least, Target Program Chair Tricia Saur led a round of Q&A with four women who participated in the Target Project Site Visit in April 2018, and in the afternoon Collateral Repair Project Executive Director Amanda Lane spoke with small groups about the Target Project, Hope Beyond Displacement, on the ground in Jordan. It was a unique way for attendees to learn more about FAWCO and the Foundation, and hear about its impact on the women who are actively involved.

    Saturday’s meeting sessions were held in the community room at the Peace Church in the Handschuhsheim neighborhood of Heidelberg, where the Heidelberg IWC hosts its Monthly Meeting. The lunch was catered by HIWC Member Juliah Rais-Morres of Serai and proceeds were donated to her organization Cooking for Hope, which supports unaccompanied refugee minors in Heidelberg and the surrounding region. Some of the young men were on hand to say hello and help out with the lunch and cleaning up.

    Juliah Rais-Morres of Cooking for Hope

    Saturday wrapped up with dinner at the hotel where the attendees were staying. Then on Sunday, attendees did a tour of Heidelberg’s Old Town and Castle, or went for a walk on the Philosophers’ Path and then back through the Old Town.

    A weekend with the women of Region 5 is never enough, but we look forward to seeing each other again in March, and of course somewhere else in Region 5 next November.

  • Wed, October 31, 2018 12:45 | Christine Funke (Administrator)

    Written by Kirsty Rowan

    On Saturday the 27th of October, members of the HIWC put on a performance of Ghosts of Artists Past, dramatic readings from some of history’s most inspiring female creatives.

    From Frida Kahlo to Sylvia Plath, writers, poets and painters, we embraced the magical Halloween spirit and took the the streets with our candles and ghostly faces. Stopping at four of Heidelberg Altstadt’s most beautiful squares, we had seven ghosts reading excerpts and histories from these wonderful women’s lives.

    Heidelberg IWC Ghosts of Artists Past Performers

    The event was in aid of raising funds for art supplies and classes for women refugees living in Heidelberg, and to seed a children’s puppet theatre if we received enough funds. We are happy to say that thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our family and friends, we raised €880 for this excellent cause, and we look forward to putting together the art programme for 2019.

    Heidelberg IWC Ghosts of Artists Past Group

  • Thu, October 25, 2018 13:00 | Christine Funke (Administrator)

    On a chilly October evening at the Community Room at the Peace Church in Handschuhsheim, Heidelberg IWC members and guests got together for the Monthly Meeting.

    As guest speaker, HIWC Member Gisela Backe, of Evolving You Art Design, took the group through a fascinating and inspiring journey of self-discovery and acceptance while turning a lump of clay into a beautiful piece of jewelry. The attendees were wowed by how such a lovely item could be transformed from something dull and shapeless.

    Gisela Backe at the Heidelberg IWC Monthly Meeting

    Also during the evening, President Christine Funke spoke about the values and goals of the club and the many exciting events and activities coming up. Charities Coordinator Marelie Manders touched on the volunteering opportunities available to HIWC Members with Cooking for Hope and the new partner organization Mehrgenerationenhaus.

    Gisela Backe is a generous sponsor of the Heidelberg IWC providing her studio as meeting space for the club. Thank you Gisela!

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