HOW TO JOIN

The best time to join is at the start of the season in September.  Most branches meet once a week from September to April/May each year. Joining GFS is a great way to meet new friends and take part in exciting activities. You will make a special promise at an Enrolment Service; you will then become a member of a parochial and global family, receiving your GFS membership badge to wear on your tie.

The branch is divided into sections:
(Sections determined by age on 1st July each year)

Junior Candidates (3-5 years)

Candidates (5-7 years)

Junior Members  ( 7-11 years)

Members  ( 11-15 years)

Senior Members (15-21 years)

Townsend Members  (over 21 years)

Please contact the Administrator at Central Office, 36 Upper Leeson Street, Dublin 4, email office@girlsfriendlysociety.ie and we will give you contact details for your local branch or contact your local branch directly.

All Ireland Office Holders 2015 – 2018

Central President:

Mrs Sylvia Quinn – Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh

Central Vice Presidents:

Mrs Florence Higgins – Meath and Kildare
Mrs Grace Healy – Limerick and Killaloe
Mrs Rita Sewart – Clogher
Mrs Elizabeth Andrews – Armagh
Mrs Jean Lindsay – Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh
Mrs Sylvia Treacy – Cashel, Ferns and Ossory

Diocesan Office Holders 2015 – 2018

Below is a list of those who took up Diocesan Office in May 2015. Congratulations to all.

Cashel, Ferns & Ossory:

Diocesan President
Mrs Deidre Alexander

Diocesan Secretary
Mrs Pauline Lawrence

Diocesan Treasurer
Mrs Mavis Thompson

Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh:

Diocesan President
Mrs Violet Morton

Diocesan Secretary
Mrs Jackie Pierce

Diocesan Treasurer
Mrs Rosemary Keith

Limerick & Killaloe:

Diocesan President
Mrs Norma Jean Carney

Diocesan Secretary
Ms Michelle Armitage

Diocesan Treasurer
Mrs Linda Gill

Tuam, Killala & Achonry:

Diocesan President
Mrs Betty Price

Diocesan Secretary
Mrs Laura McGreal

Diocesan Treasurer
Mrs Miriam Carnegie

Clogher:

Diocesan President
Mrs Pearl Smyton

Diocesan Secretary
Mrs Barbara Clarke

Diocesan Treasurer
Mrs Kathryn Carrothers

Derry & Raphoe:

Diocesan President
Mrs Georgina Armstrong

Diocesan Secretary
Mrs Phyllis Young

Diocesan Treasurer
Miss Jane Cunningham

Armagh:

Diocesan President
Mrs Jennifer Norris

Diocesan Secretary
Miss Leanne Wright

Diocesan Treasurer
Mrs Caroline Smyth

Dublin & Glendalough:

Diocesan President
Mrs Myra Moody(Acting)

Diocesan Secretary
To be advised

Diocesan Treasurer
Mrs Deidre O’Callaghan

Meath & Kildare:

Diocesan President
Mrs Violet Beattie

Diocesan Secretary
Mrs Allison Finegan

Diocesan Treasurer
Mrs Florence Higgins

Connor, Down & Dromore:

Diocesan President
Miss Beryl Thompson

Diocesan Secretary
To be advised

Diocesan Treasurer
To be advised

GFS World Day of Prayer

Gfs World Day of Prayer Service-2017

All Ireland Camp 2014

All Ireland Camp 2014

Bible Study Syllabus 2013/14 Leaders Resource Pack

GFS Bible Syllabus Leader Resource Pack 2013-2014

Leaders Training Day Enniskillen

GIRLS FRIENDLY SOCIETY

Leaders Training Day Enniskillen

Theme 2013 –2014

Venue: St Macartins Cathedral Hall

Hall’s Lane,Enniskillen,
Co Fermanagh
BT74 2DR

Date: Saturday 14th September 2013

10.00 a.m. Coffee

10.30 a.m. Prayers Bishop John McDowell

& Opening Mrs Sylvia Quinn

10.40 a.m. Rev Isobel Nixon talk on the Solomon Islands

11.30 p.m. NQSF Ms Louise Fitzpatrick CDYSB

– Includes Workshops

I.00p.m. Lunch

2.00p.m. Bible Study

2.30p.m. Handcraft demonstration by Mrs Hazel Gumley

3.15 p.m. GFS Going Forward

4.15p.m. Evaluation

4.30p.m. Tea/Coffee

Leaders Training Day Abbeyleix

Your Text Here              GFS  TRAINING DAYS


GIRLS FRIENDLY SOCIETY

Leaders Training Day

Theme 2013 –2014

"Together for GFS"

Venue: Abbeyleix Co Laoise

Coming from Dublin, take the M7, exit at Junction 17 for Abbeyleix. Go into Abbeyleix, at end of town turn right for Rathdowney, approx 200yds down this road the school entrance is on the right before the Church.

Date: Saturday 7th September 2013

10.00 a.m Coffee

10.30 a.m Prayers & Opening Mrs Sylvia Quinn

10.40 a.m Mr & Paul and Tania Baker CMS Kiwoko Hospital

11.30 a.m NQSF Ms Louise Fitzpatrick CDYSB

Includes Workshops

I.00 p.m. Lunch

2.00 p.m. Bible Study

2.30 p.m. Handcraft demonstration by Mrs Hazel Gumley

3.15 p.m. GFS Going Forward

4.15 p.m. Evaluation

4.30 p.m. Tea/Coffee

Directions to Abbeyleix South National School.

Korean Report

Report on the Korean World Council

It was a great privilege for me as senior delegate, to represent the Girls’ Friendly Society in Ireland, at the 19th G.F.S. World Council, which was held from 7th-18th August in Seoul, South Korea. The G.F.S. World President, Mrs Ruth Choi, a gentle and charming lady, chaired the meetings. The event brought together delegates and observers from 17 countries, resulting in an attendance of well over two hundred people

Sharing fellowship and worshipping together was a truly wonderful experience.

The G.F.S. in S. Korea was founded in 1965, having been elected as a target country of the G.F.S. World Project that year. As a result, the first branch was organised in Seoul Cathedral Church in September 1965, unfortunately they experienced many difficulties in trying to establish their identity, and needless to say they took on a mammoth task in hosting a world event. “They excelled” far beyond any expectations and have invigorated the G.F.S. in their country. At present, they have 400 members, spread across 17 branches. In a message of welcome from The Primate of the Anglican Church in Korea, The Most Revd Francis Park, he said -I believe the reason that G.F.S. Korea was able to host the World Council, despite its small size was because of its resolute faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

How blessed I was, to have the support and companionship of Isla Poyntz, Junior Delegate, and the other members from Ireland who travelled as observers.

The accommodation for the duration of our visit was at the Olympic Parktel, situated in Olympic Park, an area covering 1.4 millions sq metres built to commemorate the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. The park contains 200 world famous sculptures and other art exhibits and is one of the top five most renowned sculpture parks in the world.

The theme “Harmony Hope in Serving” was the underpinning focus throughout the conference. The business sessions were well timetabled: all delegates were encouraged to participate in the discussions and deliberation. We were met with a variety of experiences, as we communicated and listened to valuable lessons from one another. In choosing the theme, the Korean G.F.S. had been considering the role and identity of G.F.S. in this changing society; In what way is God asking us to fulfil our Motto “Bear ye one another’s burdens” by sharing, encouraging and supporting the G.F.S. mission and ministry around the world. There is no doubt that Mrs Choi and the members of G.F.S. in Korea are endeavouring to do all in their power to fulfil the true meaning of our motto, their outreach and actions to help women who are enduring hardship, victims of violence and other areas of adversity are quite remarkable.

Sri Lanka Report

Sri Lanka – a land like no other! The pearl of the Indian Ocean. A tropical island surrounded by sparkling blue water and golden sands, green palms swaying in the gentle breeze, a land of sunshine, a land of eternal summer.

Naturally, the surrounding ocean played an important part in the lives of the islanders, be it fishing to make a living or just frolicking in the warm water. The sea was always looked upon as a benign entity. Moreover, the rhythmic rise & fall of the white foam-flecked waves was believed to have a calming effect on the mind.

December 26, 2004 for ever changed this impression of the sea in the hearts of millions around the world.

It was 7 months ago that the most powerful earthquake in 40 years erupted under the Indian Ocean near Sumatra that morning, causing giant killer waves to crash ashore in a dozen countries across South Asia and East Africa, leaving about 220,000 dead, millions homeless, families broken and the entire world shaken.

The tsunami had done its worst in just a matter of moments.

Sri Lanka was 1,600 km from the epicenter of the earthquake, but the massive wall of water that was generated struck this beautiful isle with such force that it destroyed three-quarters of its famed coastline, taking over 30,000 lives and affecting more than a million.

This was the worst ever human disaster in Sri Lanka History. The life-giving water had turned into a ruthless killer. The gentle giant had become a malevolent force. The sea that for millions of years had provided a livelihood to fisher folk had brought unspeakable tragedy.

Desctruction

The tsunami destroyed homes and buildings, roads and railways, agricultural crops and affected water and electricity supplies, communication and more. The breakdown in infrastructure had an adverse effect on people’s health, leaving them suffering from inadequate food and drinking water, medicines and sanitation.

While it dealt a blow to tourism, it had a severe impact on the livelihood of people, mostly from poor communities who lived mainly off the sea. A million have been displaced – that is 5 % of Sri Lanka’s population – and it is estimated that about 40,000 people would require long term assistance and support. These include the vulnerable sections of society – the widows, orphans, elderly and disabled.

Aid

In the words of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, this was an “unprecedented global catastrophe” that required an “unprecedented global response”. And it is commendable that the international community responded to this challenge like never before.

At the Sri Lanka Development Forum held two months ago, international donors pledged 3 billion US dollars in tsunami aid to the island.

Victims

There is no doubt that women and children were the hardest hit by the tsunami. Official statistics are not yet available, but grass-root organizations helping with relief operations in Sri Lanka, estimate that women and children were the majority of the 30,000 odd total deaths.

12,000 children lost their lives in the tsunami. In other word, 40% of those who died were children. Thousands were orphaned or left homeless. Children, especially girls, were extremely vulnerable in situations of such large-scale displacement and death, and they were open to various forms of exploitation and violence. Human trafficking, drugs and child labor are lucrative trades and young girls could easily be drawn into all types of abuse, begging and prostitution. It is said that certain organizations and individuals on the pretext of helping and relocating victims, removed young girls and children from camps.

Authorities tried their best to reunite children separated from their families as quickly as possible or resettle them with relatives, But here, too, young girls faced problems of being forced to live with relatives, some of whom could ill treat them or make use of them in various obnoxious ways. Orphaned children and those separated from their families not only had to deal with their sense of loss, but face danger, sometimes from those purporting to help them.

Many children have now developed a fear of the ocean and steps have to be taken to allay such fears.

The education system suffered huge losses, with schools and libraries destroyed all over the Island, and this would in the long term affect children’s future. There is a need to support the education of particularly the girl child.

Gender Impact

The tsunami’s impact on women has been horrendous. It uprooted women from their familiar surroundings, stole their children and men folk, destroyed their livelihood and economic security and left many of them homeless, hopeless and helpless. Overnight they found themselves refugees in camps trying as best as they could to look after their children.

The loss of so many women could be attributed to several factors:

  1. Traditional gender roles and styles, such as their selfless commitment to husband and children which made them look for their family instead of saving themselves.
  2. Social, economic and in some communities religious restrictions that keep women housebound.
  3. The extreme sense of modesty that prevented them from running away for fear of tearing or losing their clothes.
  4. Some were weighed down by the children they were carrying
  5. Many women died because they were hampered by the traditional saree they were wearing
  6. Others drowned when their long hair got entangled in bushes and debris. *
  7. Women in the villages are traditionally not taught to swim, so they could not out beat the water
  8. They did not possess sufficient physical strength

GENDER SPECIFIC PROBLEMS

  1. While resident in temporary shelters, women faced greater risks and vulnerabilities to their physical security. They had no privacy and were forced to share sleeping areas with the men. Threats of rape, gang rape, molestation and physical abuse increased.
  2. The adverse effect of the tsunami on women’s health, both physical and mental, cannot be emphasized enough. Women had their loved ones literally torn from their arms by the rushing water and it would haunt them for the rest of their lives. The tsunami also destroyed much of the health care system including maternal and child care services, increasing the risk of maternal and infant deaths and sexually transmitted disease.
  3. Women are also being stigmatized for surviving, while their children and elderly relatives died. Some are accused of not being able to save their children. It is reported that a young pregnant woman killed herself at a refugee camp because her husband blamed her for the deaths of their two children.
  4. The additional stress on families has also led to increased alcohol abuse by men which in turn could mean a greater incidence of domestic violence.
  5. The composition of the family changed in some families through the death of the husband or the father and in some areas, authorities only recognize male-headed households. This meant that a woman who has lost her husband was not entitled to claim the monthly amount given by the government to each family.
  6. Gender imbalance could lead to a shift in the traditional roles played by men and women.
    Women who lost their husbands are forced to take up the role of the head of the family and bread winner. This is difficult because they have been used to the traditional role of home maker and care giver and do not have necessary skills to earn a living. They are easily exploited too.
  7. Other more enterprising women who tried in various ways to supplement their husband’s earnings or earn their own livelihood in various ways found their hopes and dreams gone with the water.
    The woman who depended on a daily income by making and selling food items found herself in a quandary because her pots and pans had been washed away. Another who was engaged in making fish nets out of coconut fiber found that she had no work now. Yet another who grew fruit and vegetables and sold them in the market to make a living had no garden left after the tsunami struck.
    Women and girls skilled in needlework and traditional craft such as lace making were distraught because their sewing machines and equipment had been destroyed and they were left with nothing, absolutely nothing to make a living. Such women are now dependent on others.
  8. Some of the women who faced the terror of the tsunami were those who had also experienced the horror of the 22 year old civil ethnic conflict in the northern and eastern provinces. To them it is double trouble.

This then is the plight of women who have to struggle to live in traumatic situations. All they ask for are a house, a livelihood and social security.

Response & Rehabilitation

In the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, apart from the government’s efforts, women’s groups, NGOs and INGOs banded together to look into the welfare of women made destitute and to address problems faced by them in camps and find solutions. They made efforts to ensure that women were protected from discrimination, harassment and violence and provided with adequate security. They urged the government to investigate and act on reports that women and girls in temporary shelters were being sexually harassed.

The provision of adequate health care services together with counseling was also stressed. The pregnant woman, the widowed wife, the widowed mother-to-be, the woman whose baby was snatched from her arms by the cruel waves

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