IT is wonderful that women today can freely carve their names in a number of fields. When it comes to the contributions that they make to society on a daily basis, however, there is still a noticeable lack of recognition.

This is something that the largest women’s service voluntary organization in the world—International Inner Wheel (IIW)—is changing, one project at a time. IIW is present in 104 countries and has more than 112,245 members from 4,115 clubs.

In the Philippines, Trinidad Legarda served as the organization’s first president and inducted the first group of officials into the Association of the Inner Wheel Clubs of the Philippines in June 1949.

During those years, the IIW’s proposal to be one of the non-governmental organizations to act as advisers in the United Nations Economic and Social Council (Unesco) was approved by the UN, and it is still in existence today.

From there, the organization was formed and given the name Inner Wheel Clubs of the Philippines Inc. (IWCPI), maintaining its momentum of empowering women since 1974.

This women-led movement encapsulates the power of sisterhood.

Its slogan, “Selflessness in Friendship and Service to Humanity,” emphasizes deeds over words. The IWCPI’s key initiatives include “Tunay na Atin,” “Operations Paglingap,” “Ako Ay Pilipino,” “Operations Karunungan” and “Tubig Sa Barrio.”

Inner Wheel seeks to advance the values of genuine friendship, passionate service and international understanding.

Celebrating its rich history, the 57th National Conference of the Inner Wheel Clubs of the Philippines will be held in Cebu for the first time in 31 years. It will be on Feb. 24 and 25 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

This year takes on an added importance because of the leadership of a Filipina on the International level, the holding of the Conference in Visayas, the presence of the members of the International Inner Wheel Executive board, and the attendance of members from other countries.

“Do we want to invite more ladies? Why not? If you see that we are doing good in the community, shouldn’t we invite more ladies who are willing to serve the community? It is not just service. It is not just working with the communities. We are also enjoying doing this. We are not burdened. We have each other,” said Emily Q. Duterte, national president of the organization.

This two-day event is instrumental to honor friendship and show Filipinos that IWCPI is a community-changer that continues to take up spaces and break boundaries especially during the global health crisis.

When the threats of the Covid-19 put the whole world in a total standstill, this female-founded organization has not allowed the pandemic to stop the organization from connecting to the people.

“We supported a lot of organizations, most especially we had a movement with Cebu Young Designers in making the protective gear for everyone especially our frontliners and we did not stop in Cebu, and sent out PPE’s in other countries,” said Club president and principal architect of Seed Design and Planning Studio, Jehanne Dy.

“We have 3-D printers ourselves. We had to do a lot of prototypes and we were able to make a really good design for a face shield. The district also made sure that washable masks were available to everybody, and hygiene kits to communities who have no proper access to these,” said Dy.

The IWCPI was able to raise P300,000 for the pandemic response, according to Duterte, who also noted that the Philippines came in second for highest donations.

Going back to the event proper, 57th National Conference co-chairperson Evelyn Dumdum said that 500-600 expected delegates will be coming to Cebu including foreign guests.

Evelyn also opened up about the summary of National Conference’s program that includes wide range of activities such as the welcoming of delegates, opening of photo and commercial exhibit, reports and amendments, fellowship night, exchange of banners and tokens, Eucharistic celebrations, awarding ceremonies, Las Fiestas Filipinas talent night competition and a lot more.

Prior to this, IWCPI also has an activity called 21st National President’s Cup Gold Fellowship Tournament, a fund-raising event to help with the organization’s programs and projects held at the Liloan Golf and Leisure Estate on Jan. 13.

Furthermore, IWCPI has also made room in its framework for the younger generations, and the council members have long supported ambitions of the youth through a variety of projects, including financial aid for education and scholarships.

“We encourage new and young members that’s why we have what we call the Inner Wheel Club of the New Generation,” said Dumdum.

The Inner Wheel proves that the power of women’s friendships can make so much difference and shows that the world can know kindness.