The International Women’s Club of the Riviera originally started out as the Sophia Women’;s Club in 1987 and was set up by Helen Bate and Marieke Van Dantzig. Funded by the company Digital, the idea was that if the expatriate wives were happy then Digital’s expatriate men would be happy too!
In the beginning there were weekly coffee mornings and a lunch every month. These were such a great success that a Tuesday hiking group led by Marieke was established. Picnics were held on the tops of the Baous, Shakespeare’s birthday was celebrated with readings held in ancient sheepfolds. Marieke played the flute and she would give impromptu concerts in the middle of nowhere. (On one occasion it was such a cold day that her lips froze onto her flute!)
On a more serious level, Helen organised a book group followed by trips and talks.
When Digital withdrew its funding in 1992, it was time to form a much more serious organisation with a President, Secretary, Treasurer and Directors and for the new entity to be registered at the Sous-Préfecture with statutes and regulations.
Since then the IWCR has continued to grow from strength to strength with over seven hundred members today. New activity groups have appeared, some have disappeared, but the aims of the Club remain unchanged.
The Club offers friendship and welcomes women from all walks of life and all corners of the world who come to live in this area for whatever reason. Members must be willing to share what they can in terms of time and expertise.
The activity groups are neither competitive nor exclusive and Group Leaders are there to offer help and advice.
The IWCR is a non-profit making organisation and members are not allowed to profit from the Club.
IWCR Statutes (PDF)
Aims and Administration (PDF)