Who we are
The Hanoi International Women’s Club (HIWC)is a non-profit, non-religious and non-political group run entirely by volunteers. It was founded in 1986 as a group of Diplomatic women and became HIWC in 1991. HIWC is a modern, diverse and friendly group with over 300 members from more than 60 different countries. The HIWC attracts people of different ages and from all walks of life. Some of us are accompanying spouses or partners, perhaps taking a career break to bring up families, others are working or retired. Although the majority of people who join HIWC are still women, times are changing and we warmly welcome men.
HIWC’s objectives are:
- To provide a support network and to foster friendship and mutual understanding between women (and men) of different nationalities.
- To provide a forum in which members can identify and discuss common interests concerning their personal and professional lives.
- To promote social, cultural and charitable activities among HIWC members and Vietnamese friends in Hanoi.
HIWC is a member of the Open Door Association of International Women’s Associations. http://www.opendoorworldwide.com/
The HIWC is governed by a Charter and run by a Board who are responsible for the group’s finances, policies and activities. Our current Board comprises President, Treasurer, Secretary, PR and Communications Coordinator, Events Coordinator, Bazaar Coordinator, Community Coordinator, Memberships Coordinator and Chair of the Community Aid Committee. The Board is assisted by Associate Board members including the Coffee Mornings Coordinator, Circle Groups Coordinator, Technical Support Coordinator and the Treasurer of the Community Aid Committee.
In a Club with a 30 year history, it’s important to know what happened in the past. It’s also important to keep in touch with longer term members and supporters, and show that although we are a modern and forward-looking group, we value the ideas and perspectives brought by people who know the club well. All our mentors are long standing members and/or supporters of the Club who have held Board, CAC or other important positions. In addition, they are all long term Vietnam residents. By appointing Mentors, we recognise and appreciate the contribution of long term supporters, and value their importance to the Club.
Our current mentors are Lia Garcia Halpin (Concordia School), Maeve O’Donovan (UNIS Hanoi), Stephanie Ralainarivo (Santa Fe Relocations) and Ulli Wingardh (UMA). Members can get in touch with Lia Garcia Halpin, Maeve O’Donovan, Stephanie Ralainarivo and Ulli Wingardh by emailing email@example.com in the first instance.
Previous HIWC Presidents
|Gill Lever||2015 - 2017|
|Paulina Pineda||2013 - 2015|
|Alexandra Topalian||2012 - 2013|
|Jessie Pushtokina (nee Richardson)||2009 - 2010|
|Diana Rudolph||2007 - 2009|
|Barbara Ali||2005 - 2007|
|Rose||2003 - 2004|
|Rehana Potter||2002 - 2003|
We think it’s important to remember our “head volunteer” and say thank you. President is a big and unpaid role but essential: a good leader sets the tone for our Club and enhances its reputation. If you have any further information about previous Presidents of HIWC, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah AllenPresident & Events Coordinator
Hoang Ha PhanVice President & CAC Chairperson
VacantPR & Communications
Lisa O'DellMembership Coordinator
Ali WaughCoffee Mornings & Members Liason
Community Aid Committee
The Community Aid Committee (CAC) reports to the Board and is responsible for selecting and monitoring the charitable projects funded by HIWC in the Hanoi area.
Newcomers to Hanoi
If you are new to Hanoi, we hold a monthly Newcomers Coffee Morning where you will meet other people who have also recently arrived and get advice and support from HIWC members who have lived in Vietnam longer. Our Newcomers coordinators understand what it is like to arrive in Hanoi for the first time and are motivated to help you settle into your new life here. This event is free to everyone and you are welcome to attend with no obligation to join HIWC.
If your first language is not English, please don’t be shy. If you let us know you are coming, we will try to find a member who speaks your language so they can support you at Newcomers Coffee Morning or other events. We also offer English Conversation classes to our members (see “Circle Group” Activities below).
“Nite Owls” Monthly Evening Gatherings
We also organise a monthly evening “networking” event “Nite Owls” for working women and those who prefer evening get-togethers. This takes place on the last Wednesday of every month and is a great way to meet other professional women. Again, this activity is free for members. The cost for non-members is VND 150,000. Members and non-members should please refer to our Facebook page for more information about the next Nite Owls gathering, or email email@example.com.
Monthly Coffee Mornings
We hold monthly Coffee Mornings at venues of interest in Hanoi. These are usually held on the second Thursday of every month. If you have time during the day, our Coffee Mornings are one of the best ways to get out of the house, meet and make friends and explore new places in Hanoi. This activity is free for members and costs VND 100,000 for non-members. Members and non-members should please see our Facebook page for more information about our next Coffee Morning, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hold functions and activities every four to six weeks between September and June, sometimes during the day or in the evening. Our events are intended to foster fun, friendship and new discoveries among members of the Club and with the community. Some events may also be fund-raisers for charity. Recent activities include: Welcome Party, Christmas Lunch, Trivia Quiz Lunch, Family Fun Run, Auction Lunch and an End of Year Party. In March 2016, we launched HIWC’s 30th birthday celebrations with a highly successful Gatsby-themed gala at the historic Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel. For more information about our fun events and activities, please see our Facebook page.
“Circle Group” Activities
Some of our members share their hobbies and passions with other members by organising “circle” or interest group activities, with support from the HIWC Board. Circle Groups currently include Playgroup (0-6 years old), Excursions, Mahjong, Cookery, Book Clubs (one for native English speakers and one for non-native speakers) and Poetry Appreciation. Circle Group activities are non-profit but may involve modest costs e.g. cooking course fees. We also organise Beginners English lessons at a very reasonable rate, to help non-English speakers gain confidence and take part more in the life of the Club.
Excursions to places of interest
HIWC organises excursions to places of cultural and historical interest in the Hanoi area, in partnership with a local travel agency. Some of our excursions are shared activities with other international women’s groups in Hanoi. Our Facebook page has more information or you can email email@example.com.
Annual Charity Bazaar
HIWC organises an annual community event to raise funds for Vietnamese charities working in the Hanoi area and whose projects focus on empowering women and children in the areas of health, education and community development. For more information, please refer to our Annual Charity Bazaar page.
How to Join HIWC
Membership is open to women and men with foreign (i.e. non-Vietnamese) passports.*
The membership year is 1 September – 31 August and costs VND 600,000 (approximately US$30) per year or VND 300,000 for a half year from 1 March. Members are asked to renew their membership for each year no later than 31 December.
HIWC members enjoy free entry to Coffee Mornings and Nite Owls gatherings, subsidised activities and events e.g. Christmas lunch, Welcome Party, discounted excursions, our weekly “What’s On” in Hanoi Newsletter, and other email information about our activities. Finances-permitting, we also try to subsidise participation by members’ spouses and partners. Members also benefit from our Discount Scheme (click on the link below for full details).
You can join HIWC at any Newcomers Coffee Morning, monthly Coffee Morning or Nite Owls event, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Please note that this is to comply with a local regulation.
How to Volunteer
We are always looking for people to help run the Club. If you are interested in volunteering on the Board or CAC, have an idea for a circle activity that you’d like to start, or would like to use your skills working on our Bazaar Team, please email email@example.com. We will be pleased to hear from you.