Written by Beris Pritchard, SPA Liaison
Following the first Quota convention held off of mainland North America, in Hawaii in 1975, and the election of Joan May, the first Australian to serve as International President, Quota gained maturity outside North America. As a result, rapid expansion in the South Pacific and Asia followed. Fiji became the fifth country to join Quota in 1975 with the charter of clubs in Nadi and Lautoka.
During a hectic period of club organization between 1976 and 1978, Joyce Fren, later to become Quota’s 1982-1984 President, became known as the “Mother of Quota’s International Image”. She was the driving force behind Quota’s extension to parts of the Pacific and Asia, having a hand in the survey and charter of 15 clubs in those two short years! This period took place after her term as South Pacific Area Director and before she was elected back onto the Board in 1980 as Second Vice President.
Quota Expands to the Philippines
Early in 1976, Executive Director Dora Lee Haynes spent part of a vacation in the Philippines. She realized the great potential for Quota clubs in this country, compiled a list of 555 possible prospective members and notified International President Joan May. Joyce Fren was authorized to begin extension in the Philippines and arrived in Manila on May 31, 1976, after having written to 55 contacts with details about Quota membership and service.
The first Philippine meeting was held in the Manila Hilton Hotel on June 7, with 29 women present, 12 of whom accepted membership. Frances Parsons, a staff member from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., was visiting to promote a greater understanding of the deaf and was the guest speaker at the organizational meeting on June 23. Twenty-one financial members were in attendance at that meeting where club officers were elected and the bylaws adopted. Rose Sobrepena, who had been very active in recruiting new members, became Charter President with Emilia Garcia and Carminda Bonoan as Club Secretaries. The charter was presented by International President Joan May on July 14, in the Turf Room at the Manila Polo Club – a most glamorous and beautiful function. (This writer was fortunate enough to be entertained by the Manila Club at this same location for my 50th birthday when I was International President!) The club had already made a firm commitment to support Quota’s Hearing and Speech program and also became involved with S.A.I.D. (Southeast Asian Institute for the Deaf). Rose Sobrepena served two years as President and was followed by Elsie Familiaran, who had transferred to Manila from the Bacolod Club.
Joyce Fren was invited to a meeting of 18 interested ladies in Bacolod on June 11, 1976, and a charter date was set for June 23 – just two weeks later! Charter President Elsie Familiaran reported the event as fabulous with the local Governor as the VIP Guest and keynote speaker, despite being held in the midst of a typhoon! The ceremony was impressive despite having no charter, no pins, and using candlelight and roses as the charter trimmings.
Elsie Familiaran then took Joyce for a ferry ride to Iloilo, and after discussions with President Joan May, Iloilo Quota was chartered on August 8. Two ladies from the Bacolod Club spread the interest in Quota to Dumaguette and a Charter was presented to that club by South Pacific Area Director Vera Garland in January 1977. Meanwhile, Elsie Familiaran and Joyce Fren interviewed prospective members in Cebu, organized meetings, and then presented a charter to the Cebu Club on January 12, 1977, with Lygia Ibanez as the Charter President. Lygia remained a dedicated member until her death many years later.
Quota Roots Take Hold in India
Joyce Fren, officially known as “The South East Asia Organizer” also traveled to India and Sri Lanka in 1976. Quota’s Bombay club was chartered in September 1976 – the first in India, but others soon followed. Because annual dues were equivalent to one week’s salary in India, the Board of Directors was faced with a dilemma in regard to exchange rates and the remittance of foreign currency. The establishment of the Club-to Club Program (later renamed the Hand-in-Hand Program) five years later helped to resolve this financial situation.
An inaugural meeting was also held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on September 8, 1976, with 15 prospective members present. Following the election of a Protem Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, the club started to organize its service work. Top priority was given to providing for the education of deaf children. However, it was not until January 27, 1978, that the charter party was held with 25 members initiated at the Sapphire Hotel – a glittering affair with the room decorated in traditional Celonese style and a government film crew sent to record the entire function. This club was extremely active but, unfortunately, had to disband when curfews were implemented during the civil unrest in 1989. Also in 1978, a meeting was also held by Joyce in Bangalore, India, on January 17 wherein was planned the charter of the Madras Club on February 5. However, this did not happen at that time.
Joyce returned to India for a meeting in Madras on June 17, 1977. Fourteen prospective members decided on their first project and set a charter date for September 2. In Bangalore, 14 ladies received the “Quota story” enthusiastically at a meeting on June 25 and were keen to establish a club. It was decided to attempt completion by the end of August. Potential service projects decided upon included support of a senior citizens’ day center and the provision of a workshop for developmentally disabled people.
During this trip, Joyce also went back to Bombay (now Mumbai) and visited Bandra, but it was a difficult time to be in India – hot and wet during the monsoonal season thus resulting in poor attendance by prospective members. It was decided that the ladies in Bandra should join the Bombay city club. Additionally, the payment of dues continued to be a challenge due to government restrictions.
Positive results were achieved in New Delhi from meetings held on June 21 and 22, 1977. The offer of an acting chairman came immediately as well as offers of assistance from the President of the National Council of Women, Mr. G. C. Mathur, a Government Official; Mr. Ghat and Dr. Kandy, from the All Institute of the Deaf; and from a Rotary Past President, Mr. K. Kripalani, whose wife Rekha is still an active charter member of the New Delhi club. More meetings were held after Joyce left, and the Quota Club of New Delhi received its charter on March 3, 1978, with Deep Dugal as the Charter President. Deep remained a strong leadership presence in the club until her death in 2004. A charter was presented to Quota International of Sainik Farm in February 2000 by this writer and to Quota International of DLF City in December 2000 by President Dolores Brosky. Unfortunately, by this time, the clubs in Bombay, Bangalore, and Madras had dissolved. Quota also had a presence for a short time in Calcutta (now Kolkata), with a club organized there by the New Delhi club.
Quota’s Asian Presence Expands Again
Past President Joan May presented a charter to Quota International of Singapore on March 2, 1980, at a glittering function attended by 186 overseas visitors. However, this number was far surpassed when Singapore hosted Quota’s 72nd Annual Convention in 1993 – the first to be held in Asia. Canadian Ilse Mitchell was elected International President and returned to Asia in January 1994 to present a charter to Quota International of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, a club organized by Dixie Tan, Singapore club’s charter president.
Quota Takes Hold in the Caribbean and Europe
Meanwhile, there was also plenty of organizational activity occurring on the Atlantic Ocean. Quota International of Curacao was the first club to be chartered in the Caribbean on August 15, 1987, followed closely by Quota International of Aruba on September 16, with the charter presented by International President Janet Popyach. Through their connections in the Netherlands, it didn’t take long for these clubs to introduce Quota International to Europe, with the first club being chartered in Rotterdam on April 23, 1994. Clubs in Zeist, Zutphen, and Amsterdam followed. March 14, 1997, brought the creation of Quota International of Suriname, which has been an active participant in the Hand-in-Hand World Service program since its inception. Finally, since 2000, Quota has also spread in the Caribbean to the islands of Sint Eustatius (in 2008) and Trinidad-Tobago (2018).
The Board’s decision in 1980 to establish Quota’s own Club-to-Club Program, now known as our World Service Hand-in-Hand Program, has provided the link necessary to make Quota International truly global through our clubs’ collaborative efforts in running local service programs in developing countries – some clubs giving funds and others giving time and hands-on service on location. Additionally, tour groups, which started in the 1950’s between the U.S.A. and Australia, have more recently offered members the opportunity to visit Quota countries across the globe to experience Quota fellowship and service on a global level.
August ……. Quota’s valued Mentors
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