The Blog

My WIZO Experience

Laurienne Baitz's Story

Meet Laurienne Baitz, WIZO's International Aviv Representative lives in
Durban, South Africa. WIZO member for 18 years and currently co-chair
WIZO Durban as well as the Durban Chaya Aviv group.

November 11, 2014
Laurienne Baitz, WIZO's volunteer Laurienne Baitz, WIZO's volunteer

I live in Durban, South Africa with my gorgeous husband Kevin & 3 children (Dylan 16, Zak 12 & Isobella 7).

Born & grown in Cape Town, I attended Herzlia Jewish Day School and thereafter studied Graphic Design at Cape Technikon.

After qualifying I set out to see the world and travelled the continents for 4 years learning about life, the universe & everything before returning to South Africa to get involved in my family’s businesses.

I moved to Durban to marry Kevin, my childhood sweetheart who I met at Habonim Machaneh (annual 3 week Jewish summer camp) when we were 14 years old.

The WIZO women drew me in to WIZO Durban by warmly welcoming me into their ‘ready-made’ circle of friends with like-minded ideas, passions & support.

Although balancing the hectic demands of life, work, kids, domestic bliss, exercise, making art, school runs, etc is challenging enough, I felt a strong urge to pay tribute to my Jewish Heritage as well as do something great for people & the planet so I soon found myself more deeply involved WIZO as the logical outlet.

I’ve been an active WIZO member for 18 years and currently co-chair WIZO Durban with Colleen Mervis & Michelle Nathan as well as the Durban Chaya Aviv group. We began our WIZO careers as acquaintances but have become the very best of friends. Together we form ‘The Durban WIZO Trio’ and are a dynamic force to be reckoned with!

I was elected International Aviv Representative to the World WIZO Executive at the 25th World WIZO EGM 2012. I pledged to ‘UNITE & IGNITE’ WIZO Aviv’s world wide and to put my creative efforts into ‘contemporizing’ the WIZO Aviv brand.

Having participated in many WIZO seminars, conferences & tours, I am in awe of the caliber of Jewish women I have witnessed acting with global social responsibility to uphold the rights of women, children & the Jewish People worldwide. I have witnessed the power of positive change effected by WIZO in the lives of needy Israeli citizens. I believe in the power of the WIZO sisterhood to achieve social change when working together around the world.

When reelected as International Aviv Representative for a 2nd term of office in 2014, I vowed to continue growing World WIZO Aviv by connecting & energizing  our members around the world with ever strengthening bonds of friendship, support, empowerment, sisterhood & FUN!

I actively contact & regularly visit WIZO Aviv groups around the world to encourage, motivate & connect them to the ‘family’ that is World WIZO. These encounters not only enable me to connect with Aviv members, but to better understand the challenges each community faces, help to find solutions & further solidify my belief that even though we are all so different,

our solutions resonate with each other as we are indeed also so similar!

A huge unanticipated bonus for being a part of WIZO I have found to be the wonderful warm universal pool of genuine friends, associates & connections that has added great richness to the canvas of my life.

My dream for WIZO’s future is that young Jewish women around the world realize WIZO is a powerful (& cool) vehicle to make a difference in so many people's lives, thereby enriching their own!

In these challenging times with growing anti-Semitic threats in our international communities, our global solidarity and support of each other & Israel has never been more serious nor more necessary.