Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Grandmothers Rising to New Possibilities

The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign has played a very significant part of the 20-year history of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. There are several chapters of Grandmothers (and others) in Canada and world wide. These chapters are supporting grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa who are raising orphaned grandchildren and others because of the HIV/AIDS endemic. Funds and resources go directly to community-led organizations and empower women and young girls, grandmothers, orphaned and vulnerable children, LGBTIQ communities, and people living with HIV.

The funds raised help to provide food, shelter, medicines, health care, and education. This continued support has given African grandmothers the confidence to advocate for their needs with their own policy makers. This has inspired their phrase, “Nothing for us without us.”

The International Grandmothers Gathering (IGG) took place from October 24 to 27 in Winnipeg, MB, and simultaneously in several African countries. The in-person gathering in Canada took place in the iconic Canadian Museum of Human Rights with online participation across Canada and Africa. The IGG began with an outdoor solidarity march that garnered television coverage. There were presentations and activities over four days. These reflected on the global, local, and personal impact of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. There were about 150 in-person participants, which included African grandmothers as well as those who were able to connect virtually from ten other countries.

The three local Grey Grannies who travelled to Winnipeg had the opportunity to learn from others and be inspired anew by the work of their African counterparts who are activists and leaders in their communities. The three Grey Grannies have returned to the local group with fresh ideas and new connections. The time spent at the IGG provided a chance to reflect, rejuvenate and renew. “We will not rest until they (the African Grandmothers) can rest.”

Submitted by Kathy Sled

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