The PAGo Grannies have a table set up at a farmer’s market to sell handcrafted items to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

The PAGo Grannies have a table set up at a farmer’s market to sell handcrafted items to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

PAGo Grannies promote nationwide concert for Stephen Lewis Foundation

Register online to watch Together in Concert starting April 15

A group of grandmothers in Port Alberni are celebrating 15 years of fundraising for African grannies by promoting a Canada-wide virtual concert starting April 15.

The PAGo Grannies were formed on Dec. 7, 2006 after Stephen Lewis came to speak at the former Alberni District Secondary School Auditorium about his experiences as Canadian envoy for the United Nations in Africa. Lewis spoke about how the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa was forcing grandmothers to raise their grandchildren because the generation in between was dying at alarming rates.

Lewis formed his own foundation in 2003 and subsequently the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign. Port Alberni’s group is one of 160 such groups across Canada that raise funds to send money to the African campaign. The annual goal for each group is to raise $10,000.

The PAGo Grannies have 50 members with 25 of them active with fundraising events. The group includes many talented craft workers who create works of art and offer them for sale to help raise funds. Since the novel coronavirus pandemic has halted any fundraising opportunities, the PAGo Grannies are helping to promote the virtual concert.

Donations to PAGo Grannies will help with the Grandmothers campaign to pay for food, health care, school expenses, income-generating programs, shelter and now COVID-19 information.

Together in Concert: In Solidarity with African Grandmothers is a free virtual concert featuring performances by Steven Page, David Myles, the National Ballet of Canada, the Stratford Festival, Stephen Lewis Foundation speakers and more.

The concert will go live on April 15 at 7:30 p.m. EDT (4:30 p.m. PDT) and will be available for viewing for 72 hours. Registration is required for this free concert, and donations will be appreciated. Register to watch the concert at www.cdngrandmothers.com and follow the prompts for either registration or donation.

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