While the world has been focusing on terrorism and such groups as ISIS, Al-Qaida and Boko Haram, another organization has quietly gone about its business for the past 10 years amidst turmoil in Africa.
Canadian politician and diplomat (and from 2001-06 the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa) Stephen Lewis has been fighting a different kind of war in Africa: the widespread HIV/AIDS epidemic that has decimated a generation of parents.
The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign is an initiative of Lewis’ Stephen Lewis Foundation and helps the grandmothers in Africa that have stepped up to raise the children left behind in this epidemic.
What has made this organization a success, especially in Canada, is the grassroots connection it has to people. In Port Alberni, that connection—through the volunteer Pago Grannies—will celebrate a decade of raising funds and awareness for African grandmothers.
It is difficult to comprehend from this side of the globe what the HIV/AIDS epidemic means to Africa. It is easy to understand, though, how grandmothers in Port Alberni have rallied for this organization. We are, as the saying goes, the community with heart.
As one supporter is quoted as saying on the Grandmothers to Grandmothers website: “these women are holding the country together.”
On this side of the world, Canadian grandmothers are doing their best to help.
For more information, go online to www. grandmotherscampaign.org.
The Pago Grannies can be reached by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.