Toronto Star Examines Efforts of Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmother to Grandmother Campaign in Africa
The Toronto Star on Monday examined the efforts of the Stephen Lewis Foundation's Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign in Africa, particularly Swaziland. According to the Star, a 12-member delegation of Canadian grandmothers recently traveled across sub-Saharan Africa to record the stories of African grandmothers and AIDS orphans to relay back to Canada (Black, Toronto Star, 5/26).
The campaign, which was launched in March 2006, aims to encourage grandmothers in Canada to raise money for their counterparts in Africa who are raising their grandchildren. The funds are funneled directly to grassroots organizations operating in Africa, where the grandmothers can define their needs -- which often include food, school tuition, counseling services or coffins (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/14/06).
There are about 130,000 AIDS orphans in Swaziland -- a number that is expected to increase to about 200,000 by 2010 -- the Star reports. To promote women's rights and gender equality for rural grandmothers in Swaziland, the Canadian delegation recently participated in a two-day event organized by Swaziland for Positive Living, which operates with the help of a $100,000 grant from the Lewis foundation.
Delegate Carole Holmes said that "there is something so critical about" HIV/AIDS in Africa, adding that she thinks the epidemic is "being fueled by a lot of things." She added, "Gender inequality is to me one of the major, major things" that is contributing to the spread of HIV. According to the Star, Holmes has committed to one year of speaking and fundraising for the foundation, and she also has said that she wants to lobby the Canadian government to do more to address the issue. "I really think we can get the grandmother movement going ... we can be a large voter group to make a difference to say we care about Africa," Holmes said, adding, "We made some promises to Africa and we can get Canada to keep those promises" (Toronto Star, 5/26).