Grandmothers to Grandmothers

Headlines about the AIDS crisis in Africa have diminished, but orphans who have lost their parents to the disease continue to need care. This is where grandmothers have been essential.

(c) SLF/Liz Marshall
(c) SLF/Liz Marshall

Some 15 million African children live in households headed by their grandmothers. They bridge what has been called a missing generation. These households can have up to 10 to 15 children.

A Canadian non-profit, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, has made it a priority to support these overburdened women. And it has turned to Canadian grandmothers for help. Over the past decade, Grandmothers to Grandmothers has grown to more than 240 groups. They have raised over $21 million through bazaars, benefits, bake sales, beds without breakfasts, and beyond.

They provide support for health care, school fees, parenting and business skills, HIV awareness training, and much more. But the benefits go both ways. One Canadian group member said, “Those African grandmothers have done so much more for us Canadian ladies than they ever could imagine…”