Brief History

The Stephen Lewis Foundation initiated the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign in response to the emerging crisis of the AIDS pandemic faced by the African grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa on International Women’s Day, 2006

Photo by Scott Morgan

In August 2006 , the Stephen Lewis Foundation hosted 100 African grandmothers and 200 Canadian grandmothers for a Grandmothers  Gathering in Toronto.  The concluding statements of the African Grandmothers   “We will not raise children for the grave” and the Canadian Grandmothers’ response “We shall not rest until they  can rest” , continue to  move  the Grandmothers  Campaign.

This social justice initiative galvanized Canadian Grandmothers and the Campaign grew to 120 groups in the first eight months and now stands at over 240

throughout Canada with 19 in the Atlantic Provinces.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation provides support to accomplish the 3  goals of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign by providing information about the work in community-based organizations in sub-Saharan Africa  where grandmothers raise children orphaned by AIDS.

Photo by Scott Morgan

Canadian grandmothers participate in regional and national networks to support fundraising efforts and each other’s development.  Together they have raised over $24 million for the Grandmothers’ Campaign since 2006.  Over the ten years the Stephen Lewis Foundation  has organized opportunities for African and Canadian partners to meet on four occasions in Africa and a number of occasions throughout Canada.


“Against all odds, the Grandmothers  Campaign has become a social movement and a model of meaningful solidarity, raising awareness and huge sums of money all across Canada. Let me make an observation here: the reason the grandmothers of Canada are so successful in their support of the grandmothers of Africa lies not only in solidarity, but in vibrant, tangible progress. People live longer. Children survive. Societies rekindle. ”
– Stephen Lewis