The Grandmothers Campaign follows a social justice model, and exists to support and stand in solidarity with African Grandmothers and children orphaned by AIDS. As an initiative of the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF), the Grandmothers Campaign offers groups flexibility and independence within the supportive framework of the SLF, with the goal of assisting in turning the tide of HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Since it began in 2006, the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation has grown rapidly, with over 240 groups across Canada (and a few internationally).
As grandmothers groups flourished, the value in networking to support each other became apparent. To address this, grandmothers groups plan regional Grandmothers Gatherings and write newsletters to stay connected. Additionally, each month, Grandmother Regional Liaisons join a conference call with the Stephen Lewis Foundation to share information about their region, learn about the other regions, and hear what is new at the Foundation. When opportunities arise, grandmothers groups join together for fundraising and awareness raising events or even to host a special speaker from the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Grandmothers groups have created and implemented many successful and unique fundraisers since the Campaign began. Groups are experts in their own communities and know what will work best for them! Many choose to participate in Campaign-wide initiatives organized by the SLF (i.e. Dare to Dine, Stride to Turn the Tide, Good Words for Africa), in addition to fundraisers the group might come up with on their own. Across the Campaign, groups also work together on joint initiatives.The SLF also helps to arrange for cross-country visits and speaking tours of African grandmothers, SLF staff from Toronto, and SLF Field Representatives based and working in Africa to meet, learn from, and speak to Campaign members. Opportunities arise for grandmothers (paying their own way), to participate in SLF-organized visits to SLF-supported community-based organizations in Africa with the understanding that they share these experiences on return.
Grandmothers groups operate independently, but are also mindful of best practices to preserve the integrity of the Campaign and the Stephen Lewis Foundation. To best support the groups in their efforts, grandmothers groups in each region enjoy the support of an SLF staff member any time any day, ready to advise on policy or provide resources for their activities.
In addition to standing in solidarity with African grandmothers working at the grassroots, Campaign members enjoy meeting like-minded people, deciding together on what work they like to do and when is best to do it, using their skills and learning new ones, and developing new friendships locally, regionally and across Canada.
To learn more about the work of the SLF, have a look at the Grassroots newsletters, which offer engaging glimpses into the work of the foundation. You can view past editions here
For more information , please visit their websites at Stephen Lewis Foundation and the Grandmothers Campaign