by Chris Hume
(original post date 4/14/2014)
In March of this year I was 1 of 22 Grandmothers across Canada who visited Africa with the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. We had the opportunity to visit projects in Ethiopia, South Africa and Rwanda. We divided into 4 groups each visiting different projects. As a member of group 3, Developing Families Together in Debra Sina, Ethiopia was the first project I visited. We received a warm welcome from 75 grandmothers, children and community members with singing and dancing and then joined in a march down main street.
Major Projects of Developing Families Together
Since 2010 more than 375 grandmothers increased their regular food consumption from two meals a day (or less) to three times a day. Over 350 grandmothers are maintaining better hygiene thanks to the body soap, laundry soap and powder soap. 176 orphaned grandchildren who were frequently absent from class now go to school , thanks to the school uniforms and materials they received from the project. 375 grandmothers have increased their knowledge of business skills, which they used to decide what kind of income generating activities they want to engage in. We had an opportunity to buy and see some of their products. (Acknowledgements: SLF Grandmothers' Projects Highlights March 2014 Special Edition )
On day two of the visit the Canadian Grandmothers sat down with about 25 African Grandmothers to chat. Many of them shared their stories of AIDS, poverty, and loss of family members. Some spoke on the stigma of aids and how the person with aids and all their family members were outcasts in the community. They spoke of hope for the future and how grateful they are to the Canadian Grandmothers.
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Our choice is to honour the grandmothers, enfold the orphans in our arms, and support them to make all of their lives whole again.
~ Stephen Lewis