| Jan 17, 2008

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Feature Article - January 17 2008 Parham grandmother seeks to start Grandmothers to Grandmothers group By Jule Koch Brison

Across Canada groups of grandmothers are meeting to find ways to help the many thousands of brave African grandmothers, who after nursing their children through a painful death from AIDS and burying them, are raising their orphaned grandchildren.

And Carol Southall of Parham is seeking to form such a group in our area.

The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign was launched by the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) in 2006. “One extended family at a time, a continent in tatters was being stitched back together by grandmothers” - Ilana Lansberg-Lewis, executive director of the foundation, wrote that tribute to African grandmothers in describing how the campaign came into being.

Already, more than 190 groups of grandmothers in Canada and beyond have raised over $2 million. SLF directs these funds to community-level organizations in African countries that provide grandmothers with much needed support, such as food, housing grants, school fees for their grandchildren and grief counselling. SLF also works very hard to keep their organizational costs under 10%.

Carol is inspired by the work of the foundation, and after visiting their website and reading the terrible stories of the grief, poverty, violence, and abandonment that African grandmothers suffer while heroically doing the best they can for their traumatized grandchildren, she decided to try to help. Often the grandmothers themselves have become infected with AIDS through caring for their sick children.

Carol has six children and nine grandchildren herself, so she empathizes with the suffering of African grandmothers. Carol has obtained a kit from the Stephen Lewis Foundation to start the group, and she is hoping that area grandmothers will join her. She would like to hear from anyone who is interested, and they can call her at 613-375-8883.

For more information, they can also visit the foundation’s website: www.stephenlewisfoundation.org

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