Grandmothers and Grand-others, we have completed our virtual walk around Sub-Saharan Africa. We have stepped, biked, swum, skied, skated and danced in support of the Grandmothers in Africa who have the unique challenge of raising their grandchildren. Each of us has “stepped” up and done our part to bring awareness to the situation that our African counterparts are dealing with on a daily basis.
- Out of the 34 million HIV-positive people worldwide, 69% live in sub-Saharan Africa.
- There are roughly 23.8 million infected persons in all of Africa.
- 91% of the world's HIV-positive children live in Africa.
- More than one million adults and children die every year from HIV/AIDS in Africa alone.
Please visit the Stephen Lewis Foundation site to see the amazing results of the Foundation’s working partnership with 300 Community Based Organizations in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.
"Ripples International focuses on children who live with grandmothers or in child-headed households or children who need protection. We started to hear stories from children who wanted to leave home and sleep somewhere else. When we investigated we found that an uncle or a grandfather was abusing the girl. We said, THIS MUST STOP.
There’s a myth that sex with a virgin is a protection against AIDS. The younger the better – some of the girls are as young as 3 or even 1½. We were desperate to access JUSTICE for these girls, to break the culture of impunity. When a girl took her story of rape to the police they wouldn’t believe her, insisted on two witnesses, told her she had asked for it, or even locked her up and abused her themselves.
I met Stephen Lewis and took a course in Ontario, where I learned about the Jane Doe case where a rape survivor took the police to court for not protecting her from a rapist they knew was breaking into homes in her area. Ripples’ project collected the names of 160 girls they had worked with up until 2010 and with lawyers from the Equality Effect, they accused the Kenyan government of not protecting girls.
May 27 2013 WE WON A LANDMARK CASE!
The police were held accountable for their failure to investigate the rapes of the 11 girls used as test cases. OTHER COUNTRIES WILL FOLLOW"
Poem by Luckline, one of the girls served by Ripples International in Meru Kenya; collected by journalist and activist Sally Armstrong
At 15, Luckline was raped by her neighbour. 39 weeks pregnant, she wrote, “This happened to me on May 13, 2010. I will make sure this never happens to my sister”
Here I come
Walking down through history to eternity
From paradise to the city of goods
Victorious, glorious, serious and pious
Elegant, full of grace and truth
The centrepiece and the masterpiece of literature
Glowing, growing and flowing
Here, there, everywhere
Cheering millions every day
The book of books that I am
quoted by Sally Armstrong, Ascent of Women p.35
and on CBC radio IDEAS The New Revolutionaries Mon Oct 3, 2011