Beautiful weather, a gracious hostess, delicious pot luck food, and a glorious garden combined to make our Summer Social especially enjoyable on July 7 this year. Marianne Bartram spoke of the many reasons we have for celebration, and the bonds of friendship that we share as we work together for African grandmothers.
New study in Tanzania reveals startling fact (click to read)
Grandmothers may be more important providers of food than hunters in early human evolution
A Hadza hunter in Tanzania. Researchers have looked at the hunting success of the Hadza and found that they bagged an animal on on 3.4 percent of their excursions.
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.
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
Where has the time gone? We are down to the last two weeks of our Virtual Walk and we have started on the return journey. When the Virtual Walk was first envisioned, the 10,000 kilometers appeared daunting, but with the enthusiasm of all the participants we have passed the 10 000 mark and have our sites on the return trip back to Gaborone, Botswana. The real plus to “stepping” the return trip is that we will be able to visit so many of the other Community Based Organizations supported by the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Those we skipped over on our initial trek. The return journey will be a total of 20,508 km and as this bulletin is being written we have “virtually” walked, swam, cycled, skated, and skied 14,210 km. Well done, everyone!
EARTH DAY WALK
AT RITHET’S BOG:
WE WILL BE BRINGING OUR VIRTUAL WALK TO A CLOSE ON APRIL 22nd. PLEASE JOIN US FOR A WALK AROUND RITHET’S BOG, STARTING AT 12:30.
REFRESHMENTS FOLLOW AT JAMES BAY UNITED CHURCH HALL, 511 MICHIGAN ST.
PLEASE RSVP LETTING US KNOW WHETHER YOU WILL BE JOINING US FOR THE WALK AND/OR FOR REFRESHMENTS.
RSVP TO: email@example.com
Rights Institute for Social Empowerment
The ultimate goal of RISE is transforming the lives of disadvantaged girls, children and young people. In delivering its programmes, RISE is working with and building the capacities of Community Based Organizations in Malawi. Our entry point to communities is the already established community structures that own the initiative. RISE main role is to come in with capacity building, technical support and continuous relationship building in effective human rights education and promotion strategies.
Example of a programme developed by RISE
RISE trains marginalized girls in making reusable sanitary pads using locally available resources for use and as a way of income generation to ensure sustainability in their lives.
VG4A says: “RISE has many other brilliant programmes; some work to break down cultural norms around child marriage, to empower girls, to keep girls in school, to educate youth about HIV/AIDS, to empower caregivers – this last must be where grandmothers come in. Their website is well worth a visit! http://www.risemalawi.org/programmes/programmes.html”
April 22nd, Earth Day
We are having a fun walk to celebrate Earth Day but also the end of our first ever Virtual Stride Walk, in support of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
The walk takes place at Rithet’s Bog at 12:30.
Meet at the corner of Dalewood Lane and Chatterton Way.
Park across the street as the businesses will be closed.
Refreshments to follow at James Bay United Church Hall.
We're counting our steps in many different ways ......
1. Wyatt and Henry are counting their steps, their skating and their skiing!
2. David is walking with his family at Westminster Pier Park
3. The 50K gang (Barbara, Theresa, Ruth, Dale, Judy and Vreny) get a
get a step up on training!
4 Glenice, Geraldine, Claire, Elizabeth and Linda step out at Pat Bay
5. Oscar and Miles take to the air in support of the Grandmothers
6. Jocelyn caught the beauty of Butchart Gardens while counting her steps.
...... such amazing ways to enjoy our Spring weather!
Week 5 has finished and week 6 is almost done. We are heading to the finish line. Our total leading up to the end of week 6 is 8750 kilometers. This week we passed by another great project supported by the Stephen Lewis Foundation and to steal a line from the Knowledge Network…”and by people like you!”
As we head to the last few weeks of our fun’raising event here are a few reminders.
CHILDREN IN DISTRESS NETWORK (CINDI)
MISSION: Networking and capacity building contextually with the purpose of improving the lives of children and caregivers using methods that are children centred and a specific focus on child participation
VISION: CINDI aims to ensure children and caregivers access their constitutional rights through processes of collaboration leading to community driven action
Stephen Lewis Foundation has been a major partner in supporting grandmothers that CINDI identifies for support. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 Stephen Lewis in partnership with CINDI provided support to 50 grandparents aimed at building resilience through strengthening grandparents skill in income generating activities (IGAS) and education support for orphans and vulnerable children left in the care of grandparents.
Eleven grandparents in Luangwa Malembeka received grants of one million (K1, 000, 000) each in order for them to start up or scale up their business ventures. The 11 grandparents were initially identified by the Luangwa Community leaders and verified by CINDI project staffs. These 11 grandmothers had earlier on received training in basic IGA management and had written simple business plans to communicate the IGA ventures they would embark on once given the funds.
Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS (GAPA)
Gladys and Daisy who visited Victoria for the book launch work with GAPA
Workshops are held each month for grandmothers who are new to the project where they learn about HIV infection and AIDS. Practical skills to overcome effects of the pandemic on households are taught. The workshops cover topics such as HIV/AIDS and cancer awareness, vegetable gardening, human rights, elder abuse, death and bereavement, drawing up a will and business skills. Grandmothers are also invited to attend support groups held in area representatives’ homes once a week.
GAPA’s motto is ‘together we are stronger’ and the aim is to draw on the inherent strength of the grandmothers in the community to bring lasting change and hope.
GAPA’s main activities include:
Workshops and training for grandmothers
Income generation activities (gardening and making of crafts) Aftercare service for vulnerable children
Support groups; Monthly Indabas/meetings;
Advocacy and community involvement
Wow! Our total number of steps for the past three weeks adds up to
We are half-way there. While achieving those kilometers, we passed some amazing community-based organizations working with the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Mothers 2 Mothers – Lesotho
In a country characterized by mountains and small rural areas, Mothers2Mothers began providing Mentor Mother Services in Lesotho in 2007. M2M Lesotho recruits, trains, and places mothers living with HIV in health facilities and within communities to ensure that other women and their babies access the full cascade of health services to protect their babies from HIV infection and stay healthy. Through our family-centred approach, they use their contact with mothers and babies to interact with
entire families, educating them on prevention and HIV counselling and testing, and linking them to health centres for the care they need.
Credit: BC Interior Regional Gathering Information Sheet on Projects by Country
Swaziland for Positive Living (SWAPOL)
Siphiwe Hlophe is the co-founder of Swaziland for Positive Living, an NGO that provides counselling and education, and seeks to improve the living conditions of people who are affected by or infected with HIV in the rural areas. The organization has been described as "Swaziland's most innovative and motivated HIV/AIDS mitigation program"
Siphiwe was one of the first women to publicly declare her positive HIV status. "SWAPOL was forged from the suffering our founding members. That may be why people respond to what we are doing, and we are getting so many requests to help communities where HIV is rampant. We are not an NGO that works out of a plush office. We are people who know what it means to face discrimination and rejection, but who have the will to live", says Siphiwe Hlophe.
Above, she leads 2000 grandmothers and others through the streets of Manzini, Swaziland at the African Grandmothers Gathering in 2010
Mozambican Treatment Access Movement
Mozambique has a high prevalence of HIV. Civil society lobbied government into creating a National council to fight AIDS, and now HIV is a component of the Ministry of Health National Strategic plan. Civil society needs to be actively involved in issues of HIV/AIDS rather than wait for government to do everything. Community-based organizations are seeking to have an impact at the national level. They’re taking the knowledge they’ve developed about the realities of HIV/AIDS in their communities and applying it to advocacy efforts with their governments. The Mozambican Treatment Access Movement, which the SLF supports, is recognized as a major player in the country’s HIV/AIDS responses. Credit: BC Interior Regional Gathering Information Sheet
Chiedza Child Care Centre
Chiedza’s mission is to provide an expanding program of holistic psychosocial support to orphans and vulnerable
children including those affected by HIV/AIDs or disabilities. We work with caregivers and young people to empower them to improve their lives. The center runs a community home-based program for the vulnerable orphaned children and assists the care givers of children in dire circumstances with immediate needs therefore empowering them through life skills development. Above is a session on the importance of getting tested for HIV/AIDS.
HOLD THE DATE:
April 22nd (Earth Day).
Let’s celebrate the end of a fun, rejuvenating, and encouraging challenge. We are planning a fun walk in the early afternoon with refreshments to follow at James Bay United Church. More information will be in the next bulletin.
Visit this site to see the resilience of the amazing African Grandmothers
Sandra, Judith, Barbara, and Dale enjoy Rithet’s Bog.
Christine counting her steps in Frutillar, Chile with the backdrop of Volcan Osorno.
The beauty of our city and the promise of spring captured by Mavis
Judy and Barbara count their “ride” steps to the Nest coffee shop.
Kilometers add up, even from holidays in Chile -- Christine Scott sends in her 55.4 km, with Volcan Osorno in the background
Our steps are really adding up. We have 65 walkers, cyclers, skiers, and swimmers. This past week our total rose to 2700 kilometers from the start. That is so amazing! With seven weeks to go, the Grandmothers and Grand-Others are on the move. Please remember to send your week three kilometers/steps to:
As we move around the townships of Sub-Saharan Africa, let’s visit another of the amazing agencies that assist the African Grandmothers and is supported by the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Catholic AIDS Action Trust Namibia
The Catholic AIDS Action (CAA) Trust was founded in 1998 by Sr. Dr. Raphael Handler, OSB, and Dr. Lucy Steinitz. It has grown to be one of the largest NGOs responding to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Namibia.
CAA builds on the Catholic network of parishes, hospitals and health care institutions, and schools and hostels.
CAA also works in partnership with other churches, faith-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, the business sector and Government (GRN) line- ministries.
The CAA’s work and mission has four principal focuses:
Home-based family care and counselling,
HIV and AIDS education and prevention
Care and support to orphans and vulnerable children
Voluntary HIV testing and counselling
While the SLF is a secular organisation, many of the organisations it partners with in Africa are faith based. The deciding factor is whether they offer services to all, not just to people of their own faith.
We continue to walk, cycle and swim in solidarity with the Grandmothers in Africa. Thank you to all who are walking, swimming, cycling, skating and skiing to raise awareness and thank you to all who are supporting these participants. Together, we will make a difference.
We're not actively using this blog at the moment. It works as a good archive, though!
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- 2019 Regional Gathering
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- 2018 Cycle Tour: 275 km
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- 2017 Book Launch UVic
- 2017 Book Launch Sidney
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- 2017 Cycle Tour 275 km
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- 2016 Christmas Social
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- 2016 Cycle Tour 275 km
- 2016 Cycle Tour 50 km
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- 2015 Stride Walk
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Archived Photo Galleries
- Penny Rolling Parties 2012
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- National Walk 2012
- Cycle Tour 2011
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- Textile Art Gala & Auction 2011
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- AfriGrand Caravan 2010
- Kazuri Afternoon Tea 2010
- Cycle Tour 2010
- National Walk 2010
- Scrabble Tournament 2009
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- Grandmothers Picnic 2009
- 2014 National Walk
- 2013 Regional Gathering
- 2013 Cycle Tour & the Welcome Gathering in Victoria
- 2013 Stride Walk
- 2013 African Dinner