By Marion Boyd
Special to the Chronicle
This year on World AIDS Day December 1 Canadian Grandmothers for Africa are celebrating the launch of a wonderful book, “Powered by Love” that is already a critical read for anyone who is working on HIV and AIDS policy and funding internationally.
The book puts grandmothers at the heart of the response to AIDS and gives voice to their expertise in sub-Saharan Africa at the front lines around AIDS and, in Canada, around fundraising, awareness, and a new solidarity model.
The publishers of “Powered by Love” have been bowled over by the way Canadian grandmothers have mobilized to ensure that African grandmothers are heard and heeded and given prominence in sharing their stories of triumphs over adversity.
You can purchase the book at Coles in Penticton. It brings the collective power of love and unity to life in an otherwise bleak world and might inspire someone on your Christmas gift list.
The Canadian grandmothers movement is now celebrated the world over. There are 240 groups across Canada including the Oliver group that meets the first Thursday of each month at 1 pm in the United Church basement and is always happy to welcome new members.
We are all part of a remarkable solidarity and social justice journey. Stephen Lewis sums up the Canadian Grandmothers Campaign emphatically: “It’s really quite remarkable to see what time and generosity and compassion have wrought. Out of the despair of AIDS has come a powerful social movement, uniting two continents in unabashed solidarity.”
Since its beginning in 2006, the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign has exploded into an unstoppable movement of dynamic women who, alongside the Stephen Lewis Foundation, developed an entirely new model of development, built on a mutual respect and a deep appreciation for the dignity, intelligence and courage of African grandmothers.
More than $25 million has been raised to fund grassroots projects in Africa. African grandmothers are the hope of the children. They love them, care for them, find daily food for them, see they get an education, encourage the young girls to break the cycle of poverty by staying in school and sustain self help associations of people living with HIV and AIDS. They do it with a determination almost unknown in this part of the world. It is an honour to stand arm in arm with them.