On Sept. 7, 2013 the Stephen Lewis Foundation hosted a people’s tribunal in Vancouver to shed light upon the plight of many African grandmothers and their orphan grandchildren.
According to the report of the African Grandmothers tribunal—Seeking justice at the frontiers of the AIDS crisis—the current mantra in dealing with AIDS is “zero deaths,” “zero new infections.”
It’s a strategy promoted by UNAIDS with the support of the scientific and political establishments. And it’s admirable except for one fatal flaw: it leaves out whole categories of people who are aversely affected by the virus. Two of those categories are grandmothers and orphans.
Incredible enough, in the latest issue of the comprehensive UNAIDS update on the pandemic, 2013, published just a few weeks ago, grandmothers and orphans are written out of the text.
They appear nowhere.
Thank goodness for the good people of the Grandmothers-to-Grandmothers campaign. Grassroots women both here and in Africa whose work gives profile to the grandmothers of Africa and the staggering demands they face in raising orphan grandchildren.
Grandmothers have stepped in to care for orphaned grandchildren, putting them through school, supporting them through the loss of their parents to AIDS and teaching them about HIV prevention and treatment.
They tend to the sick, set up support groups, harvest the crops and create income-generating programs.
There is a local Grandmothers group—the Boundary GoGo’s. They too are active in the fight for justice for African grandmothers and orphans.
The Boundary GoGos will have a table at the Rock Creek Christmas Fair this Saturday. Take the opportunity to hear their story and perhaps shop where your dollar will truly be a gift.