Grandmothers group hosts book launch

Prince George Citizen, October 10, 2017. By Christine Hinzmann

A local group that assists those African grandmothers raising their grandchildren because the AIDS epidemic has virtually wiped out an entire generation is hosting a book launch to raise funds for the cause.

Grandmothers to Grandmothers Prince George, or G2G PG as they are best known, will host a book launch for Powered by Love: A Grandmothers’ Movement to End AIDS in Africa, on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at Artspace. The photographer that provided the pictures in the book, Alexis MacDonald, will be speaking at the fundraising event along with four representatives from Africa, including grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren who will give first-hand accounts of the process and the struggles that come with it.

The event is free to attend and proceeds from the book sales will go to the grassroots organizations in Africa that directly assist the grandmothers in need.

Across the country there are Grandmothers to Grandmothers groups supporting the cause through the Stephen Lewis Foundation that started the Canadian grandmothers movement more than 10 years ago which has raised more than $25 million.

Robyn Naylor and Maggee Spicer from Grandmothers to Grandmothers Prince George are organizing a book launch for Powered by Love: a Grandmothers’ movement to End AIDS in Africa, which will be held at Artspace on Oct. 17. – Brent Braaten, Photographer

The local G2G PG, only two years in existence, has already raised more than $25,000 and continues to grow in number.

“A big part of the grandmothers campaign is to build the solidarity with the grandmothers in Africa, so we’re not seeing it as we’re giving to a charity, rather we are working in solidarity with grandmothers who we can empathize with about the situation they are in and they inform us what they need and who they are,” said Maggie Spicer, a local G2G PG member.

It’s a grassroots movement that addresses the specific needs of African grandmothers, she added.

One group of grandmothers asked specifically for funds to build a fence around a garden because they could not successfully grow vegetables for their community while animals pillaged. So funding was provided specifically to build that fence to ensure a successfully-grown garden. Another example is supporting the local tailor that sews the school uniforms for the children attending.

“So rather than sending uniforms over to them, we support those who make their own uniforms,” said Robyn Naylor, another G2G PG member. “Other projects include schooling and raising goats.”

The goal is always to help a community become more sustainable, which helps the grandmothers raise grandchildren. Some grandmothers take on other children so it is not uncommon to see grandmothers raising groups of grandchildren. There’s even one grandmother raising 16 grandchildren in one community.

“The money raised is for what they decide they need and that’s one of the reasons I joined the local group,” said Naylor. “And that’s where the money goes – where it’s needed.”

For more information about the local group’s book launch call Naylor at 250-562-2711.

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