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Grandmothers in Peel Region celebrate 10th anniversary of Stride to Turn the Tide in Mississauga

published in missisauga.com on May 26th 2019 by Maryam Mirza. 

A group of grandmothers in Halton-Peel will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the annual Stride to Turn the Tide on June 8

Oomama and Bronte Grandmothers for Africa volunteer members from previous Stride to Turn the Tide annual walk. – Courtesy: Sandy Milakovic

A group of grandmothers from the Peel Region have been walking for the past two months to raise funds for grandmothers in Africa and they’re hosting a wrap-up barbecue and walk on June 8 to celebrate the event’s 10th anniversary. 

This year, the Halton-Peel Virtual Stride Walk, part of the annual Stride to Turn the Tide, organized by Oomama and the Bronte Grandmothers for Africa, is a fun alternative to the traditional walks they have done in the past years. 

Participants walk when and where they want between April 1 to May 31, logging steps with a pedometer as they walk, bike, swim, workout or hike the “virtual” 6,890-kilometer trek across Canada. 

“We decided a virtual stride because some grandmother’s go south or the weather’s not too good for them to walk,” Sandy Milakovic, co-chair of Oomama, one of over 240 grandmother grassroots volunteer groups across Canada involved in the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

To date, the Halton-Peel Virtual Stride Walk has raised over $200,000 in funding for the parent organization, the Stephen Lewis Foundation. 

The money raised has benefited community-level projects in sub-Saharan Africa for grandmothers on the frontlines of the AIDS pandemic. 

“Grandmothers whose children have died of AIDS are raising their grandchildren,” Milakovic said. “During the [Oomama] we also make it an educational experience and learn about projects that support those grandmothers.”

Milakovic added they have grandmothers who travel to Africa, meet with the community organizations, come back and present current projects the organization is working on. 

“What resonated with us was that these grandmothers walk to do everything, they walk with water on their heads, they walk with babies, they walk everywhere,” Milakovic said. “What we said was, the least we can do is do a walk, do a stride that will demonstrate how hard these grandmothers have to work to maintain life with their grandchildren — the least we can do is walk and raise money.”

The wrap-up celebration walk and barbecue will be held on June 8 from 10.30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Port Credit Legion.

The event organizers are encouraging other people — along with their grandkids and friends — to join the volunteer group on the last stretch of the walk before the barbecue or donate to the cause. 

For more information on how to donate or attend the event visit: www.oomama.org/stride-turn-tide.

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