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Orangeville Go-Go Grannies to host high tea fundraiser

Orangeville Citizen. June 9, 2017. By Constance Scrafield

Country Garden Tea “Canada 150,” featuring high tea in an elegant garden; ladies perhaps in Victorian dress; an air of pleasant times in a delightful spot, all freely offered by the Go Go Grannies to raise funds for their Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign, is coming Saturday, June 17.

GoGo is an African term for grandmother, hence the name, GoGo Grannies, for the Orangeville branch of the Stephen Lewis Foundation-based Grandmothers to Grandmothers. The mission of the original initiative is for grandmothers in Canada and around the world is to assist the many grandmothers in Africa who are raising their grandchildren when their own children have died of AIDS, another disease or war. Grandmothers to grandmothers provide funds for small enterprises, farming, clothing, education, food, clean water – all that and more: they give the idea of caring from afar: that other grandmothers understand and want to help.

Christine Elms attended a conference where Stephen Lewis brought grandmothers from Africa to talk about their lives and the campaign to assist them. Ms. Elms felt the grandmothers of Orangeville and area would like to participate in such a movement. Along with others, there have been, over the last 10 years, many occasions and fund raising ideas staged, with good success.

Cathy Whitcomb has been involved for many of those years. She and the current chairperson, Rita Henkel, joined us for a conversation about the next upcoming event.

There is much to praise in this matter. The Stephen Lewis Foundation is very strict about money raised by the grassroots going to where it is intended – straight to the people for whom it was raised. They oversee the projects they support and the Foundation is ranked among the top three philanthropic organizations in the world.

What else makes it wonderful, as Ms. Henkel told us: “We are able to give them constant stream of funding; we do quite well for a small town.”

It really began when over 2,000 African grandmothers marched on Durban, South Africa, to protest the fact that widows have no rights: when the husband dies, the rest of the family can take over his wife’s property. Their needs were noted and a way to help was established.

Never backward about being involved, the entire Lewis family is entrenched in the campaign to assist wherever and however they can move the Foundation forward.

“That’s what inspires us,” Ms. Whitcomb pointed out: “Stephen Lewis’ family work hard for the foundation as well.”

Towns and cities across Canada have their own branches, each with its own name. Sometimes, they work together. Coming soon is a possible collaboration with the Grandmothers in Guelph.

Of the upcoming Tea Party on June17, they said variously, “We want people to come and have a nice day. There’ll be tea, sandwiches, cakes and squares.”

The Caledon Townhall Players are coming in costume to play croquet. “People are welcomed to come in costume if they would like. There’ll be a market place and a ‘granny’s attic jewellery table.”

Tours of the garden are also being conducted.

“Every effort is being made to make this a really beautiful day and all the proceeds go the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign.”

The garden in which this event is taking place is located in Mono and the directions to it are printed on the tickets. These are $15 per ticket and can be purchased at BookLore (dear BookLore) or by emailing Ms. Henkel at k.henkel@sympatico.com

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