Grandmothers affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa will get another round of support from local Scrabble players this weekend.
The local chapter of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, an initiative of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, holds a Scrabble fundraiser here twice a year. The objective is to help grandmothers who are left to care for their grandchildren after their own children have died from HIV/AIDS.
She said along with the responsibility of caring for grandchildren, and the weight of the grief of losing a child, the grandmothers often also deal with low incomes and issues with housing and health. Many of the grandmothers have banded together and formed support organizations, and it’s those groups that the Canadian groups help out.
“It’s the African grandmothers that need the support, they look after their own needs. And when they need money, they’ll appeal to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, who checks out that this is a legitimate request,” she said.
She said a couple of years ago, for example, a group in Uganda requested funds for a van so they could get to a medical clinic.
This weekend, the local group will get the Scrabble boards out again to raise more funds. And it’s not just for grannies.
Saturday will be her fourth or fifth time taking part in the fundraiser.
“I really believe in what they’re doing. The whole issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa is completely lost on the international scene, and it is still a major, major issue,” she said. “And it’s not just the fact of the people who have it themselves, but the impact on families as parents die, so a devastation of communities. It’s the cause that really makes me want to help out.”
Grandmothers and grandothers who’d like to have a game to support the cause can join the group Saturday at The Lantern from 2-5 p.m. It costs $15 to participate.