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Granny Bulletin: May 2020

Welcome to the Granny Bulletin, your source for news, stories and information about exciting initiatives from the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

In this Granny Bulletin:

  1. Join our Virtual Stride Launch Party – All Are Welcome!
  2. Campaign Connections: Upcoming Dates

Dear Grandmothers and Grandothers,

This is an interesting time for the grandmothers movement. While there are obvious things that we can’t do, it has been powerful to explore with you the things we can do. The support, love and solidarity you continue to direct toward the Grandmothers Campaign has blown us away. Everything that you’re doing – from online fundraising all the way down to liking or sharing a post on social media – is meaningful, and matters.

The community-based organizations that the Stephen Lewis Foundation partners with are also adapting, adjusting and discovering alternate ways to get support and services to the clients in their care, and to their communities as a whole. In many cases, when unexpected crises and challenges hit communities, our partners are looked to for guidance, leadership and a first response (when safe and possible). We’ve heard many examples of this already during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you know, getting accurate, up-to-date facts about prevention, treatment, symptoms, government regulations and restrictions has been an essential part of flattening the COVID-19 infection curve in communities and countries. Community-based organizations are stepping in to bridge the information gap between governments and citizens, and to push back against misinformation that may be circulating.

Izimbali Zesizwe (IZ) is a community-based organization working in South Africa to provide psychosocial support, food and nutrition programs, and after-school tutoring and home-based care to orphaned and vulnerable children whose lives have been affected by HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis, as well as
their families.

When South Africa went into lockdown, and schools closed, the Director of IZ, Sthembile Ndlovu, noticed that the children were still outside playing together rather than staying home with their families. After talking with them, Sthembile realized that they did not fully understand why they were not in school, and why they needed to stay physically distanced from one another. She asked the children to write down all the questions they had about COVID-19. They did so with the help of their parents and came together for a (physically distanced) town hall where Sthembile answered these questions. They talked about how the coronavirus is spread, best practices for staying healthy (like hand washing), and why it’s important to keep a safe distance from others.

Sthembile and the staff of IZ are also providing food deliveries to the children and families who would normally come to the centre to pick up the food. They received permission from their local councillor and police to continue to do their work safely with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the community.

In a recent conversation with SLF staff, Sthembile spoke about how organizations like IZ are at the heart of their communities, and play an essential role:

“It’s so amazing, because the big organizations cannot reach the local level but we are here and we are with the community. We are hands on, even during lockdown we can carry on supporting the community. Thank you for understanding us, without your method of support, this community would be suffering a lot.”

Thank you for each and every action you take in solidarity and support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s community-based partners.

With love and appreciation,
Megan, Winnie, Ruth-Anne and Sarah


1. Join our Virtual Stride Launch Party – All are Welcome!

Join the launch of this year’s Virtual Stride to Turn the Tide. On June 1st at 2:30 PM Eastern Time, we’ll come together as a virtual community to hear from Meg French, Executive Director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and grandmothers and grandothers from across the Grandmothers Campaign. Join us on Zoom to share what activities you’ll be safely undertaking for Stride, or simply to connect, cheer on and act in solidarity with other Campaign members. All are welcome!

Please RSVP to campaign@stephenlewisfoundation.org, or sign up on the Grandmothers Campaign website: https://grandmotherscampaign.org/virtualstride.


3. Campaign Connections: Upcoming Dates

Our monthly Campaign calls are something we look forward to each month. Last week on our May call we had a conversation about fundraising and staying connected to one another. If you missed it, you can click here to read summary notes from the call. From this call came the request from Campaign members to keep up-to-date on other groups’ activities. And so, we’re collecting details about your fundraising initiatives and items that you are selling to share on the Grandmothers Campaign Facebook page. We’re investigating other ways to compile and facilitate information-sharing.

Join us on Thursday, June 18th, 12:30 PM ET – this month we’re holding the June Campaign Call on Zoom! We’ll share ideas for safely undertaking  physical sales and ways groups are selling merchandise and crafts online.

And finally, we’ll host a “How We Work” Zoom presentation on Wednesday, June 24th, at 2:00 PM ET for a look at the SLF model for partnering with community-based organizations, the impact our partners are having in their communities, and how our partners are adapting and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

RSVP to campaign@stephenlewisfoundation.org!

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