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May. 19, 2019 | Sunday
Local News
Nyanyas of Niagara helps grandmothers in Africa
Zahra Mohamed is the guest speaker May 9. (Supplied)

The Nyanyas of Niagara, (Nyanya means grandmother in Swahili), are hosting a spring lunch to raise money and awareness for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

The event will be held on May 9 at 11:30 a.m. at the Old Winery Restaurant and Zahra Mohamed, interim executive director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, will be the guest speaker.

Terry Mactaggart, a member of the steering committee of the Nyanyas of Niagara, said the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign brings together several grandmother and “grandothers” groups across Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The motive is to help ease the struggle grandmothers in 15 sub-Saharan African countries face to care for their own grandchildren who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

Since 2007, the Nyanyas of Niagara have sent more than $100,000 to the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, Mactaggart said.

“The raised money reaches Africa in about two weeks. We have our people (in Africa) who verify the legitimacy of people who need help and then provide them with money or whatever aid is necessary.”

There are more than 240 groups of grandmothers in Canada alone, who have raised more than $33 million in just over a decade of its existence, she said.

“It’s quite extraordinary to see the bond that has developed between grandmothers on both sides of the ocean,” Stephen Lewis, founder of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, said in a news release. “They are as one.”

The Stephen Lewis Foundation is a non-governmental organization that works mostly with HIV/AIDS-related campaigns in Africa.

The foundation has been going strong since 2003 and has funded more than 1,700 initiatives, partnering with more than 325 community-based organizations in the 15 African countries hardest hit by the global AIDS pandemic.

“Through the support of the Canadian ‘grandmothers and grandothers’ groups, the African grandmothers have been able to feed, properly house and put their grandchildren through school, create support groups to manage grief, and deliver comfort and hope through home-based care,” said Mactaggart.

“They have been teaching others about HIV prevention and treatment,”

The event offers a luncheon, cash bar and door prizes. Admission is $45. To buy tickets, contact Terry at 905-468-2438 or Linda at 905-937-1354.

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