In the fall of 2006 a small group of local women led by Mickey Bonham and Sue Reid felt they wanted to do something to help the grandmothers in Africa who were burying their own children due to the AIDS pandemic and then raising the millions of grandchildren who had been left without parents. Most of these grandmothers were very poor and some were not in good health. The local group first met around Sue’s dining room table and they discovered that between the six women they had 15 grandchildren. It then struck them that there were many grandmothers in Africa who were raising that many grandchildren and more without any assistance from their governments. They planned their first fundraising event at Stouffer Mill B&B and they were on their way!
On Sunday June 2 the local Grannies Group had their last gathering. It was a private tea party for members only and it was the last official event for the group which has been fundraising for the past 13 years in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
In 2006 the AIDS pandemic was ravaging sub-Saharan Africa and the Stephen Lewis Foundation was organizing its Grandmothers Campaign. This is a national movement involving over 200 groups of grandmothers and grand-others (husbands friends and families) across Canada who have been organizing awareness-raising and fundraising events in support of community organizations in Africa. These community organizations help grandmothers in the affected countries who have had to take on the job of raising millions of AIDS orphans.
The local group has been able to raise (including donations received on June 2) more than $129000 since 2006. The Grannies started with Musical Afternoons at Stouffer Mill B&B and went on to organize yard sales African Film Nights craft sales refreshments for Those Other Movies and the very popular Granny Spring Tea. Many would like to continue with this important work and many will continue to support the Foundation through monthly donations. But during the last year it has been difficult to find the “people-power” necessary to organize fundraising events as they did in the past. If you are interested in finding out more about the Stephen Lewis Foundation please go to www.stephenlewisfoundation.org.
Finally the Haliburton Highlands Grannies are very appreciative of the wonderful community support they have received over the last 13 years and especially for the partnerships formed with the local United Churches with Stouffer Mill B&B with Those Other Movies and with Abbey Gardens. The group would also like to thank the Minden Times the Highlander Canoe FM Gail Holness and Jack Brezina for their help with fundraising events.
Submitted by the
Haliburton Highlands Grannies