CARSTAIRS - Since being formed in Carstairs in 2008, the Grandmothers for Grandmothers Mountain View group has raised more than $110,000 to assist fellow grandmothers who are helping raise orphans in Africa.
Most recently members raised $1,400 at a May 7 garage sale in town.
“We raise money for grandmothers in Africa who are raising children who are orphaned by HIV/AIDS pandemic,” said secretary and longtime member Mary Ellen Speers.
Projects funded include support for education, transportation, housing, food and medicine.
“During the (COVID-19) pandemic, funding has gone to the grandmothers to help get vaccines out to people who are too scared to leave their homes. And a lot of the public transit function broke down during the COVID-era so people had no way to get to the clinics to get their meds and things like that," she said.
The Grandmothers for Grandmothers Mountain View is one of many chapters of the larger Grandmothers to Grandmothers organization.
The local chapter currently has 14 members and is always looking for more, she said.
The Ottawa-based Stephen Lewis Foundation launched the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign in 2006 in response to the emerging crisis faced by grandmothers in Africa as they struggled to raise millions of children orphaned by AIDS.
“Since then the Grandmothers and their supporters in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States have created a international movement to carry on the work, raising much-needed funds to support the life-enhancing programs run by grandmothers in Africa and the community-based organizations who support them,” the organization’s website states.
“The grandmothers movement amplifies the voices and expertise of grandmothers in Africa, and shows the world that leadership by older women is critical in reclaiming hope and rebuilding resilience across communities.”
Grandmothers for Grandmothers Mountain View will be hosting its annual Tea in the Garden fundraiser on July 31 at the home of Chris and Jean Whittaker, Speers said.
Anyone interested in joining the local chapter or making a donation can call Speers at 403-337-2330.