GRAND Market supports African grandmothers and children


From left, Susan Carter and Janet Wilkinson at last year’s GRAND Market hosted by
One World Grannies in support of HIV/AIDS sufferers and survivors in Africa.

by Bonnie Johnson

Grandmothers in the national capital region are coming together once again to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers Campaign. The fourth annual GRAND Market, hosted by One World Grannies (OWG), is coming back to Lansdowne Park’s Horticulture Building on November 25. The market will feature craft and holiday items, gently used offerings including excellent-quality women’s clothing and accessories, jewellery, children’s toys, books, board games and tabletop treasures. Visitors can enjoy coffee, treats or lunch at the Sweet and Savoury Café and perhaps chance a visit to Grandmother Moon, our popular Tarot card reader.

And why are these grandmothers fundraising? The AIDS pandemic is far from over. Its magnitude is almost impossible to grasp – 25.5 million people are living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. The parental generation in the affected areas of Africa has been decimated, leaving the care of 14 million orphaned children to the continent’s grandmothers. These grandmothers are loving, feeding, housing and clothing the children and putting them through school, creating support groups to manage grief, and delivering comfort and hope.

In 2006, a group of Canadian grandmothers pledged their help and since then have raised over $30 million for The Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF)’s Grandmothers Campaign which supports community-based programs for African grandmothers and the children in their care.

Some progress has been realized on HIV/AIDS. Globally, new HIV infections among young children were reduced by half between 2010 and 2016. But infections among teens between the ages of 15 and 19 are rising. According to a 2017 UNICEF report, two-thirds of those newly infected persons are girls, meaning 30 girls per hour are infected. The Grandmothers to Grandmothers initiative supports programs that speak to African teens about how they can prevent infection and when necessary, obtain treatment.

Concern about the rising rate among girls is being addressed by a number of SLF-funded grassroots organizations, one of which is the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse. The group runs the Girls Empowerment Club for orphaned and vulnerable girls that, through education about their vulnerability to sexual interference and the dangers of HIV/AIDS, is giving them the confidence and tools to help them reclaim their lives.

Says Val Swinton, OWG member, “This is but one of many examples of how money raised by Canadian grandmothers is helping to turn the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa. I invite everyone to support the children of Africa and their grandmothers by shopping at the GRAND Market.”

The market will be held in the Horticultural Building at Lansdowne Park on Sunday, November 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.

Catherine Bell, Royal LePage Team Realty and member of One World Grannies is once again sponsoring the GRAND Market.

For more information contact One World Grannies’ Val Swinton at, Peggy Edwards at, or Sue Ernst at, or visit Facebook or the website at

Bonnie Johnson is a long-time Glebe resident and One World Grannies member.


From left, Cathy Blauer, Dianne Holland, Lynn Hawkins and Valerie Swinton. Photos: Melanie Willis

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