The ASK HER talk held in Edmonton on November 23, was a unique opportunity to hear first hand from African women directly involved in supporting and building communities affected by HIV and AIDS. Despite wintry winds and snow, people from Edmonton and area came out to listen and to learn about current conditions in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa.
GANG members enjoyed an informal meal with our African sisters on November 24, and were moved and inspired by their passion and commitment to the people in their communities.
A delicious meal was shared by GANG members, SLF staff and our African sisters.
Hope Chigudu, Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Judy Dube, GANG member
Wendy Legaarden and Joyce Madsen from The GANG’s Education Committee
Vuyiseka Dubula, Peres Abeka and Dorothy Onyango, three of the speakers at the ASK HER talks.
The group of African guests, GANG members and SLF staff pose for a photo.
The GANG is pleased to partner with the Stephen Lewis Foundation to present the Edmonton ASK HER talks, featuring grassroots leaders and HIV-positive activists from Kenya, Ethiopia, Zimbabawe, and South Africa, speaking about philanthropy, change and power in the context of women’s rights and HIV & AIDS. Visit askhertalks.com for more information.
“I want to do more to help the Grandmothers and Orphans of Sub-Saharan Africa.” So stated Hayley Volk, a fourth grade student at Johnny Bright School in Edmonton. Hayley’s class had created “robots” out of waste material, creatively and with individual input. They raised about $500 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation by selling their robots. They were all proud of their work and involvement. So was Hayley, but she wanted to do more.
With the encouragement of GANG member Vivian Pich along with her teacher, Hayley devised her own new project. Her mother helped her select attractive beads to create bracelets and necklaces, and then Hayely and her classmate Evan sold this jewelery themselves at a GANG garage sale. What an enterprising, committed young student! Her spirit and caring inspired us all.
Ida Mukaka, field representative from the Stephen Lewis Foundation, made her inaugural trip to Edmonton April 26 to spread the word about what is happening with some of the projects funded by the Foundation in sub-Saharan Africa. Ida is a compelling speaker; she speaks from the heart and everyone in the audience was captivated and moved by the stories she had to tell.
You can see more photos from Ida’s presentation in our Photo Gallery.
Chat With Ida- by Judy Dube, Northern Alberta Liaison, SLF
40 grandmothers from 5 different Northern Alberta Grandmother Groups gathered Sunday afternoon April 27 for a “Chat With Ida”. Ida Mukuka, from Zambia, is a Field Representative with the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF). Through her work, she visits SLF funded projects throughout sub-Saharan Africa offering support and direction. The GANG was pleased to host Chat With Ida on her recent Canadian visit.
Through a series of photos and many stories, Ida shared how SLF funding is making a profound difference in the lives of African grandmothers, their grandchildren and their communities.
One such photo story focused on children who were receiving lunches funded through a SLF project while attending their local school. Ida shared that when this lunch program first began, the children rushed to the food grabbing handful yet eating very little as they stashing the food away. Over time the children realized there would be enough food for everyone and their behaviour shifted. This resulted in more organized distributing of food, food being eaten, and spontaneous sharing of food among the children; the school attendance increased as did the children’s learning. One photo showed many smiling children holding food packages they were taking home for their Grandmothers. Positive change was evident.
We saw many pictures of grandmothers who were busily involved in SLF funded projects. Ida emphatically shared that their smiling faces were an indication that these heroic women’s lives had improved; they were less stressed and coping better as they had food and housing for their families … and now many of their grandchildren were attending school regularly.
Judy Hayman, GANG chair, thanked Ida for sharing with such passion and humor how our local grandmother groups were making an impact. One grandmother shared as she was leaving “Thanks to Ida I am going home to work even harder!”