In 2006, the Stephen Lewis Foundation held an inaugural gathering of African and Canadian grandmothers. At that time, more than 17,000,000 children in sub-Saharan Africa had been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. The gathering heard directly from African grandmothers and the organizations that supported them, how the AIDS pandemic had affected their lives. These grandmothers spoke of their grief over the deaths of their beloved children, their enduring love and concern for their grandchildren and, in poor health and with few resources, their resolution to create a better future for their families and communities.
Enid Butler, one of the Winnipeg grandmothers who attended that gathering was determined to start a group in Winnipeg and after discussions with Barb Fletcher and Linda Watson, the Grandmothers’ Campaign staff of the Stephen Lewis Foundation was informed of the intention to form a group in Winnipeg.
A launch meeting for Grands ‘n’ More Winnipeg was scheduled for October 21, 2007, with 26 people registered to attend. The first months were spent exploring various areas of involvement and clarifying an organizational structure. At the first Annual meeting on May 12, 2008, the Structure Document was ratified and it was agreed that the group would be open to adults of all ages. The name Grands ‘n’ More indicates that the group is inclusive of all adults for membership, not only grandparents. It was also affirmed that our concern was not only for the grandmothers of sub-Saharan Africa, but also for the children orphaned by AIDS and all those affected by the pandemic.
For several years, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have been in the same region known as “the Prairies”. In consultation with the Grandmothers Regional Liaisons (GRLs), Cathie Hiller (Manitoba) and Gail Greenberg (Saskatchewan), in June 2017, the two regions were separated into Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
There are three major areas in which we focus our efforts – Awareness, Fundraising and Global Issues.
We aim to raise awareness within the membership of Grands ‘n’ More and within the broader community about the desperate plight of African grandmothers and their orphaned grandchildren. To do so, we maintain a Speaker’s Bureau, the members of which address a wide variety of community groups, service clubs, churches and workplaces. Talks may include the use of DVDs, PowerPoint presentations, handouts and/or displays and are tailored to the needs of specific groups. Topics may include learning about the life of the grandmothers including the challenges they face and how they are meeting those challenges and creating better lives for themselves and their families. As well, we offer presentations on the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) and how, through the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, they are supporting more than 300 grassroots organizations engaged in 1,100 projects in 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We believe that we can all make a difference in the lives of these grandmothers and grandchildren.
In addition to providing speakers, we organize potluck dinners which engage the broader community and which offer an opportunity for members and friends to meet other individuals concerned about social justice issues. At these events and many others throughout the year, we staff display tables with information and artifacts related to Africa and the grandmothers.
If you would like to book a Speaker, or if you would just like more information about what we do, please feel free to Contact Us.
We host several fundraising events throughout the year. All the funds we raise go directly to the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmother’s Campaign. Some examples of our fundraising activities are:
Our most successful and enduring fundraiser is the sale of our bags and other crafts which are all made by volunteers in Manitoba. After modest costs are covered, 100% of the remainder goes to the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) and on to Africa. We ensure this is the case by collecting annual fees from our members to cover local administration costs.
Volunteers knit/crochet scarves (often with donated yarn). After selecting and “buying” a scarf ($5 for a child or $10 for an adult), each item is wrapped with rafia or ribbon and a card is attached with the buyer’s name (or the person in whose name the item was purchased). It also includes the crafter’s name and the words “Welcome to Winnipeg”. The purchaser does not keep the item, instead, the item purchased is taken to Welcome Place, a local settlement agency, and donated to newcomers to keep them warm and cozy during our cold Winnipeg winters. 100% of the money raised goes directly to the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.
Art from the Attic (AFTA)
In September 2015, we held our first annual Art from the Attic sale. Each year, we receive approximately 1,500 to 2,000 donations of art from the public and from some artists directly. This art, which includes prints, paintings, drawings and more, is offered for sale at deeply discounted prices. To date, approximately $100,000 has been raised, thanks to the contributions of our donors and the hard work of the many volunteers who manage all aspects of the event. Click HERE for more information about AFTA.