Invite to Media

MEDIA ADVISORY
African and Canadian Grandmothers to Unite in Symbolic
Solidarity Action on March 25 in Select Cities 
—  African grannies raising many of the 11.6 million AIDS orphans — 
Cape Town, March 19, 2009 – On March 25, hundreds of African and Canadian grandmothers will gather in different cities to perform a symbolic act of solidarity. They will do this to draw attention to the crucial role African grandmothers play in raising many of the 11.6 million children who have lost one or both of their parents to HIV/AIDS. They will also call attention to the need for increased funding for African grassroots organizations that provide critical support to grandmothers and their grandchildren.
In Africa, hundreds of grandmothers will gather in rural areas in Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia Zimbabwe and Swaziland. In Canada, grandmothers and their families, friends and grandchildren will gather in public spaces in the following cities: Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, Whitehorse, Hamilton, Orillia, Alliston and Halifax. 
In each location half of those in attendance will sit or lie down to represent the unprecedented suffering and loss caused by the AIDS pandemic for millions of African families and communities. After a short time, the rest of the group will begin to sing, dance and take the hands of those on the ground to pull them out of their individual suffering and offer them strength. The group will then form a circle while singing and dancing to show the power of communities to turn the tide of the AIDS pandemic. 
 
WHO: GAPA – Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS www.gapa.org.za
  
WHEN: 11h00
  
WHERE: GAPA centre, J415 Qabaka Cresent, Khayelitsha
Directions to GAPA
Take the N2 out of Cape Town towards Somerset West. After Mew Rd look for the next exit. This is exit No 29 (Spine Road). Take this exit off the highway.Turn right over the highway towards Khayelitsha. Proceed round the small circle to the first intersection. This is Lansdown Rd. Turn right and then 400 m along turn left at Lawulo Rd. The back of the GAPA centre will now be visible. Turn first left and then left again into Qabaka Cres to access the main gate of the GAPA centre.
  
WHY: This solidarity action was inspired by grandmothers across Africa who use song and dance to overcome their grief and build solidarity. Canadian grandmothers have raised more than $4 million for African grandmothers and the children in their care through the Stephen Lewis Foundation (www.stephenlewisfoundation.org). 
GAPA is funded by the Stephen Lewis Foundation in Canada. 
GAPA is a voluntary organization that implements programmes to support grandmothers affected by HIV/AIDS in urban and rural communities to continue with their lives and to cope better as providers of care and support for their infected children.
Programmes include:
support groups and cooperatives
educational workshops
Aftercare facilties
Pre-school bursary schemes
  
Note to Journalists: The solidarity action will begin at 11h00 a.m. sharp. Media should arrive early to set up for photos.
 
Media Contact:   Vivienne Budaza. Tel: 021 364 3138. nolulu@telkomsa.net
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