MANDELA DAY: Citadel gives us their 67 minutes

Happy Birthday Madiba! We were blessed with the presence of a group of employees from Citadel Wealth Management (www.citadel.co.za) who gave their 67 minutes to our grannies and kids on Mandela Day. They spent their time with us planting trees, working in our garden, painting our wall and doing beading with our grannies. They also spoiled our grannies with cake and our kids with packets of sweets&fruit. THANK YOU CITADEL – you added so much to us in such a short time and we are very grateful! May God bless you!

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GAPA Aftercare visits Kirstenbosch

On 26 and 27th June, our aftercare children had a lovely outing to Kirstenbosch thanks to Global Fund for Children! The kids had the opportunity to learn about nature, spend some quality time together and make memories. A group of volunteers from African Impact also joined us – and as always we greatly enjoyed having them with us!

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GAPA grannies team up with Wonga Winter Warmers Campaign

Our GAPA grannies had the privilege of knitting scarves and beanies for the Wonga Winter Warmers Campaign this past month. On Thursday, July 4th, we handed these scarves and beanies over to U-Turn (www.homeless.org.za) where they will be made available to homeless people. Thank you Wonga for including us in this campaign and allowing our grannies to spread the warmth this winter!

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May Workshop and Indaba

The month of May ended off with our customary four day workshop and indaba day. In spite of the bitter cold, grannies attended with smiles and much excitement! As always, the workshop was received with positive attitudes and grannies reported afterwards that they learnt useful information and are hopeful for the future.

Indaba day was spent with Ikamva Labantu – they kindly came to spend time with our GAPA grannies, doing health screenings with them, including blood pressure, height, weight and eye tests. Thank you Ikamva Labantu!

We are looking forward to our June 13th event: ‘From Hopelessness to Hope’! All are welcome to attend!

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GAPA gratitude to Bristol-Myers Squibb

As part of efforts to assist GAPA with strengthening its systems, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Denise and Eugenia spent 3 days at GAPA providing on-site training and introduction to financial, management and data tools.

GAPA grannies and staff with Eugenia and Denise

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GAPA celebrates 10 years!

(Photos by Eric Miller - permission needed for further publishing)

The day began with a buzz in the air. From the early hours of the morning grandmothers had started preparing for the celebration of the 10th year that their beloved organisation has been in existence. Grandmothers in the kitchen began preparing the feast, grannies at home began dressing in all the splendour of their traditional outfits and GAPA T-shirts.

Grandmothers walked from the corners of Khayelitsha to a meeting place on Spine Rd. City officials gathered around to make sure that the grandmothers received all the protection and respect they deserved. Placards were distributed reading messages such as “respect the grannies” , “God bless the grannies of Africa” “GAPA 10 years”. As if by design or the build-up of momentum the singing and marching began. Spectators gathered to observe grandmothers collectively making a statement in the streets of Khayelitsha.

Inside the GAPA centre the buzz grew and became louder as the marching grandmothers approached. The tent swelled with over 400 grandmothers, all burdened in varying degrees by HIV, poverty and social ills but today, as with so many days, they set their burdens aside and braced each other with hope, comfort and support. The celebratory spirit was facilitated by the Executive Director, Yolisa Vivienne Budaza.

The day continued with various supporters (Funders, volunteers, board members and community members) arriving to share in the solidarity. A Bonfire theatre celebration (http://www.bonfiretheatre.co.za/whoweare.htm) of the achievements of GAPA was facilitated. Tears welled as we saw drama pieces reflecting the GAPA stories of the audience.

Children of the GAPA aftercare entertained the audience with traditional dancing, all wearing GAPA shirts sponsored by the Global Fund for Children.

A keynote address was given by Prof Monica Ferreira who initiated the research back in 1999 that lead to the formation of GAPA. The message was clear: “Grandmothers don’t let anyone take away your hope and dignity”

The founder, Kathleen Brodrick, gave many thanks to various people within the organisation. Starting with the grandmothers and reminding them that GAPA belongs to them and that they should continue growing in their confidence of influencing the organisation. She continued to thank the management committee and the board members, ending with a thank you to the staff and in particular Althea Barry (Programme developer) and Yolisa Vivienne Budaza (Executive Director) for their dedication to the project. Vivienne has been a guiding light to the organisation, since 2007 GAPA has grown in leaps and bounds. Kathleen reminded the organisation that it was strong and that it was able to solve the various challenges it has had over the last 10 years. Vivienne, Kathleen, Althea and GAPA’s most senior grandmother ceremoniously cut a celebratory cake.

Tias Arms, a new funder to GAPA since 2010, handed over a gift of a new overlocker sewing machine to the grandmothers.

Gillian Warren-Brown and a group of grandmothers entertained the audience with Nia dance. Gillian facilitates Nia with the grandmothers every Tuesday at the GAPA health club.

Vivienne and Althea (on behalf of GAPA) proudly received a PEPFAR plaque from Cheryl representing the new funding received from the US Consulate community grants office.

The afternoon continued with many interactions, a delicious lunch and a gallery tour of the handicraft products created and produce grown by each GAPA group.

A lively atmosphere continued as the grandmothers took to the dance floor, really displaying “collective occupation” – a term shared by a GAPA board member, Frank Kronenberg.

Supporters were thanked with lovely gift bags, each receiving a GAPA shirt. Grandmothers were honoured with Gogo goodie bags sponsored by various people such as the Lions Club of Kirstenbosch and students/staff from ODU, AU and Cedar House.

The day ended with many happy thoughts and memories, but above all with the reminder that grandmothers continue to hold the torch as we march through the challenges facing our communities in South Africa.

We wish to thank the following people who joined us as guests:

Beryl Mohr from Bristol-Myers Squibb

Frank Kronenberg, Elewani Ramagondo and Isha who are board members/mentors

Prof Monica Ferreira

Prof Goerge Petros

Wilma Martin – friend of GAPA and volunteer in the kitchen for the celebration

Joanne Baker. Kim Carpenter and the Tias Arms group

Eric Miller – photojournalist

Gillian Warren-Brown

Ann Barr – Lions Club of Kirstenbosch

Cheryl Coetzer – Pathcare

Cheryl – Community Grants Office US Consulate

Bettina – past volunteer GAPA

And a big thank you to all our supporters who were with us in spirit!

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GAPA has a new postal address

Please be advised that for future correspondence, our address is

P.O.Box 517,Howard Place,7450, South Africa.

Thank you for cooperation.

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Grandmother (Gogo) goodie bags for GAPA 10 year celebration

Dear friends and family

GAPA (Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids) will be celebrating its 10th year. This is a very big accomplishment for a grandmother driven project in South Africa. In our 10 years we have grown from strength to strength as seen in the emergence of the expansion of the various programmes we offer/host for and with the grandmothers.

We will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary on the 20 and 21 October 2011 at the GAPA centre in Khayelitsha.

I addition to extending and invitation to you to attend on the 21 October we would also like to request that if you have any access to items we can place in the goodie bags for the grandmothers that you kindly forward these to me or directly to the GAPA centre. We want to take this opportunity to really spoil the grandmothers and acknowledge the incredible work they do within their families and communities.

Some guidelines: We need about 500 bags filled.

So far we have 300 lovely messages written for the grandmothers by a church and students in the USA. We need another 200.

Grandmothers will immensely appreciate anything that has practical value (plus a little pampering):

example:

toiletries such as tooth brushes, face clothes, soap.

Small food items

Packets of vegetable seeds

Wool, crochet needles

Any creative ideas you might have

If you’re interested or know of corporate sponsors please let me know

Also if you are interested in attending the celebration on the 21 October rsvp to me or info@gapa.org.za

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