Connections – Our Story, Greater Van Gogos from 2006 to 2021
Greater Van Gogos began in March 2006 just after Stephen Lewis issued his call to Canadian grandmothers to support African grandmothers and their grandchildren who had been orphaned by AIDS. Eight women registered the group, Greater Van Gogos, with the new Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, launched by the Stephen Lewis Foundation on the eve of International Women’s Day
We started holding luncheons and wine parties to raise money and to spread our enthusiasm about the new initiative. In August, we sent three delegates to the Grandmothers Gathering in Toronto, and after that, we grew so quickly that we divided into four groups in different municipalities. Before year end there were six and coordinators of those groups decided that Greater Van Gogos would become a regional umbrella for autonomous grandmothers and “grandothers” groups throughout Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the Sunshine Coast.
Flash mob 2016Today, we have more than 20 groups registered with the Grandmothers Campaign. We’ve held 20 regional gatherings to which all members are invited, welcomed African visitors more than 10 times, had 10 delegates who travelled to Africa with the SLF at different times, received two New Horizons for Seniors grants, won the Rosemary Brown award for women, participated in two flash mobs and held countless meetings, fundraising events, training sessions, speaking engagements and interviews. We are proud to remain a 100 percent volunteer organization whose groups complement each other and work together when we can. Many close friendships have been formed over the past 15 years.
We appreciate the times the SLF has brought together grandmothers from Africa and from Canada to expand our knowledge of the frontline work there and to increase our solidarity with Canadian and with African grandmothers. We join groups across the country in celebrating 15 years with the Grandmothers Campaign through “Together in Concert – In Solidarity with African Grandmothers” (listed below in our Upcoming events). This 90-min online concert is hosted by Canadian Grandmothers and you can register and donate on their website.