African grandmothers share stories at Vancouver tribunal
African grandmothers travelled to Vancouver for the African Grandmothers Tribunal at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on Saturday.
The six women from Sub-Saharan Africa gathered at UBC and shared stories of how AIDS has affected their communities. Grandmothers representing 240 groups across Canada sat in the audience, united by the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.
Thulisile Dladla came from Swaziland to share her difficult life experiences.
“I’m a widow. And my husband died [in] 2007 and three of my children, girls, died of HIV,” she told CTV News. “Who takes care [of] me? Nobody.”
Since the campaign launched in 2006, Canadian women have raised $17 million to assist millions of orphans, their elderly caregivers and grassroots community organizations.
Ilana Landsberg-Lewis, executive director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, said women have come together in support of each other.
“In Canada there is a solidarity movement that supports hundreds of thousands of grandmothers and the children who have been orphaned by AIDS in their care,” she said.
The tribunal’s guest panel included world-renowned feminist Gloria Steinem along with Joy Phumaphi, Theo Sowa, and Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.
Next, the tribunal will make recommendations based on the women’s testimonies about pressing human rights issues.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Peter Grainger.