At our meeting members heard about the need for increased funding to sustain existing programs in Africa in the wake of ebola and other world crises.
At the same time we have been encouraged by the SLF to try to raise more money to fund initiatives that advocate for systemic change in African society.
Some Royal City Gogos responded enthusiastically to the request for more and set the bar high for our efforts but, in private, a member asked, "How much is enough?" It's a question we ask ourselves as we strive to find balance in our lives.
By what Stephen Lewis calls "the inexplicable lottery of fate" most Canadians have adequate means, leisure time, access to education and health care.
I believe If each one who is able, focussed on one need at home or abroad and gave it her all, the world be a much better place. Royal City Gogos have chosen their focus.... African grandmothers and their children. We can't respond to all the needs in the world, but we CAN do our best with this small piece.
How much is enough for the Grandmothers Campaign? Each of us will find our own answer to this question and it may alter from month to month depending on our family circumstances.
For now we continue doing the work we enjoy in the company of congenial women. "We will not rest until they can rest" is a promise we strive to honour.
The art exhibition is in its penultimate venue at Gibsons. To date it has been shown in 12 centres in BC and Alberta raising funds and awareness for African grandmothers. In each venue, the grandmothers groups hosting the show have invited their communities and created special events. Funds raised in the events surrounding the show have now reached +$30,000 and approximately 10,000 viewers have seen this moving exhibition.
The show will be in Gibsons for the month of February at the Gibsons Public Art Gallery and then it comes back to Vancouver. The Vancouver and Richmond grandmothers groups will host it at the Unitarian Church at 49th and Oak St. With an opening reception, craft sale and chocolate tasting, their events should draw a crowd.
Meanwhile committees of Royal City Gogos are hard at work planning the reception, the mechanics of the auction, and the publicity campaign. It's exciting but daunting. We want to maintain the high standard we have set for events, make sure our guests have FUN and make tons of money for African grandmothers. Tickets will go fast! It's a good thing we have online bidding. I've chosen 2-3 pieces I would love to have in my home. I HOPE the bidding doesn't go beyond my budget. Watch this space.
With the birth of a healthy grand daughter I reflect on the differences in the care provided to mother and child. In Canada, the health of the mother and child is monitored from the moment of conception and on through the first year. In Africa, this is not so. 50% of children born HIV positive will die before they are two years old. In countries where an HIV positive mother receives anti-retroviral drugs to prevent vertical transmission, babies may be born healthy but without continued medications for the mother, she will die leaving an orphan child behind. I believe every child deserves the best opportunities in life and this inequity breaks my heart and motivates me in our work to make a difference.
We give pennies away without much thought - take a penny, leave a penny on counters everywhere. What's it worth? Not much -- but when one penny gets together with another and another, great things can be accomplished. With just 4400 pennies a child can attend school for a year in Zambia. A million pennies can set up a maize-grinding mill that will support 20 grandmothers and their families AND pay the annual operating costs for an ambulance.
If you have pennies to donate, we'll come and get them. If you'd like to collect pennies for us, we'll give you a jar!
So it is with our work. One woman can't do much but if two join and another and another, we can change the world.
"It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no,
it starts when you say WE
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more."
Excerpt from The Low Road by Marge Piercy copyright 2006 Middlemarsh, Inc.