MARAFIKI (Swahili for “friends”) is a group of women from the Greater Fort Erie, Ontario area. We have a strong mutual interest in the work being done by the Stephen Lewis Foundation, in particular, their support of African grandmothers who have stepped in to care for millions of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The Foundation also strongly supports social justice and mental health initiatives.
This great movement began in 2006 just before the World Aids Day Conference in Toronto when Canadian grandmothers and grandmothers from Africa came together to talk, laugh, sing, dance and cry. African Grandmothers came to ask for help…not for themselves as individuals, but for a nation in desperate need.
What came out of this historic meeting was a passionate commitment by Canadian grandmothers and grand others –
“We shall not rest until they rest.”
Grandmother groups have sprung up across Canada, the UK & Australia since that first meeting and contributions amounting to millions of dollars have been made to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Fundraisers from simple sewing projects to Scrabble games, from Dare to Dine dinner parties to evenings out at a local pub, from craft fairs to jewelry house parties and the Stride to Turn the Tide annual walk, held yearly in June, have all contributed to that substantial total.