Most people know there is AIDS in Africa but few people comprehend the scope of the pandemic. In the past 30 years, 30 million people have died and 17 million children have been orphaned. Grandmothers have buried their own beloved children and are parenting again, with few resources. Vancouver’s Tikun Olam Gogos, together with other supporters of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, are hosting two pledge events for African grandmothers caring for children orphaned by AIDS.
The first pledge event is For the Love of Grandmothers Fitness Challenge. Here’s how it works: you design a fitness challenge for yourself. The event period began March 8, International Women’s Day, and you must complete your self-challenge by Sept. 8, Grandparents’ Day. Choose something you enjoy and do it harder, faster or more often. Your commitment will help you reach your fitness goals.
You can do it once in a big event or work on it day by day. Then, dedicate your challenge to a grandmother you love. Examples of fitness challenges include the Sun Run, Tough Mudder, spinning 100 kilometres in a day or a month, walking or running three times a week for six months, etc. Whatever you imagine, you can do as part of this challenge – register at fortheloveofgrandmothers.weebly.com.
The second fitness challenge, back for the third year, is Solidarity Cycle, on Sept. 8. This ride is open to people of all ages. It has three track options: the Classic is a 100-kilometre cycle from White Rock to Yarrow. The Easy 50 kilometres goes from the lunch stop in Aldergrove over mostly flat, rural roads to Yarrow, and the 100-kilometre loop starts and ends in Yarrow. Stops along the way are hosted by cheering grandmothers offering refreshments and moral support. There is a celebration at the end of the ride with chili and a corn roast in Yarrow for all participants. Registration for Solidarity Cycle opens on May 1, with training and team-building rides offered throughout the summer. For more information, see solidaritycycle.weebly.com.
For both events, participants set up a secure fundraising page and ask their friends and families for contributions. Funds raised will support vital services and programs, from grief counseling to training for income-generation to support for school fees and uniforms