African Grandmothers Tribunal: Seeking justice at the frontlines of the AIDS crisis

Publish date: Friday, November 28, 2014

Board of Directors

MNU President

Sandi Mowat

The MNU Board of Directors met in Winnipeg this week for the final meeting of the 2014 calendar year.

In addition to the regularly scheduled agenda items, the board had a special video presentation of African Grandmothers Tribunal: Seeking justice at the frontlines of the AIDS crisis. This educational documentary shines light on the urgent need to provide better protection for the human rights of African Grandmothers, who are working hard to secure better futures for their communities.

The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign (G2G) was launched by the Stephen Lewis Foundation in March of 2006 in response to the emerging crisis faced by grandmothers in Africa. Grands ’n’ More Winnipeg, part of the G2G Campaign, was established the following year. In 2010, Shelley Coombes, a MNU member involved in the Grands ‘n’ More Winnipeg initiative, travelled to Manzini, Swaziland with 42 other Canadian grandmothers and over 500 African  grandmothers to participate in a march of solidarity against the hardships endured by grandmothers left caring for children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic.

The African grandmothers have had to step in to care for orphaned grandchildren, supporting them through the loss of their parents to AIDS and teaching them about HIV prevention and treatment. They tend to the sick, provide community support groups, harvest the crops and create income-generating programmes. They are advocates for their families and emerging as experts and leaders internationally.

Over the past several years, the Manitoba Nurses Union has been a proud supporter of the Grands ‘n’ More Winnipeg initiative and all of our members who are in involved in this important cause.

“Manitoba nurses are committed to caring and often go above and beyond the call of duty,” said MNU president Sandi Mowat. “It’s inspiring to see the great work being done by our members involved in the Grands ‘n’ More project, and others like it within the province and abroad. We are proud to support our members in these positive initiatives.”

On September 7th, 2013 the Stephen Lewis Foundation hosted a People’s tribunal in Vancouver. Six grandmothers from Swaziland, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa shared personal testimonies to shine a public light on the denial of African grandmothers’ human rights, and a call to action.

The African Grandmothers Tribunal documentary tells the stories of three grandmothers who journey from their homes to testify at the People’s Tribunal.

The Board of Directors would like to thank Deb Radi, who is involved in the Grands ‘n’ More Winnipeg initiative, and presented the documentary to the board and provided further insight.

"Sharing the Tribunal Film with the Manitoba Nurses Union provided the opportunity for participants to more deeply understand the human rights work of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, who work at the grassroots level with the grandmothers and the children in their care," said Deb Radi. "Nurses understand intimately how to work along side others to move social justice issues forward. It was priviledge for me to be part of this, and to share the film with such a caring audience."

For those who would like to learn more about the film and the project, you can read more at:

African Grandmothers Tribunal or Grands 'n' More Winnipeg


MNU president Sandi Mowat and Deb Radi from Grands 'n' More Winnipeg


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