Grandmother groups hoping to raise half a million through online concert

April 15 fundraising event will contribute to ongoing campaign to assist grandmothers in Africa battling dual pandemics of COVID and HIV/AIDS

Diana Dixon, left, and Bea Fisher show off some of the produce bags and reusable food wrap they stitched together to sell at a fundraiser this fall. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Grandmother groups across Canada are taking on an ambitious project to raise half a million dollars for grandmothers in Africa dealing with the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS.

In a press release issued Tuesday, it was announced that Grandmothers 4 Grandmothers chapters in Prince Albert and Saskatoon will be among groups from across Canada participating in a virtual concert on April 15 in an attempt to meet their goal.

A member of the local chapter encouraged residents to tune in and make a donation during the event.

The funds will be raised through a virtual concert on April 15 showcasing Canadian talent including the National Ballet School, Bridge Brass Quintet, David Myles, Feels Like Home and Saskatoon’s Kids of Note & the Notations.

“We grandmothers walk in solidarity with African grandmothers who have far fewer resources than we do in raising the next generation, and the need is greater than ever,” said Mary MacFarlane-Sefton, chair of the 100-member Grandmothers 4 Grandmothers Saskatoon group and a member of the concert planning committee. “We are grateful for all grandmothers and others who support our work, and we think they’re in for a treat with this event.”

The event will feature 90 minutes of music, dance, storytelling and drumming and will also feature Steven Page, Jackie Richardson, Kym Grouchie, Sheree Fitch and other writers and artists, as well as stories from Canadian grandmothers who have visited sub-Saharan Africa.

The concert is being held to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The campaign was launched in 2006 in response to the emerging crisis faced by African grandmothers as they struggled to raise millions of children orphaned y HIV and AIDS.

Since then, grandmothers across Canada have rallied and raised more than $36 million to support grandmothers and community-based organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Locally, the grandmother group has put on events in the past such as the Arioso concert and teas, as well as cookie sales, to raise money for the cause.

Donations by the campaign have helped provide resilience-building support including health care, grief counselling, parenting assistance, leadership training and income generation. Grandmothers have developed networks and organized to claim their human rights and collectively advocate for secure futures. All work is undertaken through partnerships and relationship-building with community-based organizations, as the Stephen Lewis Foundation believes the expertise to turn the tide of HIV and AIDS is found at the community level.

All the artists participating are donating their talent to the cause. The event, called Together in Concert, In Solidarity with African Grandmothers, is being hosted by 160 grandmother groups across Canada. All proceeds will go to the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign. 

To register or contribute, visit, call 1-888-203-9990 and leave a voice message with your call back phone number, or mail a cheque payable to the Stephen Lewis Foundation with a note in the memo line saying ‘for concert.” Cheques can be mailed to Stephen Lewis Foundation, 260 Spadina Avenue, Suite 100, Toronto, ON M5T 2E4