Coquitlam Gogos get crafty for a cause

Members of Coquitlam Gogos have been making crafts to sell at a craft fair in Vancouver this weekend to raise money for support for African grandmothers caring for family members with AIDS.

The event, Pressing Times in Africa: Grandmothers Take Action, takes place Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Vancity Theatre in the Vancouver International Film Centre, 1181 Seymour St., Vancouver.

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The event will feature a marketplace with handmade crafts produced by Coquitlam Gogos and other Metro Vancouver grandmothers and fair trade African co-operatives. Entry to the marketplace is free and proceeds raised from craft sales will go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation's Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign.

A screening of the film Life, Above All and a panel discussion on the unique ways in which the HIV/AIDS pandemic affects communities begins at 1 p.m. Panel members include Vancouver playwright Dennis Foon, who wrote the screenplay based on the book Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton, and Zahra Mohamed, Grandmothers Campaign co-ordinator. Special guests include: Mbulelo Wiseman Duma, S'thembile Clarice Ndlovu and Thembisile Eunice Zondi from dlalanathi, a South African project supported by the Grandmothers Campaign.

Millions of children have been orphaned in sub-Saharan Africa by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, according to a Gogos press release. Their grandmothers, having buried their own children, have stepped in to parent again with few resources.

The Grandmothers Campaign, a Canadian initiative, has responded by raising more than $12 million in five years which the Stephen Lewis Foundation directs to community-level organizations that provide necessities such as food, educational supplies, uniforms and school fees, home-based care, HIV counselling and testing, adequate housing and micro-credit loans.

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