News Articles

Here is a selection of news articles about the Stephen Lewis Foundation and the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

To browse older articles, click on a month from the list on the right.

Click here to browse selected speeches by Stephen Lewis.

Slaight Family Foundation announces $7M in donations to seven Canadian NGOs

Donations will advance Canadian humanitarian efforts globally over the next four years

February 19, 2015

Media Profile, Canada NewsWire

The Slaight Family Foundation today announced that it will donate $7 million to support seven Canadian non-governmental organizations. The donation will be split equally among all seven groups, which include Stephen Lewis Foundation, War Child, Free The Children, Right To Play, Human Rights Watch, Partners In Health Canada, and World Vision.
The donations aim to support Canada's efforts in global humanitarianism. The work of these NGOs will be supported over the next four years as they aim to create change in seven unique ways across the globe.
"The work these seven NGOs are doing is critically important. When we were selecting different organizations to partner with, it really came down to the versatility of these projects and the need for change in these regions," said Gary Slaight, President and CEO of Slaight Family Foundation. "We hope these gifts will benefit many people for years to come, and that we inspire others to support humanitarianism efforts on a global scale."
The gifts were announced today at an event hosted by the Slaight Family Foundation. Leaders in Canadian humanitarianism and business leaders were also present.  Chief executive officers from all seven NGOs spoke about the importance of these gifts and the projects they will support.
"The work that we do as humanitarians is only made possible by the generosity of others. The generosity we've seen from the Slaight Family Foundation is an inspiring example of those who want to make a difference in the world," said Dave Toycen, President and CEO of World Vision. "At the end of the day, our dream is to change the lives of women, men and children around the world, and these donations help make that dream a reality."
The donations announced today will fund seven special projects in different regions throughout the globe. Each project will touch a different group of equally important recipients, including women and children in Thailand, grandmothers and orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, and victims of war and human rights violations in Cambodia and beyond.
The Slaight Family Foundation Gifts, in detail:
Stephen Lewis Foundation
Support to grandmothers raising children orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa
The Stephen Lewis Foundation will continue to work with grassroots organizations to improve the livelihood and security of grandmothers raising children orphaned by AIDS. Support will be provided through food security, income-generation opportunities, and housing for grandmothers and orphans in their care, as well as national convenings of grandmother groups in Uganda, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania.
War Child
Justice support to abused mothers and children in war torn countries
Support for mothers and children that have experienced abandonment and violence inflicted by war is critical. War Child aims to expand current justice programs to additional war torn countries where the need it evident. These programs rebuild legal structures, provide access to free legal counsel and ensure authorities understand the meaning of rights.
Free The Children
Agriculture and food security in Kenya
This project focuses on community based support for 2,000 farmers in 20 Kenyan communities through training and resource availability. Agricultural education will be offered through school based support, which will focus on training and support work on farms, agricultural clubs, and construction of school based green houses for school and home consumption.
Right To Play
Child centered learning in Thailand
To help with the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of children in Thailand, Right To Play will focus on improving life skills through sport and play based learning activities. The donation will improve access to teachers and volunteers and increase the capacity to incorporate play into school activities.
Human Rights Watch
Access to clean water and sanitation in Thailand
Developing expertise on rights to clean water and sanitation is the focus of this project. Increasing women's rights and developing sophisticated methodologies for documenting economic, social and culture rights will assist in gaining access to clean water and sanitation.
Partners In Health Canada
First residencies in emergency medicine in Haiti
Over the next five years, Partners In Health will train 18 residents in emergency medical care to help assist with trauma, triage and disaster relief in Haiti. Processes will also be set up to ensure a transfer of skills to other medical professionals in the area.
World Vision
Protecting human rights in Cambodia
World Vision will work to prevent human rights violations in Cambodia through education and assistance. Work will focus on advocating new policy initiatives to government, raising the profile of human rights issues within Cambodia, and helping victims of human rights injustice transition back into the community.
SOURCE Slaight Family Foundation
 For further information: For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact: Jeri Brown / Sarah Pattillo, Media Profile, /, 416-520-9381 / 647-468-4911

Porter: African women caring for their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren need our help

AIDS grandmothers from Africa came to Canada last fall to talk about their plight, and changes that need to be made in their home countries.

November 24, 2014

Catherine Porter, The Toronto Star

Immaculate Nakyanzi is an AIDS grandmother from rural Uganda. In her simple brick house, she cares for four of her grandchildren, sons and daughters of her own children who died from the disease.

African grandmothers filling in for a lost generation

November 20, 2014

Claude Adams, 16x9, Global Television

Visit for the full story and video clips and interviews about African grandmothers and the African Grandmothers Tribunal.

Press Release: Report of the African Grandmothers Tribunal released for World AIDS Day

African Grandmothers Tribunal: Seeking Justice at the Frontlines of the AIDS Crisis

November 29, 2013


(November 29, 2013; Toronto, Canada) The Stephen Lewis Foundation releases a groundbreaking report today, just days before World AIDS Day, on the next steps needed to turn the tide of AIDS in Africa – a manifesto for the rights of grandmothers who have become the guardians of sub-Saharan Africa’s future.

“It’s time to recognize that African grandmothers at the forefront of the HIV and AIDS crisis must have our human rights respected and protected,” states the report from the People’s Tribunal held earlier this year in Vancouver.

The African Grandmothers Tribunal included eminent activists Gloria Steinem, Joy Phumaphi, Stephen Lewis, David Suzuki, Theo Sowa and Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. They heard African grandmothers demand better protection of human rights for themselves and their communities. The report recognizes that Africa’s recovery from the ravages of the AIDS pandemic depends on these grandmothers, and the time has come to recognize, respect and support their efforts to create better lives for the next generation.

The story of the African grandmothers is one of the most important stories of the HIV and AIDS crisis in Africa – but, until now, the denial of these valiant women's human rights has been hidden from view. To mark World AIDS Day and the 10th anniversary of the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF), the Foundation is issuing the Report of the African Grandmothers Tribunal.

The United Nations estimates that there are 16 million children orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. A great many of them are being cared for by grandmothers—not always their own. The Tribunal provided a public forum for the grandmothers and their organizations to testify about the human rights violations they face on a daily basis: violence, property theft, wife inheritance, extreme poverty, income and food insecurity.

“It’s time to support our organizations fully, and put systems in place to address our needs and the needs of the children in our care,” grandmothers told the Tribunal and hundreds of AIDS activists who gathered in Vancouver in early September. “It’s time to recognize our contribution to the survival of our communities, and the expertise we have developed to do so, by giving us our rightful place and voice wherever decisions are being made. We will not let the AIDS pandemic defeat us, nor destroy our communities, but we cannot prevail alone.”

In this report, the members of the Tribunal call on governments in sub-Saharan Africa, the international community and donors to protect grandmothers, promote and enforce their human rights, and empower them to take a leading role in the development of policies and programmes to turn the tide of AIDS in Africa.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation has responded to the report by committing to redoubling efforts to support grandmothers’ role in fighting the AIDS pandemic in Africa.

“You have given us a clear agenda for support – whether it’s a global fund for cash transfers, the need for national level advocacy, the continuing urgency for land rights and housing, access to healthcare, universal and accessible education, food security, and laws protecting grandmothers from violence and the means to enforce them,” said the Foundation’s Executive Director, Ilana Landsberg-Lewis. “We commit to redoubling our efforts and to bend every fibre of our collective beings to break the inertia, the silence, and the dam of neglect and negligence that prevents the flood of resources from flowing. We will be accountable to you, and heed you, as must the world.”

Comment: Grandmothers help Africans turn the tide of AIDS

September 18, 2013

Judy Curran, Times Colonist

 The Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign supports African grandmothers to identify what they need to care for and nurture their grandchildren and other vulnerable children in their care.

These are children whose parents have died from HIV and AIDS. Today, more than 15 million children in sub-Saharan Africa have been orphaned by the pandemic. In community after community, local projects have been developed at the grassroots level by the people living there.

On Sept. 7, the Stephen Lewis Foundation hosted the first African Grandmothers Tribunal, at the Chan Centre in Vancouver. The tribunal brought six representative African grandmothers and two expert witnesses from the African projects. More than 1,100 people and four tribunal judges (Gloria Steinem, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Joy Phumaphi and Theo Sowa) listened to their stories.

I had the privilege of attending this powerful gathering in Vancouver. As the African grandmothers spoke, the painful expressions on their faces were agonizing for me to see as they recounted the deaths of multiple family members from HIV/AIDS. I reeled from their examples of the violence they experienced resulting from the poverty and isolation associated with the disease. Their expressions of hopelessness and despair left me deeply moved.

Their demeanour changed as they described the hope that is generated through the foundation’s funding of projects, supporting them to secure better futures for their communities. Through their involvement, they are able to put their grandchildren through school, support them through the loss of their parents, and teach them about HIV prevention and treatment.

They are caring for people who are sick, setting up support groups, harvesting crops and creating income-generating programs. The grandmothers are advocates for their families, and are emerging as experts and leaders, increasingly acknowledged by governments and international non-governmental organizations. They are empowering themselves and regaining meaningful purpose in their lives through increasing their control over a terrifying situation.

One particularly poignant and meaningful moment for me occurred when an African grandmother told us that as she grew stronger and regained her sense of purpose in life through the opportunities the foundation-funded project afforded her, the less she thought about needing to commit suicide. Her feelings of control turned her heart and emotions to courage and she began to be able to stand up for her basic human rights and fight against the entrenched systems keeping her oppressed.

The tribunal amplified the voices of the African grandmothers concerning the discriminating triple threat they face at the frontlines of the AIDS pandemic, based on their sex, age and HIV status.

The tribunal sent a clarion call to all peoples and nations to promote, protect and respect the grandmothers’ rights to property, bodily integrity, income security, freedom from violence and quality health care. The judges spoke to the need for change through improved laws, policies, funding priorities, consultation, positive cultural practices and greater access to justice.

This is precious little in the face of Africa’s reality. The world needs to awaken itself to the reality that Stephen Lewis Foundation funding is but a drop in the bucket to address the devastating effects of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. Additional money is needed at every level to support the community-based model whereby the African grandmothers identify their issues and develop and implement strategies to address those issues.

I am proud to be one of thousands of Canadian grandmothers who support and stand in solidarity with the incredible grandmothers of Africa. The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign I am a part of is active right across the country. We raise awareness and we raise funds, and today there are more than 240 Canadian grandmother groups.

The truth is that whether we live in Victoria or Toronto or St. John’s or Winnipeg, the tribunal showed us that we all can have a role to play in supporting African grandmothers.

Judy Curran is co-ordinator of Victoria Grandmothers for Africa.


Slaight Family Foundation announces $7M in donations to seven Canadian NGOs February 19, 2015

Media Profile, Canada NewsWire

Porter: African women caring for their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren need our help November 24, 2014

Catherine Porter, The Toronto Star

Upcoming Events

You Gotta Sing Choral Ensemble June 21, 2015

Tantallon, Nova Scotia

Kelowna Grandmothers Run/Walk 2015 June 6, 2015

Kelowna, British Columbia