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IRC Blog

IRC Blog
Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
By: IRC Blog

South African Grannies ‘Never Give Up’

blog-granny1.jpgMembers of the South African activist group, Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS (GAPA), visited Ingleside at Rock Creek on Sept. 24 to share their remarkable stories of overcoming adversity. 


The Grandmothers have all lost children to AIDS and some care for their orphaned grandchildren or nurse sick children who had AIDS. They teach monthly workshops for new grandmothers on topics like nursing and parenting skills. They also provide afterschool care such as meals, homework support and recreational activities for hundreds of local children.


“At a time when they had hoped to retire and be cared for by their families, these grandmothers are caring for their own ill children dying of AIDS while preparing to become parents to their orphaned grandchildren,” said Ann Schiff, Ingleside at Rock Creek’s executive director.


Vivienne Budaza, GAPA’s executive director, told Ingleside residents the organization helps women confront and deal with the tragic loss of their loved ones.


“Death is something we shy away from. No one really wants to talk about death,” said Budaza. “But death was on their doorsteps.”


blog-granny2.jpgThe Grandmothers were in Washington to promote “The Nevergiveups,” a book and photo exhibit at American University about the dire circumstances that brought them together when they thought they had nothing left.


Thelma Nkone, one of 17 Grandmothers featured in the exhibit, urged residents at Ingleside to support GAPA: “I would like some Grannies outside to join GAPA. We are looking after the young ones, sons, grandchildren that are sick. More people will join GAPA when they see what we do.”


More information about GAPA is at

Ingleside at Rock Creek: Engaged Living




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