Despite COVID, Glacier Grannies not stopping

On June 1, a team of 14 joined the Stephen Lewis Virtual Stride to Turn the Tide

  • Aug. 20, 2020 6:00 a.m.

On June 1, a team of 14 joined the Stephen Lewis Virtual Stride to Turn the Tide. Photo submitted

Canadian grandmothers have pledged not to rest until their African sisters can rest.

This year, despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Glacier Grannies are not resting, but seeking alternative ways to raise money for the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The campaign supports grandmothers raising their grandchildren, orphaned in the HIV & AIDS pandemic.

On June 1, a team of 14 joined the Stephen Lewis Virtual Stride to Turn the Tide, and set out on an 8,050km virtual trek across sub-Saharan Africa, starting in Addis Ababa, and “visiting” community-based organizations partnered with the foundation along the way.

Team leader Ardith Chambers logged daily tallies; activities included walking, cycling, swimming, kayaking and even gardening. Tired but triumphant, we reached Cape Town on Aug. 9, and through generous pledges, we raised over $8,500 for the foundation. A heartfelt thank you to all who made a pledge.

Check out the map of the journey on our website,, and read about the organizations that we “visited” at

Building on the success, a group of seven Glacier Grannies and two Merville Grand Mothers has joined the Victoria Grandmothers for Africa’s 14th annual Cycle Tour, taking place between Aug. 17 and Sept. 13.

Almost 70 women from across Vancouver Island, aged between 62 and 86, will take part. Unable to ride as a group from Campbell River to Victoria as usual, they will be logging their kilometers as they ride independently, on conventional bicycles, e-bikes, and even stationary bikes at home.

Their ambitious goal is to cover, between them, 18,107 km, a virtual route that will link 15 countries and most of the foundation’s 325 community-based organizations. Our riders have joined Team 6, and will ride from Mbabane, Eswatini to Cape Town, South Africa, a distance of about 3,000 km.

Weekly pieces with stories from Foundation-supported initiatives will be posted on the Victoria Grandmothers for Africa website and their Facebook page.

The Glacier Grannies are selling colourful masks in a variety of styles and sizes, including children’s sizes. For information on choosing and purchasing a mask, contact us through our website.

To learn more visit

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