Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids (GAPA) celebrated their achievements duringthe Women’s Indaba held at GAPA offices, on Friday February 26.
The seniors celebrated their growth and reduction in inequalities among themselves, while opening up opportunities and support for the poor and the vulnerable.
The Women’s Indaba is considered to be a showcase of different skills and small business acumen. It is designed for women to discuss health and wellness issues, violence and other challenges that face seniors.
Women said they were impressed with the progress they have made in a short space of time. Women focused on eliminating poverty in their respective places by either planting gardens, sewing, taking part in a gooi-gooi (money saving initiative) or preventing all forms of violence against seniors.
“This is what GAPA was formed to do. We want to see the seniors busy, doing something for themselves. We are impressed with the progress they are making as teams or groups.
“We have seen them slowly growing and doing all they can. This is beautiful,” said GAPA director Vivienne Budaza.
She said in previous indabas, violence against seniors and poverty featured prominently, but not anymore.
“We had gogos complaining about the treatment they get from their grandchildren.
“There were cries about poverty and helplessness. That seemed to be in the past now. All we hear is people doing good, ploughing, sewing, clubing to do some small incomes and having some prayers together,” she said.
Ms Budaza said the programme was a place to discuss issues, but at the same time a place to rejuvenate and draw strength from others – something that does not happen in their homes.
Members of old age groups praised the women for the initiatives.
Imvisiswano’s Daisy Mapheele commended the women for staying together in their clubs. She said the unity they showed benefitted the groups.
“We had gogos coming to the indaba crying, they are now all smiling. The unity they possessed made them heroines.
“Women can now provide for their families. I know a story of a certain woman who was ill-treated by her own child. Today that child is a churchgoer all because of the praying together,” she said.
Ms Mapheele encouraged them to stick together. She appealed to the seniors not to spend their money on unnecessary things.
“The seniors are now making money and it could wise for them to save and spend it wisely. This is what we always encourage them to do,” she said.
Margaret Dlulane from Philasande’s thanked Gapa for keeping seniors together. She said had it not for the Gapa, most seniors would have been isolated.
She said the groups that they formed are helpful for all. “We ended the year in a big note. We were able to put smiles on our families’ faces. This is something that we were not doing in some years. It was by God’s grace that we met this organisation. We are very grateful to be members of Gapa,” she said.