Donations from the Coquitlam Gogos provide results in Africa

Couple dances at Rockin' for Africa Event on Saturday Nov. 9. By Cindy St-Laurent.

A couple dances at Rockin’ for Africa Event on Saturday Nov. 9. By Cindy St-Laurent.

Donating to foundations can seem risky, but with the Coquitlam Gogos donors can rest assured.

The Coquitlam Gogos are part of a bigger organization called the Greater Van Gogos, comprising groups across Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the Sunshine Coast. The volunteer organization donates money to grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa who are raising children orphaned by AIDS.

Greater Van Gogos was created by Barbara Clay in 2006, when she invited seven friends to join her in raising money for the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign which is part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

“The women are all older, mature, wiser, so we don’t spend time playing games. We just get the job done,” Clay said.

The money the Gogos raise is given to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Clay said they decided to donate to that foundation because its administration fees are less than 10 per cent, which is significantly smaller than at some other foundations.

“The Stephen Lewis Foundation has staff that are all young, energetic, bright and they work hard, so the administration costs are kept very low,” she said.

Clay has gone to Africa with the foundation and seen the money they raised at work. In 2008, she went with 12 other grandmothers to three of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa. During their trip they visited the women and their support groups.

African grandmothers have also come to Vancouver to raise awareness of the issue and thank those who have been supporting them.

Money was recently raised for the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign on Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Rockin’ for Africa event where over 90 people danced for the cause.

“I have nine grandchildren. I can’t imagine raising them on my own and these African grandmothers are doing exactly that because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic,” Clay said.

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