Some “Gogos” (grandmothers) look after up to ten children at a time.
Myeni, who has spent 30 years as a nurse in her community, realised that it was not just children who needed to stay healthy, but also the grandmothers who were feeding, clothing and protecting the village children who needed to be supported as well. When she too was of retirement age, she joined the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust and made house calls to people who needed help and support within the community.
Inspired by what she encountered on these visits, she started a “Gogo Support Group”.
“I believe that people from the community should help with the development of their own communities” she says in this video made for Beautiful News.
The group has now grown to over 2 000 members. For many, the support group has helped them cope with the draining financial resources and physical energy it takes to care for young children.
“The AIDS epidemic has changed lives in South Africa; it is the grannies who are taking care of the grandchildren. So I started a project of support groups. That’s when I realised that I needed to introduce something that would keep them fit.”
Myeni then came up with the idea of “Gogo Olympics”. The day brings all the caring grandmothers together for a day of unity, physical activity and most importantly support.