These women are holding together the continent

Our Story

 
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Our Story

How did Margie and Terry get involved with a project to help Gertrude Chirambo, the grandmothers, and ultimately the local community in the far-distant city of Blantyre, Malawi. Where, in fact, is Malawi, one of the smallest and poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa?

Photos: 1—Councillor Gertrude Chirambo, Deputy Mayor Joseph Makwinja, Marjorie Bride, and Terry McEnany at the dedication of the replacement pedestrian bridge. 2—Councillor Gertrude Chirambo and Terry McEnany at The Philanthropy Initiative at The Boston Foundation, October 2017. 3—The Governing Committee of the Grandmothers Center with Margie Bride.

Don’t forget us grandmothers... we have nothing to do

Schoolgirls singing “If you want a good education, open up the bridge for us.”

Who could ignore this clarion call to action, delivered to Margie and Terry at the dedication of the footbridge they supported building at the Blantyre Girls School in 20i6-17?

In sub-Saharan Africa, in countries riddled with poverty, poor education and HIV/AIDS, grandmothers are joining in groups across the continent to take care of orphaned children, share their knowledge and culture, start small businesses, and provide stability to their communities while becoming empowered themselves.

As grandparents ourselves, we thought, “We can help this grandmother thing, right here in Blantyre. We have already helped build a footbridge to connect the community; why not a Grandmothers’ Center?”

It all began in May of 2016, when Margie participated in a course entitled WOMEN AND POWER at the Harvard Kennedy School. There she met Blantyre City Councilor, Gertrude Chirambo.

Over the next several years, Margie and Terry visited the fascinating and little-known Malawi, “The Warm Heart of Africa,” and fell in love with the country and its people, and recognized its overwhelming needs.

Today, Chemba’lira Hall is built, and the grandmothers have joined together to support babies, youth and their whole community; but many needs remain, like equipment for the building, security coverage, program support and more.

The GranCommunity exists; now we are passionate about starting our American campaign to furnish and operate the center.

We believe that an active and thriving GranCommunity will broadly improve the quality of life for both these impressive grannies, and more specifically, raise the level of education, and ultimately their future success for Blantyre’s youth.

In the short term, we do not need a great deal, but we do need enough: enough to safeguard the health of our grandchildren and of ourselves, enough to put food in their mouths, roofs over their heads, and clothes on their backs, enough to place them in school and keep them there long enough to secure their futures... We grandmothers deserve hope. Our children, like all children, deserve a future. We will not raise children for the grave.
— Gianturco, Paola. "Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon". Brooklyn, NY: powerHouse Books.