On World AIDS Day, 1 December 2007 from USA to the Kingdom of Lesotho

with Love:
Grandparent Caregivers in USA Auction Handmade Quilts to benefit
Grandparent Caregivers
In the Kingdom of Lesotho, in Southern Africa

Donate to AFI! 

** All Donations Until December 31, 2007  **

** Go to Lesotho Grandmothers Project (See Events) **

November 28, 2007

Contact: JW Arnold or Dr. Ariel King PRDC & Ariel Foundation International

Press information Email:

International Square Center 1875 Eye St., NW Suit 500 Washington, DC 20006 RSVP: Embassy of the Kingdom of Lesotho, 202-797-5533

The Embassy of the Kingdom of Lesotho, Ambassador Molelekeng Rapolaki, Winston-Salem State University, and the Ariel Foundation International, Dr. Ariel R. King will be hosting a hand-made quilt auction made by USA grandparent caregivers to help with micro-loans to the Lesotho grandparent caregivers on World AIDS Day. The event will be held on Saturday, 1 December at Africare’s Africa House (440 R Street, NW Washington, DC) from 5:30 to 8:30pm. The event will include presentations by H.E. Ambassador Rapolaki, of the Lesotho Embassy, President of Africare, Dr. Julius Coles, Chair of the Ariel Foundation International, Ambassador Joseph Huggins, and the founder of the National Grandparents Association, Ms. Shirley Smith. The evening will include presentation on the Kingdom of Lesotho, Music from Lesotho, an Auction of the hand-made quilts and a reception honoring the Grandparents and caregivers.

Through the Embassy of the Kingdom of Lesotho, Winston-Salem State Unviersity, The Ariel Foundation International and The National Association of Grandparents and other Caregivers, the North Carolina women are building an international bridge of support to other grandparents and caregivers through the auction of their handmade quilts, for the benefit of grandparents and caregivers in the Kingdom of Lesotho, in Southern Africa.

The number of children being raised by relatives has grown exponentially. This increasing trend has been termed “kinship care”. Kinship care has been defined as “any living arrangement in which a relative or someone else emotionally close to a child (such as friends, neighbors, and godparents) takes primary responsibility for rearing that child. The largest groups of children in kinship or family care are those being raised by grandparents. Currently, in the United States there are more than 5 million children living in households headed by grandparents. Grandparents are responsible for most of the basic needs of their grandchildren, in more than 2.4 million homes. The number of grandparents raising grandchildren in Africa is even larger than the number in the United States. Dr. Campbell, of WSSU said, “What an incredible service these grandparents are providing …by taking care of children with their own resources. We owe them a huge debt. They not only care about their own plight but about others around the world.”

The Kingdom of Lesotho has one of the third highest HIV/AIDS infections in the world and the largest number of orphans in the world. Thus grandparents are raising their children. The partnerships forged between these grandparents from two different countries with some of the same challenges are the best way to address these stark HIV/AIDS statistics.

Quilting with a purpose

Grandparent, Shirley Smith, who takes care of her own three grandchildren, founded the National Organization or Grandparents and Caregivers. Ms. Smith has been sharing her love for quilting with other grandparents and caregivers. “Nothing makes a quilt more beautiful than hand sewing” said Ms. Smith.

From the time the fabric is chosen until the day the quilt is completed, it take almost two to three months working about four to six hours a day. Wile some tops are pieced together with a machine, the actual quilting patterns and borders are always done by hand said Ms. Smith. .When a quilt is completed the initials of the women who have worked on the quilt and the name of the quilt is added with a prayer.

Ms. Smith and fellow quilter are looking forward to their Quit Auction to be held on World AIDS Day, 1 December 2007, from 5:30 to 8:30, at the Africare’s Africa House, 440 R Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001? At the auction the public may bid on the handmade quilts, all of which are unique in appearance but with the same purpose. The money raised from the auction will benefit grandparents and other caregivers of grandchildren (or nieces, nephews, cousins, etc.) in the Kingdom of Lesotho, in Southern Africa. “