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Grandparents Association in South Africa to campaign for rights

Sunday, November 6, 2016 13:44
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7th November 2016

Grandparents in the country are to be recognised for the important role they play in society according to the founder of the Grandparents Association of South Africa (GPASA). 

“Grandparents make a massive emotional, financial and often spiritual contribution to their Grandchildren, and by association, parents.  It is a situation that is particularly prevalent here with some 53% of over 3-million orphaned children having a Grandparent as their primary care-giver (SA Census 2012),” according to Wren Mast-Ingle.

“The primary objectives of GPASA are spelt out in the Vision which is ‘A better world for Grandparents and their Grandchildren’. Primary objectives  include campaigning for Grandparents’ rights, guiding the way to health, happiness and better understanding of the role Grandparents play as well as providing a conduit for assistance to those Grandparents in difficult circumstances through the ‘Grandparents adopting Grandparents’ (GrandAdopt) initiative.”


Mast-Ingle says many countries around the world have established similar organisations in support of Grandparents.  ‘My view is that Grandparents could be key to building a better world for future generations in part by virtue of their phenomenal, acquired wisdom and multi-dimensional frame of reference

“They are motivated by strong feelings for their Grandchildren and provide emotional stability as well as a sense of continuity as determined by many studies…local and international.

“Generally speaking Grandparents comprise a segment of society that is well-established, financially secure and willing to engage in constructive activities.  However the importance of the role that the extended family plays in African culture makes Grandparents the single most important category of caregivers besides the actual biological parents of the child. The very large number of single parent households in South Africa due to divorce and illness has also seen many more Grandparents playing an active and prominent role in rearing and socializing their Grandchildren,” he points out.

“Problems for Grandparents go beyond straightened income circumstances particularly as they are today as young as 40 and living longer with improving health and lifestyles.  Becoming a Grandparent is a learning curve in itself no less negotiating relationships with parents as well Grandchildren especially when these are not harmonious. This is an area where Grandparents need support as well as in the process of establishing and defending their rights.


The initiative has been launched with the opening of the website GPASA website and is presently looking to develop relationships with professionals in fields ranging from legal and health to financial.  “These experts would, in many instances be Grandparents themselves, offering advice and assistance wherever possible.  An instance is ‘legal advisory’ where we are looking for someone to champion the drive for rights.

“We also need volunteers to head up the Grandparents of the Year and Grandparents Day campaigns across the country and take charge of our Facebook community.  GPASA charges a small annual fee for membership that is being used to build up the organisation and so these fees are essential presently.

“There is also a lot of excitement regarding GrandAdopt campaign.  New members are asked to sponsor a reduced fee to adopt and enrol a Grandparent(s) which will enable them to access all areas of the website and provide an opportunity to extend support and further assistance to fellow Grandparents who may otherwise not be able to join.  GPASA is in the process of launching a campaign in industry whereby a company contributes to the GrandAdopt campaign on a like basis for every Grandparent in that company which becomes a corporate member.

“As progress is made the website will feature special offers and discounts to members whether travelling overseas to visit family; taking out an educational policy for the Grandchildren from a recommended, well-screened preferred supplier, all being advantageous opportunities across a number of lifestyle activities.

“Fun too is an important consideration for the Association.  Apart from setting up the Grandparents Day there will be a wide choice of activities through the site from music to choosing appropriate ‘pressies’ for the Grandchildren, including delivery at Grandparents acceptable pricing levels. 



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