Tuesday, October 19, 2010

“Grandmother to Grandmother: New York to Tanzania”

In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations International Day of Older Persons, AARP and the Fordham University Ravazzin Center on Aging hosted a Film Screening: “Grandmother to Grandmother: New York to Tanzania.”

The film documentary features the lives of grandmothers raising orphaned grandchildren in New York City and also in Tanzania. While seemingly worlds apart, these grandmothers came together in Tanzania and realizeed that their challenges and experiences were very much the same. The film highlights aging as a gendered experience, and the cultural life course trends that converge to create additional vulnerabilities in the lives of older women.

Globally, grandparents are increasingly raising their orphaned grandchildren. Parents are dying due to HIV/AIDs, drugs and violence. Grandmothers, already one of the most vulnerable group in terms of poverty, are relied upon to take care for children without adequate means.

One panelist stated that this global issue is gaining recognition across the world. In New York City, in particular, some low-income housing is designated for grandparents raising grandchildren on $10,000/year or below. The facility provides evening programs, counseling and building security. Grandmothers attend support group meetings that help them adjust to their new task as a primary caregiver and also to express their concerns with a supportive audience. One woman said, “I realize there are others just like me and I don’t have to be ashamed that my child wasn’t able to raise his child”.

A panel of experts on this global trend from New York and Tanzania also spoke. Rimas J. Jasin, Executive Director of Presbyterian Senior Services, discussed New York City’s attempts to alleviate poverty among grandparents raising grandchildren in some of the city’s most at-risk neighborhoods.

While discussing the slow evolution of social change and the changes necessary to strengthen the human rights of older persons, Modest J. Mero, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations said that “Development is a gradual process.”

1 comment:

  1. PAULETTE, ACAMAGE, CAMEROONOctober 7, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    The phenomenon is well known in my country too, older women, grandmothers are most of the time the first caregivers. We sometimes make donation as help for those orphans and poor grandmothers