The Winnie Mabaso Foundation’s Granny Club

Winnie Mabaso

Lisa Ashton, the charity’s founder and CEO, introduces us to its wonderful granny club.

HIV continues to be a big problem in South Africa, with an estimated seven million people living with the virus. As a result, the social structure of life has changed dramatically. Where once the elderly were cared for by their children, all too often the children have passed away and grannies are left to bring up their grandchildren.

Once a week the Winnie Mabaso Foundation holds a granny club in its library. It’s a chance for the ladies to get together for a chat over tea and cake, or some weeks a hot meal, and the Foundation also arranges activities for them.

“Our grannies are very important to us,” Lisa said. “We love to show them how much we value and appreciate them and all they do. Some weeks we have an organised activity like knitting, beadwork or painting, and at other times we will give them pedicures or wash their hair – we even have a granny keep-fit club and guest speakers.”

There are many practical ways in which the Foundation supports the ladies, too.

Esther, who lives in Meriting, had a stroke over 10 years ago and for many years did not leave her shack as the stroke left her unable to walk. One day the Foundation heard about her and arranged a wheelchair.

Esther, granny club

Esther enjoys getting out and about.

Now, Esther is able to attend granny club, and she also has so much more freedom to visit the other ladies on the camp. Esther also helps to read stories to the children in the

“I have a new life now thanks to the Winnie Mabaso Foundation, and I love being able to get out and about again,” Esther told Lisa.

Recently the Foundation launched a new knicker appeal.

“For women living in such poverty, a new pair of knickers is a luxury few can afford,” Lisa explained. “We were delighted when Tropic Skincare encouraged their ambassadors to send us underwear, and were amazed when over two thousand pairs of pants were collected. You would not believe the utter joy a simple pair of pants can bring. You’d have thought they’d won the lottery when I delivered them.”

granny club, pants

New pants are a real treat.

Read about the history of our Hand of Friendship campaign.

Find out how to donate on our info page.

Hannah McLaren

I've worked at DC Thomson for six years! I began as an intern at My Weekly and The Scots Magazine, which was extended by a few months to help out at The People's Friend. I then covered maternity as Celebrity Editor for My Weekly, before I became Multimedia Journalist at The Scots Magazine. Currently I'm writing digital content across each title.