Stand In Aunty
Stand In Aunty

An Aunt Makes Life a Little Sweeter

An Aunt Makes Life a Little Sweeter.

By Lauren O’ Reilly

An aunt makes life a little sweeter, and that’s exactly what Adri De Waal’s idea has done for the members of SAWITU, and all the lives we now touch.
The Stand-in-Auntie Program helps provide the loving support of a new family member for SAWITU members in need of a good tannie. As we all know, it is emotionally exhausting to immigrate and integrate into a new country and culture.

Our tannies are here to provide a family support system to those South Africans living abroad, far away from the support of their families back home. The way we foresee this working is by moms signing up their children to be on the receiving end of cards and letters, to which the children will respond in kind.The aunties will be ladies who wish to send letters and cards to those families, bringing back that feeling of excitement when a card or letter arrives in the mail.

When Antonet De Ridder approached me to spearhead this new initiative, my immediate reaction was absolute enthusiasm. I did not hesitate to say yes, and before I knew it, she posted on Facebook, and set up an email. Suddenly the inbox had 90-odd new emails, and the task of pairing aunties and kiddos became quite the organizational task.

The exciting part of this program is when I see a post on the Facebook group from a recipient.

On the day that I wrote this, we had paired 71 SAWITU kiddos with two aunties each and 49 aunties with two, three or more SAWITU kiddos each. There were also 23 emails which were waiting on pairing.

It warms my heart to share that these new relationships between Stand-in-Aunties and the kiddos are not the only ones to come from this program. I am thrilled that I was able to introduce two SAWITU members to each other. Realizing they live in the same town, I queried if they knew each other but they did not, allowing for yet another wonderful relationship to blossom from our ever-growing community.

I am so fortunate to be a part of this program and cannot wait to help make more beautiful connections. “Because she’s not like a regular aunt, she’s a cool aunt.”
If you have children you would like to sign up for a Stand-in-Auntie please email names, birthday, age and address to

If you would like to be a Stand-in-Auntie, please email so you can be paired.

The love and support for this program has been phenomenal. Our vision is that it will grow from strength to strength and that we will have a network of “Stand in Families” all over the USA and Canada.