Author Archives: Leigh Aquart


WHAT: 2019 BB&B
Friday, October 18, 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM,
Saturday, October 19, 2019. 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
WHERE: Marda Loop Communities Association, 3130 16 Street SW, Calgary

Online registration will be up and running on October 1. Watch the website!

Please note the September gathering dates and times for dropping off your last items
for the sale.  If you cannot make it to one of the gatherings, check location and final
drop off dates below.

Friday, September 27. 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM and
Saturday, September 28, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

South side drop off
2303 Deerside Drive SE

North side drop off
6 Varbow Place NW

Please make sure you tag your items with a Ujamaa sale tag before dropping them off
or take the time to fill out the tags when you drop the items off. Only you know what
they are made of.  Because of the timing of pricing done by the committees, we cannot
promise that items received after these dates will be included in the 2019 sale.  Late
items will be held for next year’s sale.

We rely on word of mouth to advertise the sale, so please print out a few copies of the
posters – or pick up some copies at a gathering – and give them to everyone you
meet!  Get your purse size posters here and full page posters here.

Yes, its back.  Each week or so before the sale, we’ll post some shots and spin some
tales.  See samples of our lovely things and get ready for a shopping fling.
This we will be posting on our Facebook  page and on Instagram
Try our hashtag #bbbsale to find items that have been posted
throughout the year.


One of life’s wonders is the inevitability of CHANGE. We feel it with the changing seasons. It happens within our own families – my husband and I have just experienced a change in his health status. Change can be frightening, or can muster up a positive evolution to the next step.

The August issue of the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) Granny Bulletin focuses on CHANGES that have occurred since the beginning of the Grandmothers2Grandmothers Campaign in August 2006. “In just 13 years, grandmothers’ groups have collectively raised over $33 million”.  This issue talks about the evolution of African grandmothers from providers for their orphaned grandchildren and other children, to becoming (with the help of numerous SLF- supported Community Based Organizations or CBOs) assertive political activists and leaders who expect their governments to acknowledge their needs and the support they require.

The Granny Bulletin also reported that there is a new report from UNAIDS’ Community at the Centre confirming that these CBOs are an “answer to the AIDS pandemic”. The SLF has supported CBOs for more than 2 decades; the funds we raise and send to the SLF are critical in this support. The report also emphasized that “every week around 6,200 adolescent girls and young women contract HIV due to forced marriages, gender-based violence and situations beyond their control”. It is horrific to imagine how CHANGED one’s life would be.

Within Ujamaa Grandmas, CHANGE is happening, too. At our 2nd Strategic Planning Workshop scheduled for September 7th with our committee chairs and coordinators and our Board of Directors, we will build on our previous discussions to support our “pillars of focus” which, at present, are Awareness, Nurturing and Fundraising (which may in fact change, too!).

We will keep up-to-date with our own evolution.

As a last thought, I am so honoured that DeSonus Charity Concerts has designated Ujamaa Grandmas as one of the recipient organizations of their charity benefits. We can make a difference, as members, by donating an item or a service to this event. Get a group of friends together for a fun evening of glorious music. Ujamaa Grandmas continues to have opportunities to make a CHANGE!


It was decided by the Southern Alberta Grandmother Groups, as it was the South’s turn to host, not to hold a Regional Gathering this year.

Groups were busy with their local events and also felt every other year was a more realistic scheduling for a Regional Gathering. The Northern Alberta Groups decided to have a mini- Gathering with the Northern groups in September.

Hopefully this will give us (the Southern Alberta Groups) plenty of time to plan for a gathering in September of 2020 or perhaps decide on a different time of year to hold one.

Ruth-Anne Seburn is the new SLF Staff Officer for Alberta and Alison and I have just had a conversation with her.

Ruth-Ann’s contact info:  416-533-9292 ext.302  Toll Free: 1-888-203-9990, ext.302

Ruth-Anne has been busy the past several weeks learning the responsibilities of her new job but she is well qualified and is looking forward to getting to know the grandmothers in her areas of responsibility.

A Reminder:

1.Theme Conference Calls for all members and groups the 3rd Thursday of each month:

The next call will deal with “Sponsorship & Grants” September18th.  Please RSVP to – Call-in #s: 1-888-884-4538, Guest Code: 3443606#

These Theme Conference Calls are quite popular and members are finding them very helpful.

The August call focused on “Social Media Tips and Tricks” and the Summary Notes were posted Friday, August 23.  Members who weren’t involved won’t receive the summary but it is available on the SLF website under “Resources”.  I would highly recommend everyone reading this.  There are four attachments and it does take a lot of time to read everything but there is something in it for everyone.  I would encourage all members to view the video near the end of the “Digital Tool Kit” attachment under “YouTube and Conference Calls: “Viewing Videos and Faces”. The link to video #5 is given. It would be a good video to show at meetings or send out to the membership, especially new members.

2.New Members Conference Calls the 3rd Monday of each month:  Any members welcome.  RSVP to:   Call-in #s: 1-888-884-4538, Guest code: 3443606#

The Grandmothers Campaign website is a wealth of information.  See “News and Resources”.  The latest additions are a Digital Toolkit and information on group insurance.

Don’t forget to let Alison or the SLF know about UG’S upcoming events.

A note from Marilyn:

I have been in the Southern Alberta Regional Liaison position for four years and have enjoyed it very much, especially getting to know many of the grandmothers throughout Southern Alberta.  I will miss being involved in this aspect of the Campaign but I think it is time for me to let someone else bring their unique skills to the position.  I am resigning as Regional Liaison for Southern Alberta as of the end of September and leaving you in Alison’s capable hands, hopefully with a co-liaison to work with her.  Alison will be away for two or three months over the winter but she will be here to help you for the first six weeks or so and available by email. (You may want to change this, Alison???)

Perhaps you or someone you know would like to co-liaison with Alison for a two-year term.  We will send out a “job description” to anyone interested.

I will also miss keeping in touch with you every month.

Don’t forget what a difference we Canadian grandmothers make to the lives of the African grandmothers and children.  Any support, no matter how small, is making a difference – a gift of love.

What has been accomplished in the past 13 years has been amazing.  Keep up the good work.

Marilyn and Alison


September 25th will be a great day to either start a new simple project or to finish up any other project that you want to get done for the BB&B in October.
Kits and fabric will be available.  Work with other Ujamaa members to complete projects for BBB in October. Come sew and have fun!

If you have any questions, please email

WHAT: SEW ALONG with Elaine, Rose and Dawn
WHEN: Wednesday, September 25 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
WHERE: Along Came Quilting, 6432 1A St SW. (right behind the Home Depot on McLeod Trail South at Glenmore Trail)





We invite you to support the Ujamaa Grandmas and enjoy a beautiful evening of music at the upcoming DeSonus concerts to be held in Airdrie on September 21st and Calgary on 22nd. 

Ujamaa Grandmas was thrilled to be approached by DeSonus and asked if we would like to be a ‘one time only’ recipient of 50% of their yearly fundraising proceeds! We are pleased to be sharing these proceeds with The Calgary Women’s Shelter, resulting in your participation supporting women near and far.

Jeff, the president of DeSonus describes it this way: “DeSonus is a Charity Event started in 2015 that is tackling philanthropy in a different way. Rather than being affiliated with one or two causes over its lifetime, DeSonus is a brand unto itself that takes on two different causes every year, and is dedicated to Humanity. The concerts are second to none with a full spread of professional recording, and semi-professional musicians and vocalists, from all walks of life. Artists will join in a unique group collaboration of great cover songs anywhere from Elvis Presley to Ed Sheeran and many more, all based on each year’s unique theme.”

“Caring for Our Neighbours – We support a cause close to home, because right in our own backyard so much good can still be done.”

“Caring for The World – We support a cause far from home because everyone in our world deserves a chance to live healthy, succeed and pursue a dream.”

There are two ways you can participate:

1) Buy tickets to this fun evening of musical entertainment. The $50 tickets will be discounted 10% for members and our friends, using the code GRANDMAS – AND each ticket sold will also give us $5.00 towards our fund. Order your tickets at 

2) Donate a Silent Auction item for the events. We will receive half of all the monies raised. Along with gift certificates and larger items, a suggestion was made to donate smaller items that could be grouped in baskets, i.e. bottles of wine, fine chocolates, gourmet cheese, etc. You might know of businesses to approach that would donate to our cause. 

We hope to see you at the event; it seems like it is an evening not to be missed! In an effort to make it extra special, the dress code suggested is “Black Tie”, but it is optional, so the choice is yours. The important thing is to join together with friends and come to the concerts(s) to support those grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa that are so dear to our hearts.

Please contact Annette Koelwyn at or Yvonne Way at for more information or collection of your items. Items may also be brought to a North or a South gathering on or before September 9th. 

Thank you!


Thank you! Thank you!

BB&B is fast approaching.  Our members have been handing in fantastic items for the sale.

At this time of year the big question is what do make.  Remember “Make what you like. Like what you make and have fun doing it”.  What sells are bright, modern colours and unique items.

Customers have been asking for project bags, kid’s items like alphabet letters in pouches, travel change pads, socks, warm mittens, decorated hats, jewelry and everything else under the sun. Christmas is always popular.   For home décor sets of items seem to be popular.

If you have an idea for something new that you think would sell; make up to six of the item and put them in the sale.  It might be “the item” of the year and we will make more for next year.

If you need some supplies or have any questions please email and the fabric custodian will check to see if what you need is available.

PLEASE tag items that you hand in for the sale.  Instructions and suggestions are explained more fully on the handcraft page. Every item needs to have a tag and product custodians do not have time to attach hundreds of tags during the pricing meetings.

Final drop off for items for the sale will be the end of September.

Dates and locations will be in the September e news.

Without the support of our makers the sale would not be as successful.  THANK YOU!



Reminder: Members from Education and Awareness are available for presentations to other groups you are involved with. Email

This month Education and Awareness highlights books about Africa and the challenges for African children impacted by HIV/AIDs. The four books listed below are all available at the Calgary Public Library.

A. One Hen: How one small loan made a big difference – Katie Smith Milway
This is the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many. After his father died, Kojo had to quit school to help his mother collect firewood to sell at the market. When his mother receives a loan from some village families, she gives a little money to her son. With this tiny loan, Kojo buys a hen. A year later, Kojo has built up a flock of 25 hens. With his earnings Kojo is able to return to school. Soon Kojo’s farm grows to become the largest in the region. (Elementary school aged children)

B. The Heaven Shop – Deborah Ellis
The Heaven Shop is a novel that puts a very real face on the African AIDS pandemic, which has orphaned more than 11 million African children. Inspired by a young radio performer the author met during her research visit to Malawi, Binti Phiri is a compelling character that readers will never forget. (Ages 7-9)

C. Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk about AIDs- Deborah Ellis
This is a collection of children’s stories dealing with poverty, loss as well as their new lives and hopes for the future. In the summer of 2003, Deborah Ellis traveled to Malawi and Zambia and met with children and teens whose lives have been touched by AIDS. In short, autobiographical vignettes, the young people, many of whom are orphans or living on the street, discuss their families, their favorite pastimes, their fears, and their dreams. (Grade 6 and up)

D. We are all the Same: The story of a boy’s courage and a mother’s love – James Wooten
This is the story of a courageous South African boy’s fettle with AIDs but also focuses on the failure of South African leaders to confront the AIDs epidemic in their country. ABC senior news correspondent Wooten tells the story of the bond between Nkosi and his birth mother, Daphne, who gave him up for the sake of his health and who subsequently succumbed to AIDS, and his white adoptive mother, Gail, who made his illness her number one priority. (16 and older)


Our Board of Directors extends an invitation to members to attend our Board meetings. We are grateful to the Marda Loop ATB at 2140 34th Avenue SW  for the spacious room which they have provided.  Public parking is free within a block; note the times of parking on the street.  Please let us know if you’d like to attend, through We look forward to hearing from you.

WHAT: Ujamaa Grandmas Board Meeting
Saturday, January 5, 2019 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Thursday, January 31, 2019 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Thursday, February 21, 2019 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Thursday, March 23, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, May 16, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Saturday, June 15, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, July 11, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, August 8, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Saturday, September 7, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, October 3, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, October 31, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Saturday, November 30, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
WHERE: Marda Loop ATB at 2140 34th Avenue SW


Serving on the board is a great way to get involved with Ujamaa Grandmas. You can play an important role in shaping role in shaping the future of our group.
We are looking for several enthusiastic members to replace directors that are retiring.
The position of Vice President is open as well as 2 members at large.
Someone with a communications background would be greatly appreciated.
The board usually meets once a month for approximately 2 hours.
If you would like more information please send an email to
Your name will be passed along to the nominating committee who can give you more information on positions.  If you know of someone who would make a great candidate, consider asking their permission to pass their name along so that we can be in touch with them.