Category Archives: INFORMATION

VOLUNTEERING IS A GIFT

As I write this on December 26th, the tinsel and the cookie crumbs are starting to settle as the newly opened gifts are waiting to be read, eaten, or placed in a special place to be admired. All of those gifts we so lovingly gave or received are much more than the item themselves. Hidden within the gift wrap and bows was something we could not see – only feel. It was the gift of love. And that is a lot like volunteering.

Volunteering comes in so many different forms, even just within our Ujamaa Grandmas. Some of our volunteers lend their muscle or their artful eye, or maybe their spare room for storage or their administrative skills. Others give freely of their creative abilities or their leadership skills or their business savvy, and others simply their enthusiasm! But the connecting thread that runs through each and every act of volunteerism is the gift that is given – the gift of love.

And we can turn that around as well! The gift of volunteering that Ujamaa Grandmas allows us is one of the best gifts we could receive, along with the friendships that are made in the process. We are all extraordinarily fortunate to have found Ujamaa Grandmas, the Stephen Lewis Foundation and each other!

Wishing you all a wonderful year, one filled with continued exciting and personally fulfilling opportunities to give and receive through volunteering. Many thanks for all that you do to keep Ujamaa Grandmas thriving and able to continue the support of our African sisters through the work of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Yvonne Way
Board Member/Connections Team

UJAMAA GRANDMAS BOARD MEETING SCHEDULE 2020

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 message@ujamaagrandmas.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

WHAT: Ujamaa Grandmas Board Meeting
WHEN:
Thursday, January 30, 2020 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Saturday, February 29, 2020 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, April 2, 2020 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, April 30, 2020 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
WHERE: Marda Loop ATB at 2140 34th Avenue SW

MESSAGE FROM JAN GEGGIE

We received a year-end “THANK YOU” card from Ruth-Anne Seburn, our Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) Liaison, and the Grandmothers Campaign team, which I will share with you.

“Dear Ujamaa Grandmas – Day to day, you gather in group meetings to plan fundraising and awareness-raising events, socialize, support one another, and create a vision for what comes next. Day to day, you invest your hearts into this campaign. From crafting and sales to education and outreach your group has dedicated themselves to making 2019 a
successful year for the campaign. So, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for everything you’ve done this year.  Thank You!”

This encompasses one of the outstanding attributes of members of Ujamaa Grandmas – we collaborate in many different ways, while networking with others about what we do and why we do what we do.  This became evident last week while I was telling a friend, with much enthusiasm, about our most successful Bags, Babies and Beyond Sale. Soon two others joined the conversation so I gave each person one of our UG business cards, encouraging them to visit our website. There’s always so much happening, and so many ways to volunteer, to enable us to support our sister African grandmothers. I encourage each of you to be aware of those networking opportunities in the coming year and to join us in meaningful ways, if you haven’t already.

In the latest SLF 2019 Year in Review Powered by Leadership, six areas of work are outlined  and expanded: Children, youth and HIV&AIDS,  Grandmothers, Home-based care,  Positive living,  Sexual violence, and the LGBTQ African Initiative. The 125 Community-Based Organizations supported by, and who partner with, the SLF have been able to focus on these specific areas, with tangible leadership by youth, grandmothers, home-based care workers, and of course, the SLF field workers who work with these organizations to assure their success and ability to change “devastation to resilience”. There’s still much to be done though, as evidenced by the staggering “UNAIDS statistic that 460 adolescent girls are diagnosed with HIV each day”! I received several copies of this 2018 Year in Review which will be available at our South and North Gatherings, or by request through message@ujamaagrandmas.com .

My wish for Ujamaa Grandmas’ members this coming year is that we continue to partner with each other in our diverse activities and continue to contribute to the amazing work that is done by the Stephen Lewis Foundation.  May the coming year be especially meaningful, with family and friends.

 

REFLECTIONS – VP JAN HEATH

October was the month for the Bags, Babies and Beyond Sale. Total funds raised were approximately $45,000 (to be finalized soon)!!  Once again it was a hugely successful event due to the dedication and hard work of many volunteers, not only at the sale but throughout the year. Congratulations to all of you! The financial success of the sale means that we can help our African sisters in a way that translates into effective programs that make a real difference in their lives and the lives of younger family members.

The following week all members of UG were invited by the board to attend a Celebration and Appreciation afternoon, held instead of the regular North Gathering. This was to celebrate and recognize all of our amazing volunteers for their hard work and the many and varied skills which they contribute. We were pleased with how many attended this event.  We hope that it was an opportunity for members to relax, celebrate, visit, meet new people as well as enjoy the friendships we have made through volunteering with this very special group.

It was interesting to reflect on our present situation compared with my memories of our first ‘stand alone’ sale held in October 2006 when, to our surprise, we raised $6,000 and were sold out by noon!  No bank night deposit had been organized so the money was stored under my bed together with a samurai sword for protection! Since then we have grown in leaps and bounds to become the large and very effective group we are today. This has led to an inevitable need for more structure in the organization and members have worked hard to make this happen. This is a work in progress and I have been impressed by the willingness of members to respond to this need and to be open to it, while not losing sight of the many wonderful characteristics of Ujamaa Grandmas which include supporting each other and supporting the Foundation which does such great work.

EDUCATION AND AWARENESS

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

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)