Category Archives: INFORMATION

TIPS FOR VIRTUAL MEETINGS

Over the past year, we have been introduced to virtual meetings (often via Zoom) in ways we never imagined possible.  To support our membership in the use of Zoom and other technologies, we have put together a little document to further assist everyone’s success in using the technology. There are tips for both the person new to virtual meetings as well as for those familiar with online meetings who are seeking some additional ideas.

Click here for some tips!

If you have additional tips to share, please let us know at message@ujamaagrandmas.com.

Enjoy!
Judy Hansen, Board Member

AFRICA BOOK CLUB

We met for the first time and had a lively discussion of This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga from Zimbabwe.

We decided our meetings would be every 6 weeks, which will give us lots of time to obtain and read the books.

The book to be discussed is titled Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin. This story  takes place in  Rwanda. The book has received several positive reviews, including this Globe and Mail review.

WHAT: Africa Book Club – “Baking Cakes In Kigali”
WHEN: Friday, May 7 at 1:30 PM.
HOW: Zoom for the foreseeable future

Please feel free to join us! It would be helpful to know in advance how many people to expect, so please RSVP to message@ujamaagrandmas.com. If you have any questions, send them to the same address and we will be happy to answer them.

Leslie Buckle

SPOTLIGHT ON THE BOARD MEMBERS

The following is an item that has been added to Monthly E-News so that the Members can “meet” and get to know the Board Members.
To hopefully put a Face to a Name that you may have seen on emails or committees.

I am happy to introduce the Members of UJAMAA GRANDMAS to Judy Hansen as our second write-up, in your April E-news.

THANK YOU

Good morning, everyone,

I just opened and read our monthly March E-news and am sitting here with awe and respect for all the members of UJAMAA GRANDMAS.  Our voice is strong, our resilience in this time of Covid amazing, the necessary inventiveness of changing to make things work now is a reflection of strong, intelligent, caring and creative women.  And, best of all, doing it all together/apart!

Thank you also for the reminders of our mission, goals and values.  All that has happened in this past year reflects on each and every one.

So, thank you all.  It is an honour to be part of UJAMAA GRANDMAS.

Sincerely, Carla Lorfing

MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT JAN GEGGIE

IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE 👏🎉💐 !!!  I am delighted to announce that Ellen Monaghan and Leslie Buckle, founders of UJAMAA GRANDMAS, will be the recipients of the Soroptimist Calgary Dreams “Making a Difference for Women Award” on April 18th. This award honours women who have made extraordinary differences in, and improved the lives of, women and girls.

Inspired by Stephen Lewis and his vision for the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF), long-time friends Ellen and Leslie began making bags and purses, selling them at a local market and donating the profits to the fledgling SLF in 2004/2005.   With their passion to support the African Grandmothers, their persuasive powers soon attracted others to join them and now we have close to 500 members.  We continue to raise funds through creative events and activities, and to date, we have raised $1.5 million for African grassroots groups.  We also raise awareness of the issues faced by African women through education, by speaking to community groups and visiting schools.  We definitely thank both Ellen and Leslie for the implementation of their many ideas over the years!

Our lives have improved too!  Many of us have developed deep, rich friendships working together towards Ellen and Leslie’s goal. We have developed and expanded skills and confidence in different areas including handcrafts, public speaking, governance, marketing and technology.

Ellen and Leslie have remained faithful to the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign pledge, “We will not rest until they can rest”.  We thank both of them for their vision and leadership. Congratulations, Ellen and Leslie!

Please feel free to share the link with friends or family to help celebrate Ellen and Leslie as well – they will need to register to reserve a free ticket!

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/soroptimist-calgary-dream-awards-tickets-144523576909?aff=ebdssbeac

FRIENDSHIP CORNER

“You don’t know what someone is going through, be kind ~ always.” That is a sentiment worth remembering on a daily basis. Recognizing that those around us may have limitations because they are dealing with a difficult situation that we cannot identify, yet needs to be honoured, is in keeping with everything UJAMAA GRANDMAS stands for. Being mindful of the fact that others can be fighting a battle that you are completely unaware of is a great strength. Some of our members are struggling with their health, or an injury, or supporting a family member going through treatment for a health crisis. Others are dealing with loss, possibly brought on by the pandemic. And there are those that simply find the restrictions put in place around Covid 19 extremely difficult. The reality is we all have times in our journey that challenge us.

One of the greatest strengths of UJAMAA GRANDMAS is: ‘we do what we can, when we can’. What a welcoming and embracing mantra! That mindset has acted as a form of support to all of us at different times as we have dealt with life’s challenges. May we continue to shed light on each other to ease a burden, may we continue to be patient and understanding with each other when working together, and of course, when we have a choice, and we always have a choice, may we do what we so often do, may we lead with kindness.

FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Celebrating Fifteen Years of the SLF’s Grandmothers Campaign

The Board would like to celebrate this anniversary by producing a virtual exhibition of art, photography, poetry and prose. We will invite submissions that speak to what members’ involvement in UJAMAA GRANDMAS is, and thus what the Grandmothers Campaign, has meant to them.  It could be a poem about meeting one of the African grandmothers; a photograph of a special handcraft sold in one of the sales; a piece of artwork inspired by a story about the work of the SLF in Africa.  We hope the submissions will tell our story in diverse, colourful, entertaining, and meaningful ways.

To put this all together, we need a small organizing committee, and some specialized expertise (such as web design). If you are interested in being part of this initiative in some way, whether on the committee or as a consultant in particular aspects of the project, please respond to message@ujamaagrandmas.com. We are happy to explore with you how you could become involved in a way that suits you and helps us with this project!

Sincerely, Leslie Buckle

EDUCATION & AWARENESS COMMITTEE

 AN INSPIRATIONAL EVENING !

Feedback from viewers of Paying Tribute to the Grannies of Soweto by Bianca Marais:

  • “What an incredibly powerful evening. Bianca is an amazing woman”;
  • “Very professional”
  • “What a great speaker. Now I want to read her books”.
  • “I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Bianca’s talk last night.”

The presentation is so pertinent to the work that we do as UJAMAA GRANDMAS and we highly recommend viewing this impactful recording.

For those of you who were not able to view the presentation on February 24th and for those who would like to share the opportunity with friends and family, the link is HERE.

Thank you to all who attended the presentation Paying Tribute to the Grannies of Soweto by Bianca Marais.  Bianca is an inspiring speaker who shared her story of growing up in apartheid South Africa as a privileged white child nurtured by her African “maid”.  Bianca has spent her life questioning and grappling with conflicting emotions about privilege, growing up as a white girl under the apartheid regime in South Africa, and the oppression towards Black people that she was witness to. Her story is one of an early awakening to systemic abuse and prejudice and challenging it—even when it was unpopular, even when she benefited from it. Bianca shared how she watched the devastation of HIV and AIDS in her country and especially how the black population was impacted. Bianca was a volunteer for ten years with a Stephen Lewis Foundation partner in Cotlands and is an avid supporter of the work of the Foundation.

Thank you to Judy Hanson, Sandra Burgess and Frances Teves who worked with The Education and Awareness Committee to coordinate the many details that went into the organizing of this event. Thank you to Jan Geggie, President of UJAMAA GRANDMAS for her opening and closing remarks. A big thank you to Sarah Layton, Office and Logistics Manager, Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Bianca’s books Hum if You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh can be ordered from Owl’s Nest Bookstore.

Bianca’s presentation is free but donations are encouraged to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Donate to the Stephen Lewis Foundation HERE.

Education and Awareness Committee:  Anne Taylor and Susan Plesuk

2021 FABRIC & YARN SALE

The gross income from 2021 Yarn & Fabric Public Market Sale was $17,500. Special thanks to Rachel Bryant, Carol Spring and Frances Teves for the extensive online component this sale required.

  • Expect to see Eventbrite customer registration entry used in future Fabric & Yarn Sales.
  • After two long years the storage homes are empty and I cannot thank everyone enough for your help.
  • Any more donations will be declined until April 1, 2021 when the Province of Alberta COVID-19 vaccination roll out enters its second quarter.
  • Two of the larger storage homes can no longer participate, so if you can offer any amount of area, it would be greatly appreciated.
  • The Magic of Christmas also extends it thanks.
  • UJAMAA GRANDMAS donated enough fabric and notions from the sale to supply its costume department for its Christmas 2021 campaign.

Proposed 2022 Annual Fabric & Yarn Sale at The Magic of Christmas Apr. 19, 20, 21 (setup days), 22, 23, 24 (sale days), 25 (clean up)

Easter Sunday is Apr. 17, 2022.
Please direct any questions to fabricsale@ujamaagrandmas.com

Great Job!
Mona Jones

MONTHLY JOINT GATHERINGS VIA ZOOM

 

  • Members could do a Show & Tell at the Monthly Zoom Meetings of what they are making. It would be fun for everyone to see what is going on and might inspire others.
  • Looking for a Member who might like to provide a ‘Facebook Tutorial’ for members who could use a little guidance in that area. If anyone would be willing to do that, please contact message@ujamaagrandmas.com
  • We are looking for people interested in being on the Nominating Committee to find Members to serve as Board Members next year.  Yvonne Way and Louise Breadner are currently on this committee. If interested, please contact message@ujamaagrandmas.com and your email will be forwarded to them.

Check the E-News each month for the Zoom link. 

Wednesdays/Date Time Main Facilitator C0-Facilitator
January 20, 2021 7:30 PM Annette Koelwyn Yvonne Way
February 17, 2021 10:00 AM Leslie Buckle Judy Hansen
March 17, 2021 1:00 PM Yvonne Way Annette Koelwyn
April 21, 2021 7:30 PM Judy Hansen Jan Geggie
May 19, 2021 10:00 AM Liz Forseth Janice Lambert
June 16, 2021 1:00 PM Leslie Buckle Liz Forseth
July 21, 2021 7:30 PM

BAGETTES UPDATE

Thanks to Zoom, BAGETTES met twice a month during 2020.  We encouraged one another with show and tell, tips and tricks, pattern testing and challenges. We also shared via our Facebook group.  In the summer, we were able to meet safely outside twice to share supplies and see things in the flesh. This ability to work together and connect on a regular basis made a significant impact on our emotional well-being during a difficult year.  We plan to carry on and we are currently working on two new patterns for 2021 release. We have begun a series of bags recognizing our grandmothers. There are two so far; a French grand-mère, RYLEY and an Icelandic grandmother, AMMA. It seems we are diverse and there is more to come.
 
FUNDRAISING
An ART TOTE challenge using our wine tote pattern resulted in the completion of 10 unique, art-inspired, wine totes. These totes were featured in an online auction in July and resulted in proceeds of $1167.70.  We felt that the items that went to BB&B were our best yet and despite the difficult times, many bags and pouches were sold. 
 
ONLINE PATTERN SALES
With so many bag makers at home, 2020 was a great year for the BAGETTES’ pattern store on Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/UJAMAABAGETTES
A few milestones were met and passed that allowed us to raise a cheer.
  • Four new patterns were released in 2020 and reception to those patterns was very exciting thanks to some help from our strongest supporter, Emmaline Bags of Spruce Grove, Alberta. When Janelle puts BAGETTES in her newsletter that goes to 25,000 bag makers, visits to our shop and sales sky rocket.
  • As of this writing, 1350 copies of our patterns were sold in 2020 – 53% of those sales were from our new patterns.
  • Revenue for 2020 passed the $10,000 mark in early December and continues to climb. This revenue is gross – does not take into account cost of supplies, fees, or taxes.
  • The first Etsy sale was on December 31, 2019. Since then, more than 1620 patterns have sold in the shop. This includes 42 copies of Backpack Bundle which is 3 patterns but is counted as one sale in the count. 
  • More than 400 shoppers have favourited our shop.  This affects the search dynamics sending more shoppers to our store. 
  • Ratings of our patterns remain five-star with almost 70 reviews.
  • We rebranded with a new banner and logo thanks to the support of Vancouver Island artist Anvil Island Design. In January we plan to do a formal launch of this new brand with a virtual party – aka sale.
If you have UJAMAA friends who share a common handmade endeavour, we strongly encourage you to try this form of meeting and sharing. Your group need not be formal. No one needs to be in charge other than to schedule and book the zoom nor does there need to be any high degree of organizing. Just get together virtually to work on your chosen interest, share ideas and patterns, chat, connect. You might be surprised at what may happen.

TORONTO GRANDMOTHERS FUNDRAISER

As mentioned in the December E-News, one of our members advised us of the Toronto Grandmothers Partnering with Africa fundraiser. They have a selection of beautiful Scarves and Pashminas for sale on their website. Each item sells for $20 plus shipping costs. Check them out HERE.

PLANNING A FUNDRAISER?

Our UJAMAA GRANDMAS members have many creative and lucrative ideas for new and ongoing fundraisers; the UJAMAA GRANDMAS Board sincerely thanks everyone for their tireless efforts and ingenuity.

To contribute to the success of our UJAMAA GRANDMAS events, the Sales and Finance Committee has worked hard, combined with direction from the Board, in creating a framework to be used when planning fundraisers. We are pleased to announce a new set of forms to assist in the successful planning of future UJAMAA GRANDMAS fundraising events.

  • The first of these forms must be completed and submitted 8 to 10 weeks prior to any upcoming event.
  • Following the first forms, there are additional forms to guide you through the planning process.
  • These additional forms should be submitted at least 4 weeks prior to your event.
  • Once we are all familiarized with the process, these forms will be a great help in the planning of our events!

A reminder that in keeping up with these unusual times, the UJAMAA GRANDMAS Board has developed COVID-19 Risk Management forms, including the AHS Screening Questionnaire for any UJAMAA GRANDMAS in-person and on-line events. These were designed to make it easier for anyone planning an event and laying the foundation to keep everyone safe.

Please email “message@ujamaagrandmas.com” to obtain the required forms or for more information.

NOMINATING COMMITTEE

Please note that the Board is looking for one or two Members to join the Nominating Committee. This committee would help find individuals to fill the two vacant positions on the current Board (ie. the Events Liaison plus a Member at Large).

If you are interested in being on the Nominating Committee, or in filling the Board position of either the Events Liaison or Member at Large, please contact message@ujamaagrandmas.com and your email will be forwarded to the appropriate person.

MONTHLY GATHERINGS UPDATE

MONTHLY GATHERINGS – VIA ZOOM

Summer Gatherings by Zoom
The monthly Gatherings were held via Zoom during July and August, 2020.  We ran 4 Gatherings with 2 in July and 2 in August (North and South).  The attendance at the Gatherings was small, but very engaged!  We had a good time greeting each other and learning about what is happening in our UJAMAA GRANDMAS world.

The various committees are doing a marvellous job at keeping up the good work and finding very creative solutions to carry on during the current pandemic.  The Gatherings were inspiring.

Upcoming Gatherings in the Fall
At the August Gatherings we observed that all members could join via Zoom regardless of where they lived (North or South), and we also noticed that the Committee Chairs gave similar reports at both Gatherings.  Therefore, we are combining the North and South Gatherings into a joint Gathering while the COVID pandemic continues.

Based on the above, we are proposing to hold the Joint Gathering on the 3rd Wednesday of each month and rotating from Morning / Afternoon / Evening/ in the hopes that more members will be able to participate via Zoom.

Each meeting will have its own Zoom meeting id and password. Gatherings are scheduled monthly on Wednesdays with evening, morning and afternoon schedules. Members check your E-news for the Zoom link, meeting ID and passcode.

We are looking forward to seeing you at a future Gathering!
Janice Lambert and Judy Hansen

2020 VIRTUAL STRIDE TO TURN THE TIDE UPDATE

Thank you all for your support of our Virtual Stride Activities in June 2020. We were able to raise $20,525.00 to contribute to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The national total raised was $260,000.00, a very impressive amount for the Grandmothers in Africa. Next year we will be participating again.

Click here to view the SLF Stride to Turn the Tide letter.

Look for updates on how to join the team, how to contribute or sponsor participants & our  goals.

Regards,

Sandra Burgess
Team Lead

UJAMAA GRANDMAS BOARD MEETING SCHEDULE

SCHEDULE FOR UJAMAA GRANDMAS BOARD MEETINGS

 If you require any help to use Zoom, please email message@UjamaaGrandmas.com  and someone will help you learn how to use it comfortably.

Saturday, August 8, 2020, 1:00 to 3:00 PM (Zoom Host Maggie Herr)

Wednesday, September 9, 2020, 1:00 to 3:00 PM (Zoom Host Susan Gardner)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 1:00 to 3:00 PM (Zoom Host Yvonne Way)

Saturday, November 14, 2020, 1:00 to 3:00 PM (Zoom Host Judy Hansen)

Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 1:00 to 3:00 PM (Zoom Host Maggie Herr)

Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 1:00 to 3:00 PM (Zoom Host Susan Gardner)

Saturday, February 6, 2021, 1:00 to 3:00 PM (Zoom Host Yvonne Way)

Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 1:00 to 3:00 PM (Zoom Host Judy Hansen)

Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 1:00 to 3:00 PM (Zoom Host Maggie Herr)

Saturday, May 1, 2021, 1:00 to 3:00 PM (Zoom Host Susan Gardner)

Wednesday, June 2, 2021, 1:00 to 3:00 PM (Zoom Host Yvonne Way)

 

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT RE: UJAMAA GRANDMAS EVENTS

We hope this message finds all of you healthy and contentedly settled in your homes. This is an important announcement to inform you that ALL UJAMAA GRANDMAS (UG) in-person gatherings and events of any kind are cancelled until further notice. This action is being
taken to protect our members and the general public during this COVID-19 pandemic. We know
how much our members love getting together, but as you well know, that simply is not an option at this time.

The UG board will continue to meet regularly via video conferencing to deal with UG business.

If you are an introvert, I am sure you are quite happy to be directed to stay at home! We
encourage everyone to reach out to others who may need your support – safely of course, by
phone or electronically. For anyone who may feel isolated, we are all here to support you. If ANYONE needs a little chat, please reach out to us via message@ujamaagrandmas.com. Or if
you know of someone who could use a little ‘pick me up’ call, please do not hesitate to let us know through message@ujamaagrandmas.com.

Remember to be gentle with yourselves as we settle into these unusual circumstances.

Take a moment each day to think of all the things you have to be grateful for, even amidst these unsettling times. Get outside, even if it is just standing on your front step for a breath of fresh air. Get your circulation going with some light exercise. Capitalize on this opportunity to ‘create’ or ‘catch up’ by completing a project. Whether it is a crocheted dishcloth or cleaning a drawer, you will benefit from that sense of accomplishment. Look after yourselves, and above all, remember you are not alone, you are surrounded by strong intelligent women, and this too shall pass.