Category Archives: INFORMATION


We would like to give a ‘shout out’ to all of you that are putting your talents to good use creating masks, gowns, garment bags and more for a wide variety of local charity groups, frontline workers, and healthcare workers. We know that from the onset of the pandemic, many of you have been hard at work with your sewing machines humming! We thank you for your positive contributions in these uncertain times. 

Well done, everyone! 

The Ujamaa Grandmas board would like to announce that they have adjusted their view on making masks as in accordance with the Alberta Health Services guidelines. The UG board fully supports changes announced by AHS. Ujamaa Grandmas has donated fabric to many of the groups that are supporting the making of masks and other items and we will continue to do whatever we can to support local groups, as well as the Stephen Lewis Foundation, in this time of need. 

Stay safe, everyone. 


With in-person meetings and events cancelled, activity has slowed in the Campaign. However, groups are staying in touch with one another and their supporters through social media, Zoom, email, and phone calls, and some are finding creative ways to fundraise. Many groups across the regions have taken on sewing masks, either for donation to their local community or health authority, for sale, or just for friends and family.

The staff report that they have been overwhelmed by the response to COVI-19 Appeal and especially overwhelmed by the generosity of grandmothers, grandothers and Campaign supporters. Some groups have set up their own fundraising pages for donations to the fitness challenge, stride, solidarity and for direct donations to the SLF.

The Foundation is adapting the way they communicate and engage with groups and members – communicating more frequently by email, FB, video/phone calls. The Granny Bulletin will remain a monthly update, but in addition, they’ll be sending one or possibly two Voices e-newsletters. During this time of shut down, there has been an increase of participation of the Campaign Calls. The next call is 12:30 PM on Thursday, May 21st. This will focus on ideas for engagement, online activities and for groups to share how they are approaching and thinking about fundraising.

Since we can’t physically gather this spring, we’re invited to a virtual How We Work Zoom gathering where they will be going through the model for partnering with community-based organizations and the impact our partners are having in their communities. There will be two presentations in May but the dates are not yet set. Anyone who would like the details, please rsvp by email to

Lastly, due to the cancelling of in-person events, many groups and individuals who don’t typically do Stride are expressing interest in this year’s Virtual Stride. For this reason, there will be a general ‘Campaign Wide Stride’ team for members to join. Ujamaa Grandmas don’t have a stride team so this is a way that individuals can be a part of a larger team. In order to assist groups that are doing Stride for the first time, there will be an informational conference call to discuss how to do a virtual stride. That Stride Informational Zoom call will be on Thursday, May 7th at 12:30 PM ET.

Why not put these dates into your calendars now!

Thursday, April 30th, 2:00 PM ET – How We Work Zoom presentation
Thursday, May 7th, 12:30 PM ET – Stride Informational Conference Call
Thursday, May 21st, 12:30 PM ET– May Campaign Conference Call

For all dial-in details and to RSVP, contact

Thank you from Alison


Who would have guessed three months ago when the first edition of Friendship Corner was written that when the next edition came out, we would no longer be able to go over to our friend’s house and give them a hug! These are unprecedented times! And it is in these times that our need to reach out is even greater. What we are learning is that we do not need to be in the presence of someone to support them, we can connect through a call, a card, a ‘curbside’ drop-off of some goodies, or a ‘Zoom date’! Reach out with abandon and give those hugs from a distance!

We are reaching out to you right now and sending you the biggest hug! Did you feel that?! We are thinking of all of you and hoping that you are faring alright during all of this, and remember if you need us, we are here for you. Please be in touch. If you would like a little chat, or need any kind of assistance, just email and we will be in touch.

Even amid a pandemic life goes on in many ways. Babies are born, birthdays arrive and we lose people we love, and all these events must be dealt with while maintaining social distancing and self isolation.

It is through those more remote means that we sadly had to say good-bye to a dear Ujamaa Grandma. Our Vice-President, Jan Heath, passed away on April 24th. Jan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late February and passed away peacefully in the Chinook Hospice a mere two months later.

Jan has been a vibrant and valuable member of Ujamaa Grandmas close to its inception. Jan’s passion for social justice and human rights was vividly apparent through all the work she did on behalf of those that needed her voice. She did much good for this world. Jan was an outdoor enthusiast and had many dear friends whom she shared time with in the mountains, at home and abroad. We will always remember what a delight she was to be with. Her big grin, her willingness to pitch in, her insights and her genuine kindness will all be greatly missed.

But she was also a modest lady and I can just hear her telling us, “That’s enough of that, time to get on with it!” So, ‘get on with it’, we will. We will remember and honour Jan by continuing the work of Ujamaa Grandmas and continuing to nurture the fellowship created by all of you. Please take care of yourselves, take care of each other and remember we are all in this together.

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.”
– Woodrow T. Wilson

Just last fall at the DeSonus Concert. Jan in the red, with that great big grin.




We would like to update you on our current endeavours. We have not yet received any new offers from our membership to join the Board, but we do have an offer to fill the reworked Fundraising position approved by the Board at the last meeting. This position is now Event Coordinator and as such we do have a member willing to stand in that position.

So now we are looking to fill the Vice President and Secretary roles on our Board. As a team, our Board works to support all the UG activities and the SLF. It is a great way to meet new friends and keep everything that we do together at UG running smoothly.

With regard to the Vice President’s job, it is not a given that you would automatically move into the President’s role. Being there to chair a meeting should the President be away would be the most helpful as well as taking on roles to support different endeavours of the Board.

  1. Assist the President in day-to-day operations.
  2. Assume the duties of the President in her absence.
  3. Submit the Annual Return to the Alberta Government as required by the Societies Act.
  4. Lead the succession planning process including establishing and chairing the Nominating Committee as soon as possible after the AGM, in order to maintain board membership by filling roles as needed.
  5. Address an appropriate action plan for any Accident or Incident Report
  6. Working with the Communications Coordinator, oversee the About Us section of the website, ensuring that the About Us and History sections are updated at least once per year (at minimum, after the AGM).
  7. Consider that experience in this role could lead to the position of President.

With the Secretary role, the main function is taking minutes at Board meetings and at the AGM, plus overseeing and keeping the organization’s archives and records updated.

    1. Take minutes at Board and AGM meetings.
    2. Handle correspondence as directed by the Board.
    3. Act as the keeper of the organization’s archives/records, working with volunteer support as needed.
    4. Create and maintain a list of Board members and key contacts and their contact information, working with volunteer support as needed
    5. Ensure that the annual financial statements and the annual financial review document (received from the Treasurer) are filed in electronic archives (Google docs) at or before the AGM.
    6. Ensure that copies of the summary pages of our current insurance policies are filed in electronic archives (Google docs). This is received from the Treasurer usually in October. This includes Directors and Officers Liability Insurance policy and the General Commercial Liability Insurance policy.

We encourage you to consider both of these opportunities and hope that you will contact us if you would like to join our Board. If you have any questions, we would be very happy to chat with you and can be reached through

Thank you for your consideration of these possibilities.

Wishing you all the very best in these tough times. Fill your days in creative ways and with local Spring walks; at last Spring is in the air. We look forward to the time when we can all gather together again in person.

Annette Koelwyn and Carla Lorfing


I sincerely hope that you and your families are all doing well, despite our constantly changing world. Please continue to follow the federal and provincial guidelines, and stay well.

Many of us received the Special Stephen Lewis Foundation’s message from Meg French, SLF Executive Director, earlier this month, on how we can help SLF partners in Africa (Community Based Organizations) respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. I thought it would be good to revisit this message for those who have read it, and to inform others in our membership of what we can do from Calgary.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation needs your support to ensure that our grassroots partners have the resources they need to keep vulnerable communities healthy and safe during these challenging times. With lockdowns in place, access to food and medicine limited, people cut off from support groups, and fragile healthcare systems under strain, community-based organizations provide a lifeline to people affected by HIV and AIDS. Our SLF partner organizations are local institutions who are known and trusted in their communities. They’re the critical support systems that vulnerable communities need during this time. They’re well positioned to be flexible and to focus on emerging challenges posed by COVID-19.

The SLF is committed to supporting our partners during these times. We’ve launched the COVID-19 Appeal to ensure that life-saving grassroots organizations have the resources required to be flexible and responsive as they meet the most pressing needs of their communities.  As a supporter of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, we’re asking you to please consider making a donation today by visiting the SLF website and clicking on ‘DONATE’, or by phone at 1-888-203-9990, ext. 0.

Your donation will make a difference for grandmothers, children and young people, people living with HIV and AIDS, and LGBTQ communities across sub-Saharan Africa. Together, we can help safeguard the progress grassroots organizations have made in turning the tide of AIDS, and prevent COVID-19 from having disproportionate impact on their communities.

Thank you for your support. 

In solidarity,
Meg French,
Executive Director

I’m sure, during the past month and a half, most of you have received dozens of appeals to help organizations in need. And I’m sure that each of us has done what is possible. Think of ALL that members of Ujamaa Grandmas have done over the past for our African sister grandmothers.

Thank you if you have already made a SLF donation. Please continue to help in whatever way you can.


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.

The AGM scheduled for June 7th, 2020 may be held via Zoom. Please look for details closer to the date.

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 Or if
you know of someone who could use a little ‘pick me up’ call, please do not hesitate to let us know through

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.


Ujamaa Grandmas Calgary had another very successful year, thanks to the hard work put in by our members, volunteers, committees and the Board! We’ll get to how successful in a bit, but first let’s talk about some improvements we’ve made to finance-related items.

  1. The Annual budget was completed prior to the end of 2019, despite a tight timeline for our committees. Kudos to them for fitting this into their schedules; we now have a solid place to start in reviewing our operational expenses.
  2. The Sales Finance Committee was re-structured and welcomed new members. They accomplished their mandate by improving controls around payment collection at our major sales, working with the other committees to ensure no loss of funds this year!
  3. A robust review of our insurance coverage was completed. That review identified a need tO increase coverage to match our annual revenue, and also confirmed that we continue to carry liability insurance that covers all of us (members, volunteers and the general public) at all of our events and gatherings.
  4. We have streamlined the expense reimbursement process through e-Transfer payments, making it more efficient while still ensuring UG funds are safe. Approximately 95% of expense payments are now via e-Transfer.

Annual Gross Revenue from fundraising activities $116,820:

    1. Fabric & Yarn Sale……….$48,870
    2. Handcrafts………………….$46,880
    3. DeSonus……………………….$5,700
    4. SAIT Convocations…………$3,665
    5. Bagettes………………………..$3,230
    6. Bake Sale………………………$1,680
    7. BluesFest…………………………$490
    8. Ten Thousand Villages…….$415
    9. All others…………………………$870
    10. Donations (all sources)….$5,020

Annual Gross Expenses………………..$15,330
2019 Donations to SLF………………….105,000



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


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
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