Category Archives: INFORMATION


Bagettes and Handcrafts are offering a two-day workshop to UJAMAA members only during which we will make the latest Bagettes pattern – LAPEL TOTE. This workshop is suitable for a confident beginner or intermediate/experienced sewer and no previous bag making experience is required. We will talk about bag and lining structure and the role of interfacing, zipper choices, topstitching, bag “birthing” and finishing techniques. We will make and apply two zippered pockets, two slip pockets, ring tabs and a unique two-piece closure. Strap making will be discussed but the finished bag will use webbing.

Workshop can accommodate 10 members.

See examples of the workshop bag on Instagram #lapelcrossbodytote or on
Bagettes Facebook page at Ujamaa Grandmas Bagettes.

1. A hardware kit – 2 swivel hooks, 1 adjustable slider, 2 O-rings or D-rings (you get to choose), two-cord lock, exterior zipper, interior zipper. Pattern proceeds cover the cost of the hardware kit.

2. A fabric kit – exterior fabric, lining fabric, pocket fabric, contrast fabric, closure cording and webbing. All fabrics will be pre-cut and fused. There will be a class fee to cover the cost of the fabric kit.

3. Choice of non-woven accent materials from our stash of leather and vinyl.

4. Loads of additional tips and information for bag making.

Participants must bring:
1. A sewing machine in good working order and be familiar with its use.

2. Universal #12 or #14 needles. Please bring a spare just in case.

3. Your regular sewing foot, a zipper foot and the regular tools for sewing – snips, bobbins, thread in both a light and dark neutral, scissors, measuring device , rotary cutter small cutting guide.

4. LUNCH – bring your own.

5. Pattern must be purchased via ETSY. Workshop participants will be given a link to the site and a discount code after registration. The pattern purchase will cover the cost of the hardware kit. This email will be sent no later than March 15.

6. Prior to the workshop, participants are urged to read the pattern but no other pre-work is required. There will be “homework” to be completed between the two workshop days. This homework will require the participant to supply their own decorative bead or button for the closure.

WHAT: Two-Day Bag Making Workshop
WHEN: March 27 and April 4 from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM
WHERE: Along Came Quilting,  6432 1A Street SW, Calgary
COST: $7 plus GST to purchase the LAPEL pattern on ETSY. Registrants will receive confirmation, a link to the pattern and a discount code via email prior to the workshop. Pattern proceeds cover the cost of the hardware kit. $15 class fee to cover the cost of the fabric kit. This cost is being subsidized by Handcrafts. If you wish to keep your finished bag there will be an additional fee of $10 to cover the full cost of the supplies. Additional hardware kits will be available for purchase at cost at the end of the workshop.


Maximum 10 participants. Everyone who signs up will get a confirmation email and link to the pattern and additional details.

QUESTIONS? Just ask at


Reminder: Members from the Speakers Bureau are available for presentations to other groups you are involved with. Email

This month the Speakers Bureau 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)


Interested in ordering a Grandmother to Grandmothers Campaign T-shirt?

These shirts are 100% cotton (with compacted yarns to minimize shrinkage), available in sizes XS – 4XL and a range of colours: black, charcoal, maroon, kelly green, navy, purple, red & royal blue all with the white Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign logo.
All proceeds go the SLF through the Peninsula Grannies Group in Southern Ontario.
The cost is $23 and includes shipping to one address per Group.

If you are interested please contact Marilyn Simmons through
The deadline for ordering is March 15, 2019

GRL Report:
Alison Longson is now a co-liaison with me to the SLF for Southern Alberta.
Alison brings a wealth of knowledge of the campaign and a lot of experience with Ujamaa Grandmas to the position. I look forward to working with her in the coming year.
Please see the letter from the SLF Campaign Team.

Marilyn Simmons
GRL for Southern Alberta


Our AGM has been re-scheduled.  We need this additional time, as CalVista just notified us that they will no longer be our accountants. Please mark your calendars now – though you will receive notification closer to that date.

ALL members are invited – we want you to know all the exciting happenings in our vibrant organization! The 2018 Annual Report will be highlighted, as a culmination of all the activities that happened for the Ujamaa Grandmas in the past year.  The slate for the Board of Directors will be presented – see the Nominating Committee’s report as to what positions are available.

Our guest speaker will be Eveline Goodall who is one of our members, who will tell us about two organizations close to her heart and efforts – “Days 4 Girls” and “Inspire Africa”.  She will describe the philosophies of these two organizations, how they were established, and how they mirror much of what we, as Ujamaa Grandmas, do in our organization.  Refreshments (and they’re always so delicious!) will be served following the meeting.  More information to follow.

WHAT: Annual General Meeting
WHEN: Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 2:00 PM
WHERE: Crump Room at Christ Church, Elbow Park at 3602 – 8th Street SW, Calgary


VOLUNTEERING!  At what point in your life did you begin?  My mom was a ‘star’ volunteer – there were 5 of us kids in the family, and she became involved, in a volunteer capacity, in whatever we were doing.  She was an inspiration and role model for me, but I didn’t realize that at the time.  When we needed to advocate for both our sons, during their school years, we volunteered to establish our credibility.   ‘Volunteering’ must be in my genes – as I guess it is in yours, for whatever reason.

We are such an inspirational group of people who give of our time, efforts and talents.  There are now multitudes of opportunities to be involved with Ujamaa Grandmas  – come to the AGM in May to learn of all that’s happened in 2018.  I’m still learning so much about how many of you volunteer in so many different ways – a sincere thank you.  Our next major sales event is, of course, the Fabric and Yarn Sale – there are more than 500 volunteer ‘slots’ to make this fantastic event occur, and then raise a phenomenal amount of funds to send on to our African grandmother sisters, through the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF).  Watch for the volunteer registration in the April e-News, for the ‘set-up’ of products April 24th to 26th, and then the actual sale the afternoon of the 26th and the 27th.

Another of the inspirational aspects of Ujamaa Grandmas is our resiliency.  After the disappointing failure to complete some of the transactions at our Bags, Babies & Beyond sale in October, a Root Cause Review was established.  Thanks to both Alice Campbell and Leslie Buckle for undertaking this process.  They presented their report to the UG Board and Committee Chairs on Saturday, February 9th.  That afternoon, the Board accepted the recommendations of the report, and a Sales Financial Committee was established, to follow through with these recommendations for all fundraising events.  They met on February 23rd and will again on March 1st.  More details to follow in the April e-News.

This is a simple ’thank you’ for all of your volunteering.  We’re making a huge difference for the support of our African Grandmothers, and the Community Based Organizations with whom they are involved.  Our contribution to the SLF in 2018 was an amazing $152,890, which included donations made in our name!  And our total lifetime contribution is $1,347,557 – imagine how this has helped so many grandmothers and their families, over the years.

We’ve included letter from the SLF Campaign Team to tell you of the retirement of Ilana Landsberg-Lewis, who was the founding Director of the SLF.  She has given so much of her time, efforts and talents, as so many of you have done.  Thank you again!


Ujamaa Grandmas had a fantastic year (despite the loss of BB&B funds). The first quarter was all about preparation for the Fabric & Yarn Sale in April. And what a sale it was! As a new UG member, I was in awe of what you ladies accomplished. Your hard work, organization and attention to detail resulted in record-breaking sales of over $52,000 plus more than $1300 in donations!

The BB&B sale was equally impressive to a newbie like me; it was beautifully organized, and the unique and gorgeous items our members donated for sale were outstanding! The sale generated almost $45,000 plus an additional $2600 in donations. Sadly, $9600 was not processed. But our members and customers really came through for us and about $6700 of that was returned to UG in the form of payments and donations.

Other notable revenue generating ventures taken on by our Committees and members:
• Bag-ettes’ pattern sales: $2900
• Bake Sale: $2000
• SAIT Convocation: $2800
• Blues Festival: $2200

In the end, Ujamaa Grandmas generated in excess of $115,000 in 2018 – an amazing achievement! In turn, this allowed us to donate to SLF over $95,000! Grandmas Rock!


Last month one of the books highlighted was Powered by Love: A Grandmothers’ Movement to End AIDS in Africa by Joanna Henry and Ilana Landsberg-Lewis

PRICE DROP! Ujamaa Grandmas is now selling the book “Powered by Love” for $32. If you are interested in purchasing this book please email

This month the Speakers Bureau is highlighting one of the books reviewed on the Ujamaa Grandma website:
28 Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen
Stephanie Nolen was the Globe and Mail correspondent in Africa for six years and wrote this book of personal encounters with 28 different lives impacted by HIV-AIDS in Africa.

Stephanie puts a human face to the crisis created by HIV-AIDS in Africa. In her book we are introduced to women and men fighting a challenging battle created by the HIV-AIDS crisis.

Examples: Tigist Haile Michael, a smart, shy 14-year-old Ethiopian orphan fending for herself and her baby brother on the slum streets of Addis Ababa; Alice Kadzanja, an HIV-positive nurse in Malawi, where one in six adults has the virus, and where the average adult’s life expectancy is 36; and Zackie Achmat, the hero of South Africa’s politically fragmented battle against HIV-AIDS.

28 Stories explains how the virus works, spreads and often kills those infected. It describes the connection of HIV-AIDS to conflict, famine and the collapse of states. The stories highlight the benefits of treatment for those fortunate enough to be recipients and outlines the challenges of those struggling to cope often with little support

Although the book was written in 2007, twelve years later these stories are still very much a part of the HIV-AIDS crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Stephanie Nolen’s book is available at the Calgary Public Library.

Reminder: Members from the Speakers Bureau are available for presentations to other groups you are involved with. Email





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, July 7, 2018 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Thursday, August 9, 2018 from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Thursday, September 6, 2018 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Thursday, October 4, 2018 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Saturday, November 3, 2018 from 9:30 AM to 3:45 PM (private residence)
Thursday, November 29, 2018 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
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 7, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
WHERE: Marda Loop ATB at 2140 34th Avenue SW