MESSAGE FROM JAN GEGGIE

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!