MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT JAN GEGGIE

Many of you may have read about the appointment of Meg French as the new Executive
Director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF), in the Special issue of the Stephen Lewis
Foundation Granny Bulletin just received. Meg has an impressive background on the
international scene. Ujamaa Grandmas congratulates and welcomes Meg. To read more, click on stephenlewisfoundation.org/news-resources/news-articles.

How do you usually describe the work of the SLF? I’ve come to realize that I have not been
giving the full explanation, but rather usually talk about how African grandmothers are supported by the SLF to look after their orphaned grandchildren. On reading the SLF Year in Review “Powered by Leadership”, I have learned so much more! In the Financial Overview 2003 -2018, it’s reported that SLF has spent $118.5 million for programmes (direct support to over 1,800 initiatives) with 325 Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) in 15 African countries. I’ve known for some time that only 10% of total revenue was spent on Administration, only 8% of total revenue was spent on Fundraising, and a huge 82% spent of Programmes. As a measure of an organization, this is truly commendable!

There’s no complacency in the SLF. They continue partnering with Community Based
Organizations who work with “millions of children and youth” to help them understand and
contend with HIV and AIDS. A staggering statistic highlighted that “every week, approximately 6,200 young women, aged 15 – 24, contract HIV”. I can’t help but think of all the young women we know collectively, and are thankful they do not face much of this. I read of gender-based violence against women and girls that continues to be rampant in sub-Saharan Africa. The SLF partners with organizations that treat survivors of this violence in three ways: medically; through psychosocial services; and by providing legal advice. You may be aware that LGBTQ communities in many areas of sub-Saharan Africa are persecuted and targeted with laws that criminalize consensual same sex relations among men and women. The SLF partners with 16 LGBTQ organizations in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which “offer access to HIV testing and counselling, as well as solidarity, legal services, healthcare, support and hope”.

Ujamaa Grandmas also continues its part in supporting the SLF. “Fashion with Purpose” on
April 4th will be a stunning event highlighting thousands of hours of designing and sewing
garments that are beautiful and impressive. Tickets are now available at Eventbrite – invite your family, friends, and work colleagues to enjoy this event. You or they may want to take a one-of-a-kind garment home! Also, planning for the annual Fabric and Yarn Sale on April 24th and 25th is in full swing and is sure to once again be a success. Watch for the registration to volunteer – we need hundreds of members to help. It’s very evident that Ujamaa Grandmas is not at all complacent! Thank you all.