It’s difficult to imagine that just a month ago, our lives would be impacted to such a great extent, by Covid-19. I sincerely hope that you all have remained healthy, with no symptoms, and are able to enjoy each day, even in self-isolation. We want to be able to continue to be in touch, but in newer ways. I’ve extracted the following from the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s (SLF) Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign Call held last week. “We remain a community rooted in social solidarity…while practicing social distancing and self-isolation. Having physical distance from friends and loved ones, doesn’t mean we can’t be in touch and continue to offer support”. Our Ujamaa Grandmas’ announcement to reach out to us at is heartfelt. When you do, someone from the Connections Team or the Board will contact you.

How disappointing (but necessary) it has been to cancel all UG events and activities! I thank all of you who grappled with the situation and came to the right decision, for now, to postpone the ‘Fashion with Purpose’ event till November, and cancel the Fabric and Yarn Sale until further notice. So many of you are pivotal in both these events, knowing that we would continue to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation, with both of these amazing fundraisers. The Foundation has created a special Grandmothers Campaign solidarity donation page if you would like to use this alternative way to support the SLF. The link is It took awhile to become connected, so you may need to be a bit patient. You can indicate Ujamaa Grandmas, if you wish, so that we will receive credit for your donation. Many thanks.

You may have some extra time to watch SLF’s new documentary “Youth Championing Youth”
which was released last month. You can watch this at this link: I plan to do this between walks, Spring
cleaning, and contacting friends and family, as we are now at Day 13 of our self-isolation after returning home – and I intend to continue! Keep safe everyone, and please be in touch when needed.



The UJAMAA GRANDMAS Board has made the decision to not support the making of fabric face masks, as per the direction of Alberta Health Services and Health Canada experts.

Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, a leading Canadian infectious diseases specialist, and several other
experts caution that homemade masks should NOT be considered personal protective equipment against Covid-19. Sharkawy stressed that people shouldn’t consider wearing a homemade face mask as a substitute for regularly washing their hands, physical distancing and not touching their face. It is advised that healthy individuals should not wear a facemask.

Because of the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19, the safest and most helpful preventive strategy for everyone is to simply stay home, self isolate and follow all recommendations set out by Alberta Health Services.

For such industrious and giving individuals as our members, this is hard, but we will continue to strictly follow the guidelines set out by the Alberta Chief Medical Officer and the Alberta Health Services.


You have probably read the special Granny Bulletin which tells us how the Foundation is coping with the COVID-19 crisis we find ourselves living through. The staff are staying at home and doing their best to keep the important work of the Foundation running smoothly. A big concern for them is how our partners are doing and they state that they are committed to remain in close contact with them and will support them if COVID-19 affects them.

SLF has asked all Grandmother groups to postpone in-person fundraising events from now till
May 1. If we still want a way to fundraise, an online special Grandmothers Campaign solidarity donation page has been set up at this link.

At a time like this, online and social media really comes into its own. At the Campaign Call held last Thursday, many groups reported creative ways in which they keep in touch with each other including online meetings, Facebook communications and of course, the old-fashioned telephone.

The next Campaign Call is set for April 16 with the topic “Donor Stewardship’. Also, with many of us having more spare time than usual, you might like to know you can see the notes from all previous conversations here – involved/campaign-conference-calls/

Lastly, I end with this message from the SLF: “One of the wonderful aspects of the
Grandmothers Campaign is the strong sense of community. You have nurtured caring, supportive networks. You check in on one another regularly and care for each other. These
relationships and connections are especially important at this time. We will also keep in touch with you.”

Alison Longson
(co-regional liaison for Southern Alberta)


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