Philanthropy is a form of doing. Giving your resources, your time, your concern, your money, your voice is an act that says: I stand with you. I believe in your practical and your intellectual capacity to remake the world. And it’s maybe even a way of saying: I love you. 

*Jessica Horn, Director of Programmes, African Women’s Development Fund and former Senior Advisor, African Institute for Integrated Responses to Violence Against Women and Girls with HIV and AIDS (AIR).

This is the essence, in my mind, of what Ujamaa Grandmas members do.

We’re highlighting the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) this month. I know many of you receive mailings from SLF and the Granny Bulletins which keep us updated.  Please read Marilyn Simmons’ and Alison Longson’s (our co-liaisons for SLF) article further on. You can learn about SLF Conference calls the 3rd Monday, and possibly the 3rd Thursday, of each month.  There are many ways we can be informed about the marvellous work being accomplished by the SLF and the Grandmothers groups. I will have copies of the SLF Annual Report for 2018 and the moving book, “Powered by Love”, available at our gatherings if you would like to borrow them.  Also, we are delighted that Idah Nambeya Mukuka, Senior Advisor to the SLF Grandmothers Campaign is once again visiting Calgary and that we’ll have a chance to learn more from her.  She was last here for the book launch of “Powered by Love” and is a vibrant and informative speaker.

The March Granny Bulletin again provided us with more insight and encouragement.  For those who have not read this issue, please do so.  You can visit the website of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign at

In this issue, the evolution of the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s African Grandmothers movement since 2006 is so evident.  I remember Ujamaa Grandmas’ initial goal was to send funds to SLF for our African sisters for essentials such as housing, food, clothing, and school supplies to support their orphaned grandchildren.  The three Grandmother Gatherings held in Uganda (2015), South Africa (2016), and last year in Tanzania have provided platforms for the grandmothers to enhance the awareness of gender inequality with each of their country’s governments as well as to promote their human rights. Grandmothers are being trained for leadership and advocacy roles; they have started revenue-generating projects with the help of SLF and they are becoming involved in local and national politics!  They will definitely continue to benefit from the SLF’s – and our – support!

Ujamaa Grandmas has certainly evolved. Our Annual Reports from various Board members and Committee Chairs will be available in preparation for our Annual General Meeting to be held on Sunday, May 5th in the afternoon at Christ Church. Plan to attend to learn about the year’s events, how we’re adapting to the much larger group of members we have, and how successful we continue to be.  Eveline Goodall, one of our members, will be our guest speaker and will speak on two African organizations with which she is involved. Meet our new Board members and those of us who are ongoing members. More details to follow.

The Fabric and Yarn Sale preparations are in full swing.  Online registration for volunteers on April 24th to 27th is now available. This is such an amazing event with hundreds of us working together. Join us! There will always be someone to guide you in whichever area you chose to help.

See you there!


It is Southern Alberta’s turn to host the Fall Regional Gathering if we want one this year. Some groups thought every other year would be adequate.

We have sent the request for hosts out to all Southern Alberta Groups, suggesting they may want to join forces with another group or groups to do this.

We need to make this decision soon.

The Aeroplan Mile matching week in February raised 2.1 million miles. Congratulations! Of course, you can donate miles at any time.

The GRL annual meeting was in Toronto in February and we are including a few items you should be aware of:

  1. A reminder that there are Conference Calls for new members or anyone who is interested or has questions on the 3rd Monday of the month at 10:30 a.m. MT. (Unless that Monday is a statutory holiday). These are information-sharing sessions to give new members an opportunity to speak directly with SLF Grandmothers Campaign staff. Those wishing to participate should RSVP to: and they will be provided with the conference call phone number and dial-in details. Calls generally last about 1 hr.
  2. Also, it is now possible to have Regional Conference Calls using the SLF Conference Call Line so keep this in mind if you ever what to plan events with other groups.
  3. The Grandmothers Campaign Team is proposing to start hosting Thematic Campaign-wide Conference Calls on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 10:30 AM starting in April. These calls will be open to all members and groups as a way to share ideas, best practices, tips and tricks that groups are using successfully. The first two sessions proposed are April 18 which would address “Recruiting and Retaining” and May 16th: “Rejuvenating Members: The Fun, Social and Educational Components of Groups and the Relationships Created Within Groups”.

Do you think these would be helpful to you? The staff would welcome your ideas and thoughts.

Additional themes could include but are not limited to:

  • Recruiting and engaging younger women to join group.
  • Building community partnerships
  • Sponsorship and Grants Start
  • Leadership structures within groups
  • Using technology: websites, FB and online resources that groups use

Of course, attracting new and younger members and retaining present members is a universal issue which was a big topic at the Toronto Gathering. There will be a compilation of suggestions and ideas related to this topic available on the SLF Campaign website at some point. There will also be an additional Conference Call toward the end of May for treasurers and group chairs framed as a “Treasurers Corner and Financial FAQ”.

Added to the SLF Fundraising page, there is a special section with fundraising suggestions for the “small but mighty” groups which could also be used by larger groups. On our Facebook page please tag your posts with @SLFGrandmothers for wider distribution and please “Like” another groups’ posts if you see that is also helpful to the Campaign.

Alison and Marilyn


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, 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 23, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, May 16, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Saturday, June 15, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, July 11, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, August 8, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Saturday, September 7, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, October 3, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, October 31, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Saturday, November 30, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
WHERE: Marda Loop ATB at 2140 34th Avenue SW


The annual Fabric and Yarn Sale cannot happen without your help. Any time and any help you have to give will be gratefully
received. There are two ways to help; before the sale and during the sale.

SET UP – Main need is for sorters and knowledge of fabric and yarn is an asset. You are invited to select a preferred area in which to work and best efforts will be made to honor this preference. However, once needs are filled in any specific area, you may be assigned to an area of greater need. Please respect this assignment to ensure we can be prepared for the public.
SALE – Duties include assisting customers on the sales floor, cleanup, transportation of recyclables (cardboard & plastics), and organization of the leftover fabric and yarn.

Please fill out one form for each day, you can select as many shifts as you’d like to volunteer for on each form. When we have enough volunteers for a shift or for a particular area it will no longer show up as an option. The volunteer schedule will be sent out on April 7, 14 and 21 to all volunteers who have signed up. Sign up will close at 6:00 PM on April 23, 2019.

To volunteer for the F&S Sale, sign up here. and select the “F&Y GENERAL SIGN UP” tab.


Pre-sale donations of fabric 1 metre or longer, yarn, knitting needles, sewing notions, thread are accepted through contact with

Donations are accepted at Woodcliff United Church Wednesday, April 24, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM and Thursday, April 25, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM


WHAT: 2019 Fabric & Yarn Sale
Setup Dates
Wednesday, April 24, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Thursday, April 25, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Friday, April 26, 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Sale Dates
Friday, April 26, 2:30 to 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 27, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
WHERE: Woodcliff United Church, 5010 Spruce Drive SW, Calgary

To volunteer for the F&S Sale, sign up here.

Get your purse size posters here and your full size posters here.

  • The committee will try and adapt the pre-registration to your preference but sometimes it is just not possible. Specific days and times are not the concern, it is where you want to work that can be an issue.
  • Substantial donations and a very tight setup schedule frequently demand a shift in manpower and your understanding is greatly appreciated.
  • 2019 cashiers will not register online.
  • The 2019 Quilt Room is moving upstairs. This is a very popular area with repeat customers so if you could broadcast the change it will help with the transition.
  • Apple boxes are fundamental to the setup so please collect as many as you can.They can be collapsed, but not crushed, for easier home storage and dropped off at the church on Wednesday, April 24 when the setup begins at 10:00 AM.
  • Fabric cardboard rectangles and rolls can always used.
  • Canisters that will hold knitting needles are needed. They should be heavy enough not to fall over and tall enough to hold various lengths of needles.




We are looking for cashiers to help with customer service at the annual Fabric and Yarn Sale. Duties may involve: processing credit and debit transactions on a technological device, making cash transactions, issuing receipts etc.Cashier training sessions will be provided prior to the sale days and the duties will be reviewed 1/2 hour before shifts commence.

Cashiers shifts are scheduled for the duration of the sale and will include a 30 minute break around the halfway mark.

We also need individuals who have good mental math abilities to work as tally counters. Duties would include checking and totaling purchases on customers’ tallies and in turn, directing them to cash stations.

Lastly, we would like to have a list of spares who are willing to be on call in the event of an emergency.

The success of the sale is dependent on our volunteers. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

To volunteer as a cashier or tally counter, sign up here and select “F&Y CASHIER SIGN UP” tab



Now is the time to register for Demo Day 2019!

9:30 AM – Doors open at Woodcliff Church (5010 Spruce Drive SW)

10:00 AM – Gathering Activity

10:30 to 11:30 AM – Registered Sessions #1

  • Odd Ball Knitting Ideas – Mary Anna Louise will share ideas for using leftover balls of yarn to create new projects, OR
  • Stripping for Fun or Profit – Janet will show a variety of samples using the “sew strips together, then cut.” method.  So many possible variations.

11:30 AM to 12:15 PM – Let’s talk about upcycling, recycling, zero waste, slow fashion and more!  What does it all mean and how are the Ujamaa Grandmas making a positive contribution.
Eco Friendly Show and Share. Please bring in items that you have created that you feel help to reduce waste in our world to share with our group.


1:00 to 2:00 PM – Registered Sessions #2

  • Maker’s Journalling – Cheryl will share a variety of ways to plan, organize and celebrate your creations, OR
  • Ziptastic with Patty – Metal, coil, vislon, open, closed one end, closed both ends, by the yard, #3, #5, #8 #10 locking sliders, free sliders. Yikes. Come learn to speak zipper and pick up some cool tips for adding zippers to a project.

2:00 PM – Farewell and Draw Prizes

Looking forward to a great day of learning, sharing, and connecting!

WHAT: Demo Day 2019
WHEN: Wednesday, May 8, 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM
WHERE: Woodcliff United Church, 5010 Spruce Drive SW.

Please Register here.


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)


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


Serving on the board is a great way to get involved with Ujamaa Grandmas. You can play an important role in shaping role in shaping the future of our group.
We are looking for several enthusiastic members to replace directors that are retiring.
The position of Vice President is open as well as 2 members at large.
Someone with a communications background would be greatly appreciated.
The board usually meets once a month for approximately 2 hours.
If you would like more information please send an email to
Your name will be passed along to the nominating committee who can give you more information on positions.  If you know of someone who would make a great candidate, consider asking their permission to pass their name along so that we can be in touch with them.