Category Archives: INFORMATION


The BIG news and buzz from the Foundation continues to be the hugely successful 15th Anniversary Concert which I hope you got to enjoy. The accolades poured in from across Canada and the world. This from South Africa “It was an outstanding Concert. Hats off to all the organizers!” – Lyn (Springs, Gauteng, South Africa) and this from our Executive Director Meg French “It was a wonderful evening of performances that were powerful, and entertaining. The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign is an integral part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation and we are privileged to have the support of so many amazing women. What a way to kick off the celebration of the 15th Anniversary of the Grandmothers2Grandmothers Campaign. You will be pleased to know that the concert raised $121,125,00 and is still counting.”

It was sad to hear from Stephen Lewis that his cancer has returned but lovely to see him at the concert. I’m sure we all wish him well and hope he remains as comfortable as possible. This is a very good article about him written by Steve Paiken.

As usual there is an amazing amount of activity emanating from the grandmother’s groups. Please keep checking the website events calendar for ideas and events. There are so many activities you could take part in every week!  Please join the campaign calls whenever you can. It is so nice to meet grandmothers from all over the country and hear some great ideas for fundraising.

Put the third Thursday of the month at 10:30am on your calendar and sign up for the link.


The theme for this year’s National Volunteers Week (April 18th to 24th) was “The Value of One, The Power of Many” which highlights the essence of UJAMAA GRANDMAS (UG) and the Grandmothers2Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF).  Thank you to all our volunteers for the thousands of volunteer hours that you gave over the past year, resulting in the many UG successes we’ve experienced, despite such a difficult year.  The kick-off to the SLF 15th anniversary, “Together in Concert” was so uplifting and raised $125,000, as of mid-April – we received a lovely thank you note.  Again, the collaboration of so many Grandmother’s groups was powerful indeed!

There are several upcoming opportunities and events in this e-News such as participation in “Stride to Turn the Tide”, Demo Day and the May Gathering.

The UG Annual General Meeting will be held by Zoom on Sunday, June 13th at 1:00 pm.  Our revised By-Laws will be presented for approval by the membership.  You will be receiving a separate notification to register.  If you need help to connect with Zoom, please send a request for help to .  We’re here to help.

May you be well, have your vaccines when possible, and appreciate the small joys of each day.

Jan Geggie



Again this year the SLF Stride to Turn the Tide will be Virtual. UJAMAA GRANDMAS will join with other Grandmothers groups across Canada to raise funds for SLF. Walking, biking, swimming, gardening, cooking, housecleaning, etc., activities that can be calculated into steps. Our goal is to stride across an African country. Please consider joining the UJAMAA GRANDMAS team by reaching out to friends & family for sponsorship.

More information coming soon. If you have any questions, please email them to


The following is an item that has been added to Monthly E-News so that the Members can “meet” and get to know the Board Members.
To hopefully put a Face to a Name that you may have seen on emails or committees.

I am happy to introduce Caroline Sanregret to the Members of UJAMAA GRANDMAS. For the full write-up, check your May E-news.


You will be able to join us for one or all of the sessions using the link provided in your May E-news.

  • No other registration is required.
  • The Zoom Demo Room will open at 9:00 AM.
  • Members check your May E-news for Meeting ID and Passcode
  • Come in and get settled before our first session starts at 9:30 AM
  • There will be door prizes for each session.

9:30 – 10:30 AM –  Confessions of an Hex Addict – Janet B – I have a confession to make about my Confessions – I hate Y-seams! After a brief look at English Paper Piecing we will spend the rest of the hour exploring many ways of constructing Hexie and Half-hexie quilts using a variety of settings to avoid those pesky Y-seams. We’ll check out a few speciality rulers and also discuss patterns that use only standard rulers. In addition to the tried and true, some new designs will also be presented fresh from my design wall.







10:30 – 11:00 AM – Break and Join up time

11:00 – 12:00 PM – Tips and Tricks for Knitting the Best Hats and Mittens – Mary Anna Louise K. This Demo Day Workshop will include tips for choosing the best yarn, casting on/off, seaming (and avoiding seaming), what to do about those pesky holes around thumbs or crown of a hat, why gauge matters, blocking methods and benefits, stranded mittens (colorwork) tips.May also include a few pattern recommendations.

12:00 – 12:30 PM – Lunch Break – Chat – Join up time

12:30 – 2:00 PM –  Clothesline Bowls – Carol S. – Come join Carol for an interactive clothesline bowl demo. Carol will be showing you how to make a bowl with just clothesline, thread and your sewing machine. Scraps of fabric can be added for embellishment but are not required. Feel free to purchase your own clothesline and be ready to give it a try during the demo. A variety of both cotton and polyester clothesline can be purchased at Home Depot (Everbilt) or a nice cotton clothesline (Household) is available at Along Came Quilting. Bowls are typically made with 3/16” but the smaller 9/64” worked as well.

WHAT: Virtual Demo Day (Facilitators: Janet Barker, Cheryl Mills, Glenda Sweetland)
WHEN: Wednesday, May 5, 2021, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
HOW: Zoom (Members check your May E-news for Meeting ID and Passcode)



Donations continue to be attributed to our group as more individuals access Bianca’s energizing and informative presentation. So far $1860 has been donated on behalf of UJAMAA GRANDMAS to the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmother’s campaign. We are 75% of the way to meet our goal of $2500.
Bianca’s presentation is available by clicking on the link HERE.

Bianca’s books Hum if You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh can be ordered from Owls Nest Bookstore HERE.

Donations to the Stephen Lewis Foundation can be made HERE.

Please feel free to share this information with family and friends.
Thank you – Education and Awareness Committee


A tisket, A tasket, Let’s Buy a Basket!

A member of UJAMAA GRANDMAS, Yvonne Way, is selling baskets made in Rwanda with ALL profits going to UJAMAA GRANDMAS!!!  These beautiful baskets are woven by a weavers cooperative in Gashora, Rwanda.  The weavers are fairly paid, with their profits going to support a small NGO, Journey House Actions Rwanda (JHAR), which provides educational and nutritional programs in Gashora.

UJAMAA GRANDMAS has a connection with a group in Victoria B.C. that is closely connected to JHAR.  A founding member visits Rwanda yearly and brings baskets back to Canada to sell.

The sales here have been swift, these are the remaining baskets.  Yvonne will pursue buying another batch for future sales – it will be announced in the E-News when it happens.  All of the baskets still available are $37.50 each.  Please contact Yvonne at with your basket of choice (look closely for the item number) and to arrange payment and delivery.

Thank you!

Items #26, #5 and #28

Items #3, #20, #11, #8


New Members welcome!

The book to be discussed is titled Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin. This book is a quick read, with a loveable main character, while addressing serious themes.

Contact message@ujamaagrandmas if you’d like to join us and we’ll send the link a couple of days before.

WHAT: Africa Book Club – “Baking Cakes In Kigali”
WHEN: Friday, May 7 at 1:30 PM.
HOW: Zoom for the foreseeable future



Over the past year, we have been introduced to virtual meetings (often via Zoom) in ways we never imagined possible.  To support our membership in the use of Zoom and other technologies, we have put together a little document to further assist everyone’s success in using the technology. There are tips for both the person new to virtual meetings as well as for those familiar with online meetings who are seeking some additional ideas.

Click here for some tips!

If you have additional tips to share, please let us know at

Judy Hansen, Board Member


Good morning, everyone,

I just opened and read our monthly March E-news and am sitting here with awe and respect for all the members of UJAMAA GRANDMAS.  Our voice is strong, our resilience in this time of Covid amazing, the necessary inventiveness of changing to make things work now is a reflection of strong, intelligent, caring and creative women.  And, best of all, doing it all together/apart!

Thank you also for the reminders of our mission, goals and values.  All that has happened in this past year reflects on each and every one.

So, thank you all.  It is an honour to be part of UJAMAA GRANDMAS.

Sincerely, Carla Lorfing


“You don’t know what someone is going through, be kind ~ always.” That is a sentiment worth remembering on a daily basis. Recognizing that those around us may have limitations because they are dealing with a difficult situation that we cannot identify, yet needs to be honoured, is in keeping with everything UJAMAA GRANDMAS stands for. Being mindful of the fact that others can be fighting a battle that you are completely unaware of is a great strength. Some of our members are struggling with their health, or an injury, or supporting a family member going through treatment for a health crisis. Others are dealing with loss, possibly brought on by the pandemic. And there are those that simply find the restrictions put in place around Covid 19 extremely difficult. The reality is we all have times in our journey that challenge us.

One of the greatest strengths of UJAMAA GRANDMAS is: ‘we do what we can, when we can’. What a welcoming and embracing mantra! That mindset has acted as a form of support to all of us at different times as we have dealt with life’s challenges. May we continue to shed light on each other to ease a burden, may we continue to be patient and understanding with each other when working together, and of course, when we have a choice, and we always have a choice, may we do what we so often do, may we lead with kindness.


Looking Back, Looking Forward: Celebrating Fifteen Years of the SLF’s Grandmothers Campaign

The Board would like to celebrate this anniversary by producing a virtual exhibition of art, photography, poetry and prose. We will invite submissions that speak to what members’ involvement in UJAMAA GRANDMAS is, and thus what the Grandmothers Campaign, has meant to them.  It could be a poem about meeting one of the African grandmothers; a photograph of a special handcraft sold in one of the sales; a piece of artwork inspired by a story about the work of the SLF in Africa.  We hope the submissions will tell our story in diverse, colourful, entertaining, and meaningful ways.

To put this all together, we need a small organizing committee, and some specialized expertise (such as web design). If you are interested in being part of this initiative in some way, whether on the committee or as a consultant in particular aspects of the project, please respond to We are happy to explore with you how you could become involved in a way that suits you and helps us with this project!

Sincerely, Leslie Buckle



Feedback from viewers of Paying Tribute to the Grannies of Soweto by Bianca Marais:

  • “What an incredibly powerful evening. Bianca is an amazing woman”;
  • “Very professional”
  • “What a great speaker. Now I want to read her books”.
  • “I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Bianca’s talk last night.”

The presentation is so pertinent to the work that we do as UJAMAA GRANDMAS and we highly recommend viewing this impactful recording.

For those of you who were not able to view the presentation on February 24th and for those who would like to share the opportunity with friends and family, the link is HERE.

Thank you to all who attended the presentation Paying Tribute to the Grannies of Soweto by Bianca Marais.  Bianca is an inspiring speaker who shared her story of growing up in apartheid South Africa as a privileged white child nurtured by her African “maid”.  Bianca has spent her life questioning and grappling with conflicting emotions about privilege, growing up as a white girl under the apartheid regime in South Africa, and the oppression towards Black people that she was witness to. Her story is one of an early awakening to systemic abuse and prejudice and challenging it—even when it was unpopular, even when she benefited from it. Bianca shared how she watched the devastation of HIV and AIDS in her country and especially how the black population was impacted. Bianca was a volunteer for ten years with a Stephen Lewis Foundation partner in Cotlands and is an avid supporter of the work of the Foundation.

Thank you to Judy Hanson, Sandra Burgess and Frances Teves who worked with The Education and Awareness Committee to coordinate the many details that went into the organizing of this event. Thank you to Jan Geggie, President of UJAMAA GRANDMAS for her opening and closing remarks. A big thank you to Sarah Layton, Office and Logistics Manager, Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Bianca’s books Hum if You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh can be ordered from Owl’s Nest Bookstore.

Bianca’s presentation is free but donations are encouraged to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Donate to the Stephen Lewis Foundation HERE.

Education and Awareness Committee:  Anne Taylor and Susan Plesuk


The gross income from 2021 Yarn & Fabric Public Market Sale was $17,500. Special thanks to Rachel Bryant, Carol Spring and Frances Teves for the extensive online component this sale required.

  • Expect to see Eventbrite customer registration entry used in future Fabric & Yarn Sales.
  • After two long years the storage homes are empty and I cannot thank everyone enough for your help.
  • Any more donations will be declined until April 1, 2021 when the Province of Alberta COVID-19 vaccination roll out enters its second quarter.
  • Two of the larger storage homes can no longer participate, so if you can offer any amount of area, it would be greatly appreciated.
  • The Magic of Christmas also extends it thanks.
  • UJAMAA GRANDMAS donated enough fabric and notions from the sale to supply its costume department for its Christmas 2021 campaign.

Proposed 2022 Annual Fabric & Yarn Sale at The Magic of Christmas Apr. 19, 20, 21 (setup days), 22, 23, 24 (sale days), 25 (clean up)

Easter Sunday is Apr. 17, 2022.
Please direct any questions to

Great Job!
Mona Jones



  • Members could do a Show & Tell at the Monthly Zoom Meetings of what they are making. It would be fun for everyone to see what is going on and might inspire others.
  • Looking for a Member who might like to provide a ‘Facebook Tutorial’ for members who could use a little guidance in that area. If anyone would be willing to do that, please contact
  • We are looking for people interested in being on the Nominating Committee to find Members to serve as Board Members next year.  Yvonne Way and Louise Breadner are currently on this committee. If interested, please contact and your email will be forwarded to them.

Check the E-News each month for the Zoom link. 

Wednesdays/Date Time Main Facilitator C0-Facilitator
January 20, 2021 7:30 PM Annette Koelwyn Yvonne Way
February 17, 2021 10:00 AM Leslie Buckle Judy Hansen
March 17, 2021 1:00 PM Yvonne Way Annette Koelwyn
April 21, 2021 7:30 PM Judy Hansen Jan Geggie
May 19, 2021 10:00 AM Liz Forseth Janice Lambert
June 16, 2021 1:00 PM Leslie Buckle Liz Forseth
July 21, 2021 7:30 PM


Thanks to Zoom, BAGETTES met twice a month during 2020.  We encouraged one another with show and tell, tips and tricks, pattern testing and challenges. We also shared via our Facebook group.  In the summer, we were able to meet safely outside twice to share supplies and see things in the flesh. This ability to work together and connect on a regular basis made a significant impact on our emotional well-being during a difficult year.  We plan to carry on and we are currently working on two new patterns for 2021 release. We have begun a series of bags recognizing our grandmothers. There are two so far; a French grand-mère, RYLEY and an Icelandic grandmother, AMMA. It seems we are diverse and there is more to come.
An ART TOTE challenge using our wine tote pattern resulted in the completion of 10 unique, art-inspired, wine totes. These totes were featured in an online auction in July and resulted in proceeds of $1167.70.  We felt that the items that went to BB&B were our best yet and despite the difficult times, many bags and pouches were sold. 
With so many bag makers at home, 2020 was a great year for the BAGETTES’ pattern store on Etsy.
A few milestones were met and passed that allowed us to raise a cheer.
  • Four new patterns were released in 2020 and reception to those patterns was very exciting thanks to some help from our strongest supporter, Emmaline Bags of Spruce Grove, Alberta. When Janelle puts BAGETTES in her newsletter that goes to 25,000 bag makers, visits to our shop and sales sky rocket.
  • As of this writing, 1350 copies of our patterns were sold in 2020 – 53% of those sales were from our new patterns.
  • Revenue for 2020 passed the $10,000 mark in early December and continues to climb. This revenue is gross – does not take into account cost of supplies, fees, or taxes.
  • The first Etsy sale was on December 31, 2019. Since then, more than 1620 patterns have sold in the shop. This includes 42 copies of Backpack Bundle which is 3 patterns but is counted as one sale in the count. 
  • More than 400 shoppers have favourited our shop.  This affects the search dynamics sending more shoppers to our store. 
  • Ratings of our patterns remain five-star with almost 70 reviews.
  • We rebranded with a new banner and logo thanks to the support of Vancouver Island artist Anvil Island Design. In January we plan to do a formal launch of this new brand with a virtual party – aka sale.
If you have UJAMAA friends who share a common handmade endeavour, we strongly encourage you to try this form of meeting and sharing. Your group need not be formal. No one needs to be in charge other than to schedule and book the zoom nor does there need to be any high degree of organizing. Just get together virtually to work on your chosen interest, share ideas and patterns, chat, connect. You might be surprised at what may happen.


As mentioned in the December E-News, one of our members advised us of the Toronto Grandmothers Partnering with Africa fundraiser. They have a selection of beautiful Scarves and Pashminas for sale on their website. Each item sells for $20 plus shipping costs. Check them out HERE.


Our UJAMAA GRANDMAS members have many creative and lucrative ideas for new and ongoing fundraisers; the UJAMAA GRANDMAS Board sincerely thanks everyone for their tireless efforts and ingenuity.

To contribute to the success of our UJAMAA GRANDMAS events, the Sales and Finance Committee has worked hard, combined with direction from the Board, in creating a framework to be used when planning fundraisers. We are pleased to announce a new set of forms to assist in the successful planning of future UJAMAA GRANDMAS fundraising events.

  • The first of these forms must be completed and submitted 8 to 10 weeks prior to any upcoming event.
  • Following the first forms, there are additional forms to guide you through the planning process.
  • These additional forms should be submitted at least 4 weeks prior to your event.
  • Once we are all familiarized with the process, these forms will be a great help in the planning of our events!

A reminder that in keeping up with these unusual times, the UJAMAA GRANDMAS Board has developed COVID-19 Risk Management forms, including the AHS Screening Questionnaire for any UJAMAA GRANDMAS in-person and on-line events. These were designed to make it easier for anyone planning an event and laying the foundation to keep everyone safe.

Please email “” to obtain the required forms or for more information.


Please note that the Board is looking for one or two Members to join the Nominating Committee. This committee would help find individuals to fill the two vacant positions on the current Board (ie. the Events Liaison plus a Member at Large).

If you are interested in being on the Nominating Committee, or in filling the Board position of either the Events Liaison or Member at Large, please contact and your email will be forwarded to the appropriate person.