Granny Bulletin: February 2017 – Aeroplan Mile Matching, The City of Joy, Ilana’s Letter, Gatherings, and More!

 Granny Bulletin: February 2017

Welcome to the Granny Bulletin, your source for news, stories and information about exciting initiatives from the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.


  1. This Week: Aeroplan Mile Matching!
  2. Ilana’s Letter to Grandmothers and Grandothers
  3. Introducing the Fundraising Corner
  4. Fundraising Corner: The GANG Adds a New Twist to an Annual Event
  5. Register Now for Spring Gatherings
  6. Celebrating 10 Years: A Call for Photos

Dear Grandmothers and Grandothers,

We recently shared an email with many of our donors about the City of Joy, one of our partners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We thought that you would be interested to learn something about the women at the City of Joy because their story is so important and inspiring. In particular, we thought that their “Ten Tenets” would resonate with many of you.

City of Joy is located in Eastern DRC–an area ravaged by civil strife and where rape has been wantonly used as a weapon of war. City of Joy is a beacon of hope for women across the region, offering a 6-month residential leadership program for women who have been victims of sexual and gender-based violence. The women live ten to a house and participate in a wide range of programmes: self-defence, literacy, fine arts, women’s rights, computer skills, advocacy and media training, accounting, income generation, and storytelling. Along with these activities, the women are actively engaged in building their community. They developed guiding principles for their life together:

  1. Tell the truth.
  2. Stop waiting to be rescued. Take initiative.
  3. Know your rights.
  4. Raise your voice.
  5. Share what you’ve learned.
  6. Give what you want the most.
  7. Feel and tell the truth about what you’ve been through.
  8. Use it to fuel a revolution.
  9. Practice solidarity.
  10. Practice kindness.

In an environment of perpetual instability, division and violence, these women choose to re-write the rules. They insist it can be different, that it must be different.

The spirit of the women at the City of Joy is not unique. It is reflected in so many grandmothers across the continent who are providing loving care to their grandchildren, supporting their grandmother sisters, leading their communities, and advocating for their own human rights. They know you choose to work in solidarity with them. You can never underestimate the importance of that support, both emotional and financial. As we approach the end of the 10 Year Anniversary of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, we feel lucky to be a part of this movement with you and look forward to what the next 10 years will hold.

In solidarity,
Healy, Carrie, Asmita, and Megan

P.S. Graham is on parental leave and loving it. We look forward to welcoming him back in mid-July.

1. This Week: Aeroplan Mile Matching

As many of you know, Aeroplan miles are essential to our work at the Stephen Lewis Foundation and especially for the Grandmothers Campaign. Aeroplan miles make it possible to bring African grandmothers and other African experts to Canada, enable Field Representatives to carry out monitoring and evaluation visits to community-based organizations, and allow community-based workers to travel and build unified networks across Africa.

Each year, Aeroplan gives the Stephen Lewis Foundation a week where every mile donated will be matched by Aeroplan. This year, February 27th to March 5th is the Foundation’s Aeroplan Mile Matching Week. Miles donated to the Foundation during this week will go twice as far!

If you have friends or family who have Aeroplan miles to donate, please encourage them to do so this week on the Aeroplan website.


2. Ilana’s Letter to Grandmothers and Grandothers

Every year Ilana Landsberg-Lewis writes a handwritten letter to grandmothers group members across the Campaign. She takes the opportunity to reflect on the year past and sets our collective goals for the year ahead. We have mailed and emailed a copy of this letter to the main contact of your group. Some of you have passed that letter along to members of your group and others are planning to read it at your next meeting.

If you’d like an email copy of the letter, please contact us at Recently we added a typed copy of the letter to the scanned handwritten copy for ease of reading. Feel free to be in touch if you’d like one or both versions.

3. Introducing the Fundraising Corner

We know that when grandmothers groups have the opportunity to meet with other groups, they love to share fundraising ideas and successes. You all put so much effort, love, and time into perfecting your fundraisers that it only makes sense to share that expertise with the rest of the Campaign. So, with this Granny Bulletin, we’d like to launch what we hope will become a regular “column” where groups can share descriptions of their fundraisers with each other.

We invite you to help make the “Fundraising Corner” a success by submitting a description of one of your group’s most fun and successful fundraisers to Please include a description of the fundraiser, a photo if you have one, any lessons learned, and an email address that we can use for connecting your group with grandmothers group members who want to learn more.

4. Fundraising Corner:
The GANG Adds a New Twist to an Annual Event

Submitted by the GANG:

Each April in Edmonton, the GANG holds a Fabric Frenzy where we collect a vast array of donated fabrics and offer them up for sale. Two years ago, as the “frenzy” of another joyful event began to quiet, inspiration struck! A couple of our members decided to use the beautiful fabrics that remained to make infinity scarves to sell to our community. If you’re unfamiliar, an infinity scarf is made in a circle so that you simply put it over your head and it stays in place.

Many of our members jumped right in to help sew the scarves, and sales were instant. We’ve now sold scarves to many people, in many places – from book clubs to women’s groups, retirement homes to markets. When we bring scarves to presentations given by our group, or to the clubs and associations to which our members belong, we’re often asked to return with more.

We are proud to share that 1,180 scarves have been sold, raising $24,450 for the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, and we are still going strong! It’s amazing how a little idea can make such a huge difference for African grandmothers.

If your group would like to learn more about the GANG’s infinity scarves (they have two sizes!), the patterns they use, how to hold your own scarf fundraiser, etc., please contact and we’ll put you in touch with the GANG.

5. Register Now for Spring Gatherings

When Spring blossoms, so do regional gatherings. It’s such a lovely opportunity to gather together, re-connect, share ideas, and feel the collective energy of this remarkable social movement. Of course, it’s also an important time to learn more about the work that African grandmothers and community-based organizations are doing.

This spring there are 3 regional gatherings planned, including the final 10 Year Anniversary Gathering in Ottawa-Gatineau, which features African grandmothers and a talk by Stephen Lewis and Ilana Landsberg-Lewis.

“Connect and Inspire” — BC Islands Regional Gathering (March 11)

“Reflect, Rejoice and Rejuvenate” 10 Year Anniversary Gathering in Ottawa-Gatineau (April 28)
featuring Stephen Lewis and Ilana Landsberg-Lewis in conversation 

“Harambee! All Pull Together” — Greater Van Gogos Regional Gathering (April 29)

To learn more about any of the gatherings or to register, please contact and we’ll put you in touch with the gathering organizers.

6. Celebrating 10 Years: A Call for Photos

From flash mobs to dinners, from fundraising parties to gatherings, we know that groups marked the 10 Year Anniversary of the Grandmothers Campaign in fun, creative, and meaningful ways.

To mark the end of this important year of celebration, reflection, and renewal, we want to put together a slide show that highlights 10 Year Anniversary celebrations and events from across the Campaign.

But we need your help! Please send us photos (with captions!) from your 10 Year Anniversary events. You can email them to or mail them to us. Please submit them by the end of March (although sooner is great, so we can get started).

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