Heart to Heart Teatime for Africa

Keely Dakin
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Prince Albert’s Grandmother’s for Grandmothers is hosting a teatime fundraiser with handmade granny-goodies, live music and the sale of handmade Kazuri jewelry directly from Kenya.

All proceeds from ticket sales will go directly to Grandmothers for Grandmother’s Campaigns in Africa.

The organization helps grandmothers in Sub-Saharan Africa to care for their communities and their grandchildren, orphaned by AIDs. 

Teatime is set for Saturday February 16 at 2 p.m. at the Mann Art Gallery.

“We are going to have tea and scrumptious dainties. Not just dainties. They are going to be delicious. All handmade, all made by the grannies,” said Monica Bayda the chairperson for Grandmothers for Grandmothers Prince Albert.

Bayda anticipates a fun afternoon of music, dainties and jewelry buying.

“It will be fun. We want it to be a fun event and light-hearted. In the middle of February when things are blah, it’s a good thing to do,” she said.

Along with live music by the local group The Menfolk, they will show a video about the Grandmothers for Grandmothers Campaign.

All funds they raise are funneled through their parent organization the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

“Basically that is the …  umbrella organization. We work under the Stephen Lewis Foundation. They are the ones who do all the work in Africa and we are supporting them because they have the network there in the 15 different countries in Sub-Saharan Africa,” she said.

“Their focus is to help the grandmothers who are raising the grandchildren due to the HIV/ AIDs epidemic,” she said.

Since the organization began seven years ago, Canadians have raised more than$16.5 million for African grandmothers through the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

“It’s amazing how much money has been raised,” Bayda said.

“Because it’s grassroots, there is no government involvement. They go into a town or a small village and they will meet with the grandmothers and say to them, ‘if you had access to money, what would you like to do to enhance the life of your people in the village and you children?’ These grandmothers then come up wit the ideas,” Bayda said.

Types of assistance vary widely.

“Maybe (by) purchasing sewing machines for the young women to learn to be seamstresses, or digging wells, to cultivating gardens to opening up medical centres where people can get help for their illnesses,” Bayda said.

“Their focus is to help the grandmothers who are raising the grandchildren due to the HIV/ AIDs epidemic,” Monica Bayda

“They don’t tell the people what to do, they ask the people, ‘what would you like us to help you to achieve?’ Because otherwise you take away peoples dignity,” she said.

“The people we deal with in Africa are all local people who understand the needs of their people. We do not go into any community in Africa and write a cheque with no expectations for how the money will be spent. It is always a project,” she said.

During the Heart to Heart Tea Kazuri Jewelry will be for sale.  Prices vary from $15 to $45 a piece.

“Fifty per cent of the money goes to the foundation and 50 per cent goes to the women who make the jewelry. That’s how it’s divided up,” Bayda said.

“They are one of a kind pieces.”

Handmade from earthen clay that is molded into beads, fired then hand-painted in Kenya by women artisans.

“In the end it has a ceramic look to it.  It is a special clay and then it’s fired. A lot of work goes into making them, a tremendous amount of work. I was surprised actually how much work goes into it,” she said.

Kazuri means “small and beautiful’ in Swahili. Kazuri employs more than 400 women, most of who are single mothers. They produce more than five million beads in a year and export to more than 30 countries.

Grandmothers for Grandmothers was founded seven years ago in Canada and Prince Albert joined forces six years ago. Across the country there are now 240 chapters. Prince Albert’s chapter has 32 members.

Bayda believes in the adage of giving without expectation.

“The greatest gift you can give is when you give to somebody who can never thank you personally.”

Heart to Heart Tea tickets are for sale for $10 at Beth's Yarn Shop at 909A Central Avenue, 764-6910 or via Edith at 764-4588.

Organizations: Stephen Lewis Foundation, Mann Art Gallery, The Menfolk Prince Albert

Geographic location: Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya, Canada

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