A note of gratitude

Quilts for Empowerment ends 2018 with enormous gratitude to everyone who has supported us this past year. We met our fundraising goal of having 2019’s operating expenses “in the bank” – thanks to generous donors and people who bought our quilted products. Many did both. We have engaged new partners in our work including several churches, the Wildflower Studio in Sisters, The White Rabbit Bakery, George Fox University, and numerous individuals. Our quest for donated embroidery floss has brought contributions from Hawaii to Nebraska. We have also been blessed with numerous acts of kindness: an electric blanket for Norah who couldn’t get warm in Oregon; donated food and wine for our Benefit; dozens of cookies during Norah’s stay here; and hospitality for Norah in California that included snow in Yosemite.

We have exciting plans for 2019 – so continue to follow us here and on social media.

Norah's visit a big success

Quilts for Empowerment’s Program Director, Norah Otondo, made a powerful impression during her 10 days in Oregon. Her five public presentations about her own experience as a fistula survivor and the impact QFE is having on fistula survivors in Kenya reached out to over 200 individuals.

Her first appearance was at our Annual Benefit November 3rd. Despite being jet-lagged and very cold, Norah was amazing. After being introduced by Program Founder, Mary Ann McCammon,


Norah was welcomed by Stephanie Guieb from Hawaii.


Stephanie had a special gift for Norah in addition to lots of embroidery floss she brought from donors in Hawaii. Stephanie and the Fiddlestickstoo thread shop in Honolulu have, and continue to collect pounds of embroidery floss for us.

The next day, Norah was featured at a reception at First Unitarian Portland, where she spoke and answered many questions about fistula and our program.


Later in the week, Norah spoke at George Fox University to a packed room of students.

Sunday, November 11th began with Norah giving the sermon at Christ Lutheran Church in Aurora.


Her message was about the importance of hope, not only for fistula survivors, but for everyone. Christ Lutheran is a valuable community partner. Later in the day, Norah spoke to a standing room only audience at the White Rabbit Bakery in Aurora. The Bakery is another significant community partner. Afterwards, Norah finally admitted to being tired.

Someone asked Norah at the Bakery event about the differences she has experienced since being in Oregon and outside of Africa for the first time. Her immediate response was: “Men in the kitchen.” All week she had seen men cooking and cleaning up in kitchens. She also observed that “there are more cars than people here.”

Norah’s time with us confirmed several things: the power of hope and love to change the lives of fistula survivors; the importance of the growing community of individuals and organizations that support our work; and the power we each have to make a difference.

Upcoming events

QFE reminds supporters about two events that are coming up in November.

Annual Benefit: November 3, 2018, 2-4 pm. QFE's annual fundraiser will again be at the Wine Country Barn, 16200 Lewis Rogers Lane, Newberg. You will have the opportunity to shop our products and bid on a variety of silent auction items. Norah Otondo, our Kenyan Program Director, will keynote this event. Registration and early bird tickets are available at Eventbrite.com for $30. Hosted food and wine will be provided. Please download our flyer for details about the Benefit.

Reception for Norah Otondo: November 11, 2018, 2-4 pm. This will be another opportunity to meet Norah and learn more about how QFE has impacted Norah's life and the lives of women with obstetric fistula in Kenya. Norah is traveling outside Africa for the first time ever. The reception will be held at White Rabbit Bakery, 21368 Pacific Hwy E, Aurora. Light refreshments will be provided.

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Welcome, Justine


QFE is extremely grateful to add Justine Hostetler to our Team. Justine is our new Communications Intern from George Fox University where she is studying Communication Arts with an emphasis in theater. She loves people and hearing their stories. In addition to serving QFE with graphic design, public relations, and social media skills, Justine is the Greeting Coordinator for Bridgetown Church in Portland while she runs her piano studio and works as a freelance artist.

A new way to support QFE

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There is a new way to support Quilts for Empowerment. Donors can elect to make their gift in honor of others by sending the honoree this card featuring our seamstress and her daughter. Donors can request any number of thank you cards regardless of the amount donated.

To do this, go to the Donation tab and after clicking on it, click on ‘add special instructions to seller’ to give the name and address for where the cards are to be sent along with the number of cards requested. Make the donation, and the cards with envelopes will be mailed to you right away. Except for your tax receipt letter, you will not receive any other mail from us and you will not be added to a contact list unless requested.

It’s that easy! A great way to support Quilts for Empowerment and make a memorable gift to others at the same time.

QFE at the Sisters Show

We had a splendid reception last week at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Board member Deb Sorem, seen in the photo outside the Wildflower Studio with our products, and President Mary Ann McCammon talked to literally hundreds of people about our program. Many did not know about obstetric fistula so we did a lot of educating! The response was overwhelmingly positive, with offers to donate embroidery floss, financial donations, and invitations to tell our story in their communities. We also sold many of our products, especially the folk art quilts. A big “thank you” to Wendy and Chris, the owners of the Wildflower Studio, for sponsoring us. Please visit their website and if in Sisters, check out their store.

Another big thank you goes to Betty DeHaven who hand sewed the bindings and hanging sleeves on many of the folk art quilts we sold. Quilts for Empowerment is thriving because of all the support we receive from people like Betty, Wendy and Chris.