We are pleased to introduce you to our new quilters. All are obstetric fistula survivors who have been surgically repaired. None had ever picked up a hand sewing needle before joining QFE. This photo of their first class learning basic embroidery stitches is a testimony to how hard they work.
Thanks to their perseverance and the instruction of our Program Director, Norah Otondo, the women have made remarkable progress in a short time and are now laughing and enjoying quilting together.
The women have also been able to work on our Fistula Foundation Commission by making small quilts with the Fistula Foundation Logo.
Being able to see has also made a big difference. Reading glasses sent from the US has helped two women. As one said “Before I was not able to set the thread in the needle with my bare eyes, but now I can.”
We are thankful for the dedication of these remarkable women and look forward to seeing how they will express themselves in their quilts.
Here are the stories of some of our new quilters.
Norah was born in 1998, the last born of a family of six. She finished form four in 2017 but has been unable to continue school because she lacks the money to pay for the school documents she needs to enroll. When she was in school, she was sent home to get school fees, which her parents could not afford. Her mother sells small things to earn income and her father is a casual day labourer, but is weak and cannot work much. Her dream is to return to school.
Esther was born in 1992 and is married with three children. She got her fistula in 2011 with her first child while single. When the baby was two months old her sister-in-law organized her marriage to her brother, but never disclosed that Esther had a fistula. Luckily, he was mature and when she explained her condition, he accepted her. A year later after hearing about fistula repair on the radio, Esther had successful surgery. However, she acknowledges life was very hard when she was leaking and she isolated herself.
Tabitha was born in 1959 and has been a widow since 2012. She has six children. She got her fistula in 2017 and leaked both urine and stool. It was so stressful that she developed high blood pressure. She was desperate. Fortunately, a colleague where Tabitha worked as a trained early childhood teacher asked why she was so sad and had grown so thin. After Tabitha told her colleague about her fistula, arrangements were made to have it treated in February 2018.
Everlyne was born in 1998 and is single. She got her fistula in 2017 after a long labor and a cesarean delivery of a stillborn. She leaked stool for about three months before being repaired. Her family has had mixed reactions about her condition. Her life has been difficult, sad, and without peace.
Carol was born in 1987. She is married with one surviving child shown in the photo. She got her fistula in 2014 and the child died. She suffered greatly and her husband left her. She went back to her parent’ home until she received treatment. She returned to her marital home after being treated. Carol is our primary seamstress and an extremely hard worker.