Archive for the ‘Updates’ Category

Quilts Received at Shaping Destiny Orphanage in Cameroon

June 9, 2012

We just got pictures of the children at Shaping Destiny Orphanage in Cameroon, Africa receiving their quilts.  This orphanage is sponsored by Orphans 360.  You can get an idea about the orphanage from the Orphans 360 website or from this youtube video

Here is a picture of the beds in the orphanage.  You can’t see it, but this is a bunk bed and 4 children sleep on the bottom bunk and 4 on the top bunk.  You will see in some of the pictures that there are 2 children with one quilt, and one where there are 2 pictures with different children but the same quilt.

Those children share a bed and will be sharing the quilt since we weren’t able to get enough quilts for all the children in just one trip.  Dr. Kenneth Acha who was born and raised in Cameroon and who is the founder of Shaping Destiny Orphanage hand carried as many quilts as he could in his personal luggage on the trip he just made to the orphanage.  He wanted me to let you all know that the children are very grateful for the quilts.

The children look very happy with their quilts.  You will see a lot of older boys (don’t mistake the short hair as them all being boys) in the pictures which is an age group that is often overlooked as needing help.  I’m glad that we were able to help since they are experiencing their cold season in Cameroon right now.  I hope you see a quilt that you recognize as having a part in its making either as the piecer or quilter.  But, even if  you don’t, please enjoy the bright smiles on the children’s faces and know that you were part of putting it there.    Thank you to all of you and to Dr. Acha for bringing warmth and comfort to these children.




Some interesting pictures

September 15, 2011

Fekade sent a link to where Door of Hope Humanitarian Services has posted some pictures on Picasa.  The quilt picture is a repeat of one we have already seen, but some of the other pictures show children which I swear are younger pictures of some of the children who received quilts.  Look in the album called “Dedicated Founders of the organization” to see those pictures.  Here is the link

Then there are some pictures posted on their facebook site.  Some of these pictures are also ones we have already seen, but there are three new ones.  You might even see a quilt that you made!

And, just a little tidbit, Sep 11 was the start of the Ethiopian new year.  If anybody knows Ahmaric  this is what Fekade called it,  “Meskerm 1” the first day of the year.

Take care,


More Quilts to Children

September 10, 2011

Fekade with Door of Hope Humanitarian Service sent some more pictures.  These are children on the outskirts of Addis Ababa in the subcity of Lafto.  These children are living with family and not in orphanages.  Ethiopia has been trying to reduce the number of children in orphanages and trying to keep the children with family even if it is extended family.  Unfortunately, there seems to be resources that are available to orphanages, but not to individual families.  You can see by the children in the picture that the children don’t seem to be as well dressed as the children from the orphanages.  I’m happy that we can provide quilts to those children.  And, when I was in Ethiopia, the people there told me that these quilts will be considered prize possessions of the children.

These pictures are very special to me.  You see, we all make these quilts and then we let them go.  As volunteers, we don’t know exactly where they will end up, but we hope that the life of the child who receives them is brighten by the gift of the quilt.  We don’t get pictures of all of the quilts that are delivered, and I’m sure that we all look hard at the pictures we do get hoping to see one of the quilts that we made.  Well, I have made well over 100 quilts, and I finally had the pleasure of seeing a child wrapped in a quilt that I had a large part in making.  I cut the kit that we handed out at the Houston International Quilt Festival, somebody else sewed the top (and if you are the person, please let me know), and the top was returned to me and I quilted it.  That adorable little boy in the 4th picture is wrapped in that quilt.  I couldn’t be more thrilled!

I hope you all have this same experience of seeing one of your quilts wrapped around some child halfway around the world knowing that you are putting a little love in their life.


High Res pictures posted

August 22, 2011

You can see high resolution pictures of the Ziway children posted on our Shutterfly site.  You can see a lot more detail than the ones posted on our blog.



Beautiful Smiles!!!

August 21, 2011

Ok, well the one little guy is crying, but I’m sure it isn’t because he is getting a quilt.  These are pictures of quilts being given to children in an orphanage in Ziway which is several hours outside of Addis Ababa.  Fekade, the General Manager for Door of Hope Humanitarian Service, (we have a link to their facebook page on our blogroll) sent these pictures.  When we went in May, we had left quilts with him to distribute to orphanages outside of Addis since we were not able to travel to them.

Here is what Fekade wrote when he sent the pictures.

“Dear Carolyn Sower, Thank you again for the quilts you gave me for the children that live in Ethiopia, Ziway. Here are some photos that I took when I gave them Yesterday.
God bless you and your collage who are working for these needy children.
Fekade Tesema
General manager of  Door of Hope Humanitarian Service”
It warms my heart to see those smiles, and I add my thanks for all your hard work.  Check out the names on some of those photos, that is how they were named when sent to me.
Fekade is also the one who has asked for another 200 quilts for an orphanage that will be opening up this fall.  Those tops and quilts you are making and sending to Carla will be provided to Fekade for that new orphanage.  So, ladies and gentlemen, keep those quilts coming – we want to put a smile on every child’s face.
I’ll be posting the pictures in higher resolution to our Shutterfly site when I get some time.  You will be better able to see the beautiful faces.  I’ll post and let you know when I do so.

I so did not know this!

August 11, 2011

I just ran across an article on the Quilts, Inc website that talks about QBB at the Houston show last year.  It even has a picture that we took in the booth of volunteers making tops.  It is in the section called Suzy’s Fancy.  You can read it here

How cool is that!


Sharyn’s Pictures From our Quilt Delivery to Ethiopia

July 8, 2011

Sharyn took a lot of pictures showing the children learning to sew.  They made clothes for the dolls, lots of yo-yos which some of the children put on headbands, and then scrunchies which you can see on some of the children.  You will notice in the pictures that a lot of the children choose to ‘wear’ their quilts with the quilt top on the inside and the backing on the outside.  It was interesting as the children choose their quilt that they didn’t choose following what many of us traditionally think of as gender-specific colors or designs.  You can see by the pictures that they were all thrilled with their quilts.  Sharyn even has some pictures where the boys went back to their bedrooms to put the quilts on their beds.

And, the murals on the walls we were told were done by Lufthansa flight attendants who come every year and paint in the orphanages.  Check out the painting on the trees, and the children whirling around with their quilts.

All of you who made tops, quilts or did quilting are responsible for putting the smiles on those children’s faces.

Link to the pictures


Karen’s Pictures from Quilt Delivery

July 6, 2011

Karen’s pictures of the children from our trip in May to deliver quilts to orphanages in Ethiopia are now posted.  It makes me smile all over again to see the joy on the children’s faces when they received their quilts.  Plus, there is a picture of the children’s dolls that they made clothes for.  They did a great job making the clothes.

Direct link to Karen’s pictures.  Hope they make you smile too.

Thanks everybody for your part in making it possible to deliver these quilts.  It’s not too late to get your tops and quilts finished and shipped to Carla for our upcoming trip the end of this year.  We are hoping to deliver 230 quilts at a minimum.


Karen’s account of the trip

June 7, 2011

I was on a flight to Frankfurt, Germany and then another to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Others were somewhat shocked and frankly, it seemed very surreal to me.  This was a trip I had never dreamed of nor longed for but, apparently, it was my destiny.

I worried some about being recognized by the driver who would pick me up at the airport.  But, one of my friends noted that I would probably be the only white haired grandma in the airport.  I agreed this was probably true.  What a surprise to find a very “full” airport and almost all Americans!  I learned that all of these people were on some sort of volunteer mission for the Ethiopians.  Truly, I have never been prouder of my country than that moment.  The driver found me, I didn’t need to worry about that.

Four years prior, I had made an innocent query of my God, “I have lived the good life, is there nothing I can do for you?

Just months later, I was to join up  with Quilts Beyond Borders and became involved in creating about 100 quilts per year, much due to generous donations of my neighbors at Lake Cavanaugh, Gold Canyon Arizona and also famly in San  Diego.  The creation of those quilts was all by the quilters in Gold Canyon, AZ – about 2 dozen of them  Some went to Ethiopia and some went to tent city in Haiti. In all, we were always thrilled to see them go to those, in need.

So…, last December, I was asked to help deliver quilts.  I joined 3 others, whom I had never met and we met up at a guest house in Addis, spending the next week , delivering quilts and researching orphanages who might need them in the future. We visited 4 orphanages and one child care center (for 4000 children).

In all, I think we saw institutions representing around 5000 orphans.  We were  pleased to see the good care these children were getting, as well as good education.  There are 4 million orphans in Ethiopia.  If all get such good care, Ethiopia will have a bright future.

The highlight of the trip was the “quilt giving” ceremony at the Ahope orphanage.

The children 4-10 are in a facility referred to as Little Hope.  The older children, of course, reside at Big Hope.  We passed out quilts to all, and those smiles will never be erased from my mind.  These children do not own the clothes on their back, but they own their quilt and that is a true source of joy.

A group of 11 AHope children came to our guest house each night to learn hand sewing.  Eager and enthusiastic, they dived into the projects and left us scrambling for new projects the next night.  It was especially nice, to get to know them “one on one”  They are kids, just like other kids but maybe just a little vein of loneliness running through.  On the 5th night, we said goodbye, with sadness. But, we felt we had kindled a fire for sewing and we left them with all the supplies to continue on.

Into every life there is an angel and ours was Charlene, originally from Whidbey Isl.  She now lives in Addis and has become our liason.  She can find orphanages who need quilts, store quilts and dispense craft supplies to those who need.  She also loves our mission so it was great to have her rooting us on.

We went, not knowing, that AHope was an awesome orphanage, staffed by people who are not only intelligent but who really care about kids.  Big Hope’s kids were leaders and mentors for the Little Hope kids.   We didn’t measure up to all the Hope that was there, but we did wrap them in quilts; we put huge smiles on their faces and as the cold season approaches, they can snuggle in.

In Hope, Karen Vander Stoep

175 quilts delivered!

June 4, 2011

I just got back from Ethiopia and we delivered 175 quilts to 3 orphanages.  We  gave each child a quilt in the AHope orphanage.  These children are all HIV positive.  There were 79 children and 2 more arrived the day we delivered.  Luckily we had included 5 additional quilts for just such a situation.  We also spent 5 days teaching sewing to 11 of the children who expressed an interest in learning.  We gave them each a doll and taught them how to make clothes and necklaces for the dolls.  We even had 2 boys who participated.  We also taught them how to make yo-yo’s and they absolutely loved making them.  They made necklaces with the yo-yo’s, embellished headbands with them and adorned their dolls with them.  We also taught them how to make scrunchies.  They were absolutely fearless in learning and so enthusiastic.

We gave 30 quilts to Door of Hope Humanitarian Service.  Fekade will carry those quilts to orphans in Ziway which is 160 km. from Addis Ababa.  He promised to provide pictures when he delivers the quilts.  He will be opening another orphanage in Addis this fall which will be for disabled children.  He is anticipating that he will need another 200 quilts for those children.

Additionally, we gave 60 quilts to Bethzatha Children’s Home Association.  Samuel had asked for 120, but we only had 60 left.  We are hoping to make another trip this fall and should be able to get the rest of the 60 to the orphanage then.  Samuel has orphanages in several regions in western and southern Ethiopia in addition to the one in Addis.

People always ask why we don’t ship the quilts.  Mainly it is because of the cost.  It is horribly expensive to ship to Ethiopia because Ethiopia is landlocked so shipments have to go by ship and then across land.  Our organization just doesn’t have that kind of money.  Additionally, transportation is rather unreliable.  We talked to an American couple who lives in Addis most of the year.  They had a small package that took nine months to arrive.  So we will continue to have all of our quilts hand carried to Ethiopia which makes distribution somewhat slow, but ensures the quilts do arrive.

You can see pictures of the children receiving the quilts at additionally, there are other pictures of Addis from our travels around the city.  Maybe you will see a quilt that you made.