Quilting Transforms Lives
Stories of Faith in Action 2009
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, HIV-positive women who take antiretroviral drugs will live for some time. But stigma around their HIV status means they have lost homes, jobs and family support, making it hard to earn a living.
More than 50 Women of Hope in Jos, Nigeria, are earning a living from piecing colorful African fabric into quilts, table runners, and bags. Recently, they tackled their biggest project yet: turning a painting by Chinese artist He Qi into a backdrop for the 2008 ELCA Global Mission Event (GME) in La Crosse, Wis.
Women of Hope, an ELCA-supported ministry in Jos, Nigeria, helps HIV-positive women learn marketable skills. This quilt was made in Jos for a Global Mission Event in La Crosse, Wis.
Piecing, machine quilting and assembling the 18 x 24-foot, 61-pound quilt took 13 women several weeks. The night the quilt made its debut on the GME stage, Women of Hope member Azur Riki shared her story. Azur told how Women of Hope helps HIV-positive women transform their lives. Sixty have been able to live in Bezer Home, which provides food, shelter, and pays children’s school fees while women learn sewing skills.
Today, they are renting their own homes, paying their children’s school fees, and supporting themselves. Some, like Azur, have purchased land and eventually plan to return to their home villages, where they are now respected and recognized as women living with AIDS.
Women of Hope is part of the Mashiah Foundation, which focuses on the needs of those living with HIV and works to prevent its spread. With solid support from the ELCA, the Mashiah Foundation’s holistic HIV/AIDS education, prevention, testing, counseling, and health program ministry is making a difference in Jos.
The ELCA supports Women of Hope and the Mashiah Foundation with missionaries Bayo and Mary Beth Oyebade, an annual financial grant and designated gifts. ELCA funds also support priority ministries of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN), including its health care ministry, communication system and water resource management and sanitation program.
The beautiful He Qi quilt can be borrowed from the ELCA Global Mission program unit. Call 800/638-3522, ext. 2642, for details.