A Triptych of Transformation

Recently, we shared the sad news that Mary Ann McCammon, a dear friend and partner to Fistula Foundation, had passed away.

Mary Ann was the founder and board president of Quilts for Empowerment (QFE), a nonprofit organization that sells hand-sewn quilts made by fistula survivors in Kenya. Mary Ann’s legacy lives on in the exceptional quilting work that she sponsored, and in the extraordinary nonprofit that she built to help women in Kenya.

She designed and quilted the triptych below to illustrate the stages of a fistula patient’s journey. These quilts have been shown in museums around the country to educate audiences about the condition and to inspire people with the hope that fistula surgery can bring to women who have suffered. Mary Ann gave this set of quilts to Fistula Foundation. They hang in the entryway of our office to greet us each day with a powerful story of transformation.


The cloud of patriarchy looms large over a village in Africa. A boy goes to school, while a girl must stay home to tend to her family’s house and land. The low status of women, combined with poverty, is a key barrier to accessing fistula treatment.


Fistula breeds anguish and isolation. It is a devastating condition that leaves a woman incontinent, ashamed, and alone.


The joy that a woman feels after she has been healed is immense. She can, once again, contribute to her community and live a full, happy life.


Published on January 13, 2023

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