Common Threads builds community capacity to provide psychosocial support for survivors of violence, develops culturally responsive interventions in collaboration with local partners, integrates traditional practices with contemporary trauma treatments, promotes survivors’ strengths rather than treating their “pathology," and empowers participants as they make their way from victims to survivors, and from survivors to agents of change.
Common Threads provides a path to psychological recovery ifor sruvivors of violence in the critical period following acute crisis. Decades after the guns fall silent, many survivors are still paying the psychological costs of their traumatic experiences. Common Threads presents a unique evidence-based psychological intervention for healing from the enduring consequences of SGBV.
Communities have rich and valuable traditions for healing and promoting resilience that can be adapted to support recovery. The making of story cloths is a prime example of such an approach. When we began to explore the widespread cultural phenomenon of story cloth art as a response to the experience of violence and trauma, we discovered that in many cultures when women have faced unspeakable atrocities, they've come together to share their experiences, to support one another, and to sew their stories onto cloth as a means to find their way out of despair. Common Threads takes its inspiration from this practice (see the video at https://vimeo.com/84129707). The powerful artwork the women have produced on cloth speaks to us not only of their pain, but also of their resilience and strength. Through it they find a way to connect to one another and to the world about their experiences and activate their capacity for coping with what has happened to them.
Common Threads was successfully piloted in Ecuador in 2012, and projects were subsequently launched in Nepal, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and most recently, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Future projects include a project serving Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and a pilot project for survivors of torture in New York City.
TPO Nepal, UNHCR, in Nepal
Federation de Mujeres de Sucumbios, Ecuador
Vive Zene, Snaga Zene, Medica Zenica and Zene sa Une in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Dobkin Family Foundation
Pro Victimis Foundation
The Oak Foundation