Who We Are
We believe that all survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) are entitled to high quality psychological care. In order to achieve this mission, we build local capacity through training, launch scalable interventions, and conduct efficacy research. Common Threads Project is designed to be one component of a holistic approach in which a system of coordinated security, legal, medical, economic, educational and social services are also provided for survivors.
The Common Threads Project model, rooted in neuroscientific and socio-cultural understanding of trauma, revives an ancient practice found in diverse contexts: women come together to sew their stories onto cloth, to disclose the unspeakable atrocities they have experienced, and to support one another. Common Threads Project integrates this tradition with best practices from trauma-informed therapy, bodywork, and psycho-education. The women’s sewing circle provides mutual support and safety, and enables the multi-dimensional work of trauma recovery.
Having begun its work in 2011, Common Threads was incorporated as a Swiss NGO in 2014. Following the relocation of its Executive Director to New York, Common Threads Project was expanded as a US based non-profit in 2016. CTP has 501(c)(3) status under US federal income tax regulations.
Common Threads initial project was with Colombian refugees in Ecuador in 2012, followed by a subsequent project implemented in 2014 with Bhutanese and Pakistani refugees in Nepal. The Nepal project has expanded and continues with new groups of women participating. In 2017, our partner organization, TPO Nepal, held another training course to prepare more clinicians to lead CTP women’s circles in districts hardest hit by the earthquakes.
Our Bosnia-Herzegovina project was added in 2015. CTP trained 16 mental health professionals from four partner organizations to lead Common Threads Project women’s circles in BiH. These circles took place in Tuzla, Zenica and Bihac from 2016 until 2018.
In August of 2017, in partnership with Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation and Panzi Foundation, Common Threads Project launched a pilot project in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Fifteen Congolese psychologists and psychosocial assistants participated in our training course to prepare for leading multiple CTP women’s circles at Maison Dorcas of Panzi Foundation in Bukavu, and in the mining zones of Kamituga and Luhwindja, where sexual violence and exploitation of women has been most pervasive. The local staff embraced the CTP approach as their own. They named the program “Kamba Moja” (Swahili for Common Threads). The first round of women’s circles began in October 2017, and were completed in 2018. CTP plans to launch new circles in partnership with Dr. Mukwege and Panzi Foundation in Spring of 2019.