Common Threads Project

Common Threads Project

Common Threads Project

Survivors of sexual and gender-based violence– even if they are trapped in war zones or displaced as refugees– deserve a full opportunity to heal from the deep psychological wounds they have suffered. But rarely are long-term psychological services available where rape is a pervasive weapon of war.

Inspired by ancient cultural practices and validated by current neuro-scientific understandings of trauma, Common Threads Project has developed a unique and effective group recovery program.

In a safe and supportive environment, women create story cloths to depict experiences that may be hard to express in words. This becomes an entry point for a multi-dimensional therapeutic process. We build local capacity through training and mentoring, build successful interventions and conduct rigorous research.

3D exhibitions

  • Common Threads Project

    The Fabric of Healing: Story Cloths by Survivors of Trauma, War and Gender-Based Violence

    This exhibition brings together 22 story cloths made by women from Bosnia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador and Nepal as part of a recovery program designed for survivors of sexual violence, trauma, and displacement in conflict-affected areas. Common Threads Project, in collaboration with local partners, has developed a transformative trauma intervention where women can heal together, find their strength, and create community. This integrative therapeutic process is rooted in current neuro-scientific understandings of trauma and inspired by an ancient cultural practice of sewing story cloths to depict experiences that can be impossible to express in words. The textiles are storytellers — they are messengers. They convey unspeakable suffering with power and immediacy and also demonstrate courage, resilience and human dignity. Despite the haunting scenes of human rights abuse, violence, and loss, the story cloths also bring us into the fullness of the lives of their makers. They will not spare us the depth of their pain. They will also bring us the sun, the rivers, the fields of their villages; they will speak of love and care. The exhibit invites us to bear witness; to be a part of the healing process of the survivors by hearing their stories, acknowledging their pain, and affirming their hopes. Might this interaction change us too, and inspire us to act in solidarity? This exhibit, and the work it features, is made possible by donations from people like you. Please visit to learn how you can support the creators of these cloths in their trauma recovery.

    latest works

    • Testimonies
    • This is What Helped Me to Survive

      Democratic Republic of Congo, 2017
    • Bridge Over the Una

      Bosnia, 2016
    • Only Some Cross to Safety

      Bosnia, 2018
    • Common Threads: Witnessing
    • Common Threads Project: Video
    • Part 2: Surviving Atrocities
    • The Arpillera Group

      Ecuador, 2015
    • The Red Cow

      Bosnia, 2016
    • We Are Like These Birds

      Nepal, 2015
    • This Is What I Need You to Know

      Ecuador, 2013
    • Here Is My Childhood

      Ecuador, 2013
    • Proud After Struggle

      Nepal, 2016
    • A Girl is Not Safe In Her Own Home

      Nepal, 2015
    • Blamed For a Stillbirth

      Nepal, 2014
    • Loneliness

      Nepal, 2016
    • We Are the Ones Who Are Bathed In Blood

      Nepal, 2015
    • Forced to Marry My Rapist

      Democratic Republic of Congo, 2018
    • Dark Places In the Mine

      Democratic Republic of Congo, 2018
    • This is What Helps Us Cope

      Democratic Republic of Congo, 2018
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