I love finding and sharing stories of hope and inspiration – especially when they’re tied to quilting! In this difficult year of 2020, it’s comforting to be reminded of the goodness happening in the world as well as share ways to help anyone who has it harder than you do. I’m even more especially inspired by women who empower other women to succeed and provide a better life for themselves and their family. This story/cause includes all of the above. I’m excited to introduce you to One Common Thread.
Here is the background of the story in the words of One Common Thread founder, Courtney Kimball:
“I started One Common Thread in October 2019 to help my neighbors and friends in Honduras. My husband and I, with 6 of our kids, had been living in Honduras since 2017. We had got to know some of the regular kids from the nearby ‘bordo‘ on the street that were often outside of our apartment complex. One gal asked me for a way to make $5 instead of begging for it.
At the time I was making a hexi quilt for my oldest daughter’s wedding and thought I could have this gal make some hexis for me to help get a jump start on my quilt. Since I was in Honduras I didn’t bring any of my sewing machines with me, and so I was doing it all by hand. Her name is Skarleth and I paid her for her help in making 500 hexagons for me in one week. She was so excited about the opportunity to make money and soon her mother, aunts and cousins were all texting me tor work. Everyone wanted to make hexagons.
Though I love hexagon quilts I didn’t need thousands of hexis so we started trying to sell just quilt kits online. From there we started doing ready made quilts, table runners, masks and virtually anything that looks good with a hexi! Before leaving Honduras in March 2020 I had been teaching women how to make hexis, quilts, and we also started a little business education class for them. I was trying to teach them basics on starting and growing a business and just the concept of gross and net. Most of the ladies have only had a 6th grade education so there was a lot of basics to cover.
We continue to grow especially since the pandemic has begun. More and more people are out of work, especially in countries like Honduras where everything is shut down because of the virus. I also wanted to help these ladies because at the time we started, the caravans to the US were very popular – many were originating in San Pedro Sula Honduras, where we lived.
Many of my ladies had relatives and even husbands leaving to make a better life in the states. I could understand why they would take such chances and risk their lives but I wanted to talk to the ladies about it. Many of them told me that they would rather stay both because they loved their country and that is where their family lives, both immediate and extended. They didn’t want to leave for the caravans but the lack of work opportunities was making it too difficult to stay. Every lady that I have hired and taught hexi quilts to, has stayed in Honduras and is still trying to continue their lives in their own country. We now have 30 makers!
I don’t really consider this my business – it is just a way I facilitate these ladies to earn a living. They make, and I sell for them, returning all of the profits to these women. We have even built houses for many of our makers in Honduras. In all honesty, I could have just left and come back to the states and moved on with my life. But these women now are my friends and I love and care about them. I want them to succeed and more than anything I want their children to continue their educations and make a change in the family dynamic, and to do that I want to get the One Common Thread name out there.
I think as a wife, mother, and woman it is easy to relate that we all have the common thread of wanting a better future for our children, and we all want to be empowered to do that ourselves.”
Thank you so much for sharing your story and and example with us, Emily! I am so inspired by these women! You can meet and read more about each of these makers on the One Common Thread site. There is also a video where you can see more of their stories, homes, and experiences. Their individual stories are both sobering and inspiring as you read about the realities of their every day lives. I love seeing the pride in these women’s faces as they have created something with their hands that will provide a better life for their families. I think that feeling is so universal.
There are many ways to support these hard-working Honduran women. Visit the One Common Thread website (and feel free to share it with anyone who would be interested! ) They offer a selection of premade (basted) hexagon kits that come ready to piece together, as well as a large selection of finished hexagon quilts for sale.
You can also donate directly to One Common Thread to support these families. Any size donation makes a difference – even a very small contribution. By small and simple things, great things are brought to pass. I’ve seen that many times before with our community of quilters.
I also encourage you to follow One Common Thread on Instagram to stay up to date on the women and their quilts.
POST UPDATE: Since sharing this post earlier this week, most, if not all, of these women and their families have been severely affected by Hurricane Eta. If you have any small amount available to donate or purchase from these women, the need is greatest now more than ever.