Up Close: ‘One Common Thread’ Organization Helping Women In Poverty

Feb 20, 2020, 10:10 PM | Updated: 10:25 pm

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – A Utah woman now living in one of the most dangerous cities in the world is helping to bring women out of poverty by teaching them a skill that’s giving them new hope. 

Courtney Kimball who is living in Honduras with her family has taught a number of mothers how to sew quilts. They now make the quilts and Kimball and her sister Kym Frey, who lives in Salt Lake City, helps sell them online.

“You can see the tightness of the stitches and just the complexity of the actual pattern itself, Frey said told KSL TV’s Dan Rascon as she showed the colorful quilts that are all hand made by the mothers.

The women live in what’s called the Bordos, or the slums of San Pedro Sula, Honduras — one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

When you go into the slums or the Bordo, you have to go with an armored guard, you can’t go by yourself, said Frey, who has visited the area several times while visiting her sister who lives just outside the Bordo. 

But for Courtney Kimball, the Bordos are where some of her dearest friends live.

The conditions are very grim. Very grim, Kimball said in a Facetime interview with KSL TV from Honduras. They are living day-by-day, they don’t have cupboards full of food like we do in the (United) States.” 

Kimball has taught 20 mothers shes come to know her skill of sewing. As a result, the women are now hand sewing quilts. Then Frey, who lives in Utah, sells the quilts online so the mothers can make money. The sisters call it One Common Thread, which is in the process of becoming a nonprofit organization.

There are very few jobs for women and this is just an opportunity that we saw that we could help these women, said Kimball. They can bring home rice, they can bring home bread, they can bring home milk, they can afford the formula. That gives them a sense of pride because they’re taking care of their families. Because they have their children there, and they have to watch them all day, they have no other opportunity to get employment. So this is their first opportunity to have employment.

Kimball and her family have been living in Honduras for three years because of her husbands armored vehicle business. She came up with the idea after a young woman came to her wanting to earn money for bus fare and it grew from there. Their joy comes in seeing the change in these women’s lives.

They are learning a skill,” Kimball said. “They are learning how to talk to people. They are very excited about the things they are making. 

We’ve really created something that they can truly love and they can truly enjoy doing and they love having their little sewing circles, and to give them this opportunity to be able to look beyond what’s the next day is going to bring them they actually have a future whereas before they didn’t,” Frey said.

The sisters said 100% of the profits go to the women making the quilts. Right now, they are selling about three of the quilts, which go for several hundred dollars depending on the size and style, each week.

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Up Close: ‘One Common Thread’ Organization Helping Women In Poverty