Common Thread is a group of sewing co-operatives that give participants the chance to build confidence, earn a decent income and participate more strongly in their communities – one stitch at a time. The not-for-profit group’s goal is to provide a flexible workplace for people with barriers to employment, like Fatemah Hasani, a new immigrant from Iran.

Born in Iraq and raised in Afghanistan, Fatemah moved to Iran with her family when she was 11. She lived there unitl 2005, when she and her five children moved to Canada. The single mother arrived in Vancouver with no job and no money. Once her support from Canada’s new immigrant program ran out, Fatemah began working in convenience stores. When she was feeling disappointed and unable to provide for her family, Fatemah heard about the Common Thread co-operative. She placed a call in 2009 and has been an integral and reliable member of the group’s production network ever since.

“Fatemah is always ready to lend a hand or offer encouragement to new sewers, making the work site a better place for everyone,” says Melanie Conn, a manager at Common Thread.

Besides catering to communities that lack employment support, Common Thread is an environmentally sustainable business. Every product is made of repurposed street banners, preventing them from reaching the landfill.

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