Honduras Threads' mission is to strengthen the fabric of lives through work, pride and faith. We provide support to a social enterprise owned by 40 women in rural areas outside Tegucigalpa, enabling them to earn money in their own communities to help themselves and their families by making beautiful products in a safe environment.
In 2002, we started the first sewing co-op in Santa Cruz Arriba as a part of a multi-faceted mission trip from the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, Texas. We hoped to provide the women with a way to earn money in their own village. We chose embroidery and appliqué work because we were told all the women learned to embroider as little girls. We also chose a product that would have to be exported because the community needed to bring in new capital. What we learned when we began working with the women was that, although they learned embroidery as young girls, they hadn’t embroidered since. They knew only one stitch, and they didn’t do that one well. But the women stuck with it, persevered and were determined to learn to do quality work.
Honduras Threads became a separate nonprofit in 2005 to continue marketing the embroidery in th US, and to meet the demand for more co-ops in other locations. As we got to know the women in the first co-op, we learned three of the women were walking from Rincon de Dolores three hours each way every day because they needed work so badly. Also, three women were walking an hour and a half each way from Santa Cruz Abajo, and four others an hour and a half from El Pedregal to Santa Cruz Arriba. They all asked us to start co-ops in their own communities where more women would be able to work if they didn’t have to make such long walks.
Today there are more than 40 women working in the social enterprise Mujeres Artesanas Arte y Creatividad in rural communities near Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras. Honduras Threads provided initial training in embroidery technique and recordkeeping. Now the women train their own members.
Honduras Threads was approved as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2005. We provide the designs, donated appliqué fabrics, quality control, logistics, marketing, sales and access to supplies not available in Honduras. Our goal is to help the social enterprise move as close to sustainability as possible, realizing that it is also a mission and will need an ongoing presence in the United States. Since 2002, we have sold over 7,000 items and returned $342,582 to the co-ops in Honduras. The impact is building!
Fast forward to 2010 when mission team from Saint Michael and All Angels began annual training. See what the women learned each year.
2010 - Calculating percentages of fiber content for US Customs labeling
2011 - Introduction of computers, Word and Excel
2012 - Cost accounting, Excel template; sewing new pillow design
2013 - Internet, Honduras Threads website; sewing better finishes
2014 - Computer skills and/or sewing skills and machine maintenance
2015 - Computer maintenance, email, cost accounting, inventories and writing
2016 - Co-ops plan to join into a social enterprise, record keeping forms and procedures; new designs and advanced sewing skills
2017 - Social enterprise approved by Honduran government, beginning Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) business model