Partly situated in West Bengal on the Bangladesh border, the group is based in the Sundarbans, an outstandingly beautiful and remote region of . . . mangrove forest. Being such an isolated part of the world, the area is a key target for gangs of human traffickers and income generating opportunities, especially for women are scarce.
A little more about the women...
We met the NGO supporting the women when on a Customer Trip to West Bengal before lockdown gripped the world and were immediately impressed with their work and mission and how their values aligned so closely with Secret Projects. They work with groups of marginalized women who are at risk of being trafficked and help them to enhance their sewing skills by providing tailoring and stitching training and then go on to earn income by using these skills. We were very keen to work together, but obviously the global pandemic meant that plans had to be placed on hold.
We launched our Sponsor Secret Face Masks for India appeal in May '21 to not only help slow down the spread of the virus in the country, but to provide our Makers with a chance to earn money to support themselves and their families and children by producing the masks. We decided that we wanted to distribute the masks in and around Bengaluru, where many of our Makers live as well as in the regions of Andhra Pradesh and the Sundarbans.
How we are working together
We contacted the NGO and had a very productive meeting via Zoom and agreed that the group would make 1000 sponsored face masks for Secret Projects and distribute them to communities most in need in the area.
Lissy, our Quality Controller and Maker provided virtual training about how to make Secret Face Masks to our specifications and the production process has now begun! The group has started by making a small number of masks that have been returned to Lissy for a quality control check before full production begins. She has been very impressed with the standard and is currently feeding back to the group about a few small adjustments that need making and following this the stitching of the 1000 face masks will commence. We look forward to sharing further details about the making of the masks and their distribution soon.
We are excited to be working with this new group of Makers at what is an incredibly difficult time for India and look forward to growing and developing our relationship to empower women through training and the making and selling of clothing and homeware.
If you would like to sponsor a pack/s of Secret Face Masks, please click here for more information.
Photo: The women from the Sundarbans Maker Group with team members of the NGO that supports them.
As provisional members of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), we are absolutely delighted to have been chosen to be featured in one of their . . . latest programmes, 'Beyond Beautiful'
‘Beyond Beautiful’ is a curated collection of artisanal products from verified Fair Trade Enterprises around the world.
How does it help our mission to empower women in India?
It promotes the work and stories of global craftspeople providing a new sourcing opportunity for retailers and importers wishing to expand their fair trade offer. So, in a nutshell, being part of Beyond Beautiful showcases Secret Products to new markets and buyers keen to purchase from ethical producers and Fair Trade product lines.
A great opportunity for us!
It is one of our major goals to increase our profile amongst retailers, importers and wholesalers, giving the opportunity for Secret Products to be sold more widely all over the world. Being part of Beyond Beautiful is a wonderful step for us towards achieving this goal and we are proud and excited to have been chosen by WFTO as one of their featured producers.
If you have any contacts within the retail/wholesale world who are keen to expand their range of fair trade products, please pass on their details to our CEO, Fritha Mason: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Kantha Blankets made for Secret Projects as featured in Beyond Beautiful
The first ever AGM of Secret Projects Community Benefit Society (SPCBS) was held on Wednesday 30th June 2021 via Zoom. We were delighted to have 25 . . . Shareholders attending the meeting in person, with a further 23 Shareholders represented via proxy.
Opened and chaired by Secret Projects CEO, Fritha Mason, presentations were given by:
Banke Ajayi, Financial Director of SPCBS
Fritha Mason, CEO of SPCBS
Sumathi Thyagarajan, Acting Director of Social Power India (SPI)
Shin Rumani, Marketing Manager of SPI
Margaret Ring, Communications Manager of SPCBS
The main theme of the meeting naturally revolved around the affects that COVID-19 has had on the business and Banke Ajayi was able to provide a positive report about how the Society has fared financially over the last year. She stated that we had survived the global pandemic, which is a good base from which to grow over the next few years.
As this was our first AGM, the team were excited to present and engage with Shareholders and were delighted with how the meeting progressed and the positive comments received from people. We would like to express gratitude to our Shareholders for their continued support and positive involvement in Secret Projects Community Benefit Society and we look forward to our second year as a Community Benefit Society and empowering women in India through the training and the making and selling of clothing and homeware.