Expanding Our Maker Network

Expanding Our Maker Network

 19th Feb 2018 |  Stories about our Makers |  Fritha Mason


In 2011 the Indian Government introduced the National Rural Livelihood Mission. The scheme is focused on promoting self-employment and organisation of people who have received no or little education living in rural areas, where employment opportunities are limited. These training programmes, which are delivered by NGOs, include practical skills training in areas like tailoring and they encourage the formation of self-help groups. The self-helps groups support each other through their shared spirit of community and their shared experiences and challenges.

After the training has been delivered the NGOs move on to another community to deliver the next Livelihoods Programme, leaving those who have received the training with new skills but often without the confident and resources to generate an income from this new skill.

This is where we come in… Secret Projects builds on the Livelihoods Programme by inviting self-help groups onto our Training for Empowerment Programme. We train the women how to make Secret Pillows but we also work with them to explore ways they can create other income-generating opportunities for themselves. Their shared vision is to become financially independent and our goal is to support them on their journey.

Since Secret Projects began we have trained over 500 women, many of whom have completed the programme and set up their own business, or are now delivering training for Secret Projects, quality controlling our products, or sourcing materials locally. We now call the self-help groups 'Maker Networks' and they are located in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The women tell us how much they enjoy working with Secret Projects and tell us how their income has made a difference to their lives. The money they earn typically goes towards basic living costs, such as paying for their children to go to school, food and medicine.

We would now like to invite 50 new women in Southern India to join our Training for Empowerment Programme and join our existing Maker Network of around 300 women. To cover the cost of the training programme need to reach our target of selling 150 Secret Pillows and, to help us achieve this target we have just launched our International Women's Day campaign #tellher which encourages everyone to buy a Secret Pillow for a woman in their life who they appreciate. Click here for more details about our campaign.

A few of the women in the Nilgiris, a UNESCO world heritage site in Southern India who we want to invite onto our Training for Empowerment Programme. 

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We would LOVE you to donate any unwanted sewing supplies to us!

We would LOVE you to donate any unwanted sewing supplies to us!

We can make such good use of your pre-loved sewing supplies We have added various items of pre-loved sewing supplies to our online stores, including . . . scrap fabrics and buttons for the past few years and it has developed into a small but very good source of income for our Community Benefit Society. The pre-loved sewing supplies market is only getting stronger and is something we are keen to develop and grow and are therefore putting out an 'ask' to our customers and supporters (and of course, anyone else who reads this!) for your old sewing items. We would LOVE them! Ideas for sewing supplies donations! From scrap fabric, to buttons, to pins, to needles, to embroidery equipment, we would adore to talk to you about what you have. Sewing items can often have sentimental value - in fact, our Comms Manager, Margaret was just telling us about a pin cushion she has of her mother's that she could only give away to someone who would really appreciate, and make good use of. Maybe this has resonated with you. So, if you do have sewing supplies you would like to donate, please email Fritha Vincent Mason at: fritha@secretprojects.org. We would just LOVE your pre-loved sewing supplies!  
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The 2024 AGM of SPCBS will take place on 24th January 1-2pm UK time

The 2024 AGM of SPCBS will take place on 24th January 1-2pm UK time

The 2024 Annual General Meeting of Secret Projects Community Benefit Society We are delighted to announce that 2024 The Annual General Meeting of . . . Secret Projects Community Benefit Society will take place on January 24th at 1-2pm UK time. All Shareholders are warmly invited and notification and the agenda plus financial information have been sent out. Please do check inboxes and junk folders and if not received, please email: invest@secreprojects.org. We very much look forward to seeing our Shareholders and providing an update on our progress over the last year.    
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ADAPT - our latest product range has been launched and production is underway

ADAPT - our latest product range has been launched and production is underway

ADAPT FOR WHATEVER COMES YOUR WAY! What is ADAPT? It's a range of 8 stylish cases in a variety of colourways that help women  move from one role to . . . another in their lives.  Whether it's protecting your computer in  ADAPT laptop case or keeping your valuables safe and in one place whilst at the gym with ADAPT accessories case, ADAPT range has a useful case to help keep one organised! Crowdfunding! We were excited (and, if we are honest, a little nervous) about launching ADAPT through a crowdfunding campaign. The nerves stemmed from not having run a crowdfunding campaign for a number of years - not since we decided to sell Secret Projects and transform the business into the wonderful Community Benefit Society it is today, as we offered the opportunity for people to purchase shares. The nerves soon went as we embarked on the wild ride that is a crowdfunding campaign and we are absolutely delighted to shout proudly that we raised £1,200, and this has enabled us to begin production of ADAPT - our new range! Our Makers (the name we give to the groups of women who lovingly stitch our collections of clothing, accessories and homeware) have begun work on the range and we are beyond delighted to be able to offer these amazing women fairly paid work that uses their skills effectively and provides income to support themselves, their families and children. This is what lies at our very heart and why we exist. A huge thank you We can't of course announce this exciting project without saying a HUGE thank you to everyone who made a contribution to our crowdfunding campaign to get production of  ADAPT of the ground and up and running! We are very grateful to each and everyone of you. So, production of our latest product range begins, and we love the thought that we have helped to make life a little easier for women as they transition from one role to another in their lives. ADAPT for whatever comes your way!
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