Guest Blog by Cinnamon Stapleton
Photo shows women from Secret Projects Maker Group, Nature, Andhra Pradesh with Secret Projects CEO and lifelong friend of Cinnamon, Fritha Mason (nee Vincent)
On 4th November 2018, I ran the New York City Marathon to honour the life of my mother, Ingeborg Coe, and to raise money for Secret Projects.
Inge was a formidable woman who was the definition of empowerment. She left Austria at 19, raised her children as a single mother, travelled to India where she trained to become a professional yoga instructor. Incredibly creative, stylish, wise, outspoken and unique – a force to be reckoned with! Countless people have told me what an inspiration Inge was to their lives, it is clear that her intellect and spiritual awareness touched many people.
I decided to raise money for a cause that truly represents everything that we are celebrating about Inge. As it so happens, Secret Projects embodies it all and it’s founder and CEO is my lifelong friend, Fritha Vincent. Inge loved Fritha and always commended us on our friendship, which began in 1987.
Established in 2014, Secret Projects operates as a social business connecting to women, through Indian NGO’s, who need help finding income generating opportunities. Secret Projects trains the women to make its fabric products and then sells their products internationally. Revenues generated are used to drive towards self-sufficiency, and are spent on further training and product development/sale. Through this process the vision of Secret Projects is realised: a world where women have the confidence and resources to make their own choices for themselves and their children. Secret Projects products are far more than just a product on a shelf, each tells a unique story and is a powerful vehicle of empowerment.
I contacted all my friends and family and ask them to help me raise money to support a specific group of women in Andhra Pradesh, a southern state that has been in drought for years. There are 18 members; between them they have 40 children. Drought means that there is little crop growth and the women’s main focus is finding water and storing it safely for drinking.
The only viable employment opportunities are in factories under diabolical conditions, which have devastating effects on the physical and mental well being of the women. Secret Projects is already working with these women to start a journey of empowerment for them through its 4-stage programme. Through Secret Projects these women will realize their dream of enabling their children to have the best education and chance in life, so that they do not face the same challenges.
I was blown away by the response, where together we raised over £6,600.
I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me and joined me in honouring the life of my incredible mother, Inge. I am truly touched by everyone’s support and with every step that I ran, I thought of my supporters, Inge, and the Makers in India.
Thank you all so much.