From the Heart of... our Team

 5th Nov 2020 |  From The Heart Of... |  Margaret Ring

We are proud to introduce Sumathi, Secret Projects General Manager and newest member of the team, as part of our 'From the Heart of' series. 

Through this collection of stories, we want to take you to the centre of Secret Projects, right to our heart to discover what drives us as we journey towards our vision of a world where all women have the confidence and resources to make choices, thrive and contribute to the strengthening of their communities. What keeps us going? What joy and love do we encounter on the way to women's empowerment?

Get to know Sumathi better by reading her interview about her work with Secret Projects and a little about his home life below: 


Question: In a nutshell what does your role at Secret Projects consist of?

Sumathi: Working with Secret Projects is really awesome. I work here as General Manager, and I have lots of responsibility. I believe in team work and our team is great and very helpful all the time. My day starts with our team prayer and  I continue to do all the work as instructions are given to me. I have learned a lot of things so far with the help of my colleagues in secret projects and I have lot more to learn! I love the way how everything is organized so beautifully.


Question: Is there a typical day in you role? What does it look like?

Sumathi: My role in Secret Project is an important one, as I take care of all the work that happens here in the unit, whether it be a courier sending or receiving, parcel packing, sending and checking emails and dealing with concerns, I take pictures of our staff working with safety measures for Covid-19. There is no such typical day!


Question: What did you do before Secret Projects?

Sumathi: I have had a number of jobs over the years. Firstly I worked for Prateek Capital Services  joining as Assistant Admin Manager and then I worked in agency auditing for credit cards at Standard Chartered Bank, SBI and ICICI Bank.

I worked for ING Vysya Bank as Operation head for Education Loans for Karnataka.

I worked for Jindal Pollybuttons as Customer Support Officer and worked closely with the team of Garment Managers in Bengaluru. Here I learned about the making of buttons and the huge amount of variety there is in the button world.

I worked for Indian Gymkhana Club as Floor Manager and took care of the staff and up-keep of the entire club. taking care of the cleanliness of the entire club as well as the general management.

I worked for MAAC Animation Institute as a Center Head, taking care of all the students and scheduling the time table for the faculty; I would explain the student of the process and make admissions.


Question: How does your role at Secret Projects empower you?

Sumathi: Secret Projects empowers me in many ways, as I too have struggled in my life at times. After joining Secret projects I got double the strength, as I can work with my team to empower many women like me to come up in life and not stay at home without help. I really love how Secret Projects empowers and encourages so many women by giving them work so that they can earn a livelihood. Our team is so helpful and supportive that I forget about any troubles when I come to the office to work.


Question: What do you find most fulfilling about working at Secret Projects?

Sumathi: The impact that Secret Projects makes is my strength and encouragement.  I feel very proud to work here because I will play a part in empowering other women to do their work, show their skills and earn for themselves and their children.


Question: Tell us a little about your life away from Secret Projects.

Sumathi: I live in Bengaluru, India with my family, I’m blessed with 4 children, 3 daughters and 1 son. My husband is not with me since 18years and I took care of all my children without help from my family members. I have faced some hard days in my life to bring up my children for their studies and it was really very hard to bring up 4 children as a single parent. Two of my daughters are married, my son is doing his 3rd year degree and my other daughter completed her 2nd PUC with distinction.

I love my mother and children, as they are my world. I take of my Mother who is 70 years and I love to travel, spending some quality time with my mother and children.


Question: Dancing or walking?

Sumathi: I don’t know how to dance, so I love walking for a long distance and take my mother along with me for an evening walk, or to the park sometimes.


Question: Going out for the evening or staying at home?

Sumathi: I like to stay at home because I love cooking and my children enjoy the dishes I prepare.


Question: If you could have a one-hour telephone conversation with anyone, who would it be?

Sumathi: It would be my Father because my father is no more. He  motivated me as a sports person - I was a 100 metre sprinter, a state hockey player and sports captain at school. I miss my father a lot.


Question: As Secret Projects drives people to think about India what do you want to tell the world about India? What do you love most about the country?

Sumathi: I thank Secret Projects for the wonderful work they are doing to empower  women in India. I request that we have more units like one in Bengaluru all over the country flourishing the name SECRET PROJECTS  to empower women. India is a beautiful country and I would encourage anyone to come and visit.





eBay for Change - a programme to boost social enterprise. We are proud to have won a place!

eBay for Change - a programme to boost social enterprise. We are proud to have won a place!

What is eBay for Change? It's a simple and effective idea! eBay for Change is a 'hub' on eBay UK that connects it's 29 million customers with a number . . . of social enterprises with a clear mission to provide income generating opportunities for marginalised communities in the UK, as well as overseas, which have been hit hard by Covid-19. We are proud to have won a place on the programme and are looking forward to working with eBay to grow and develop a completely new audience for our Ranges of clothing and homeware, lovingly stitched by our Maker Community.   How did we become involved? To deliver their new venture, eBay partnered with Social Enterprise UK and the World Fair Trade Organization with a clear idea to provide a global shop front to small businesses who reinvest their profits back into the communities they work with. As a member of both these partner organizations, we, and others were approached by eBay and asked to take part in a competitive application process and were completely proud and overjoyed when we were advised that we had won a place on the programme! “We are delighted to have Secret Projects on board the eBay for Change programme. We are excited that we can be a part of their mission to empower women in India and to also bring a wonderful collection of clothing and homeware to eBay customers". Helen Armstrong, eBay UK   What does this mean for Secret Projects? In short, it means a huge amount of new and exciting opportunities for us. eBay has an enormous customer base throughout the world and as part of eBay for Change, we can now promote Secret Projects, our vision and Secret Products to 29 million people! Our Makers will see their work being sold all over the world, which is something they absolutely delight in! Through being a part of this innovative programme, we are confident that our customer base will grow significantly and that will translate into more stitching work for our Makers, which means more income for them to support themselves, their families and children. As part of eBay for Change we are being given some fantastic support and guidance by the team at eBay, which is excellent and is helping us to navigate our way through this new market. We are learning so many great tips for retailers like us, who work hard to empower communities. We are starting small and selling a limited number of Secret Products for now... but with a firm intention to grow our presence over time. To visit our eBay for Change shop HERE. A plea to end... those of you who have an eBay account, please can you add Secret Projects to your favourites. Thanks!   Photo: Women from the Secret Projects Maker Community gather round the sewing machine!
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Notice of the 2021 Annual General Meeting of Secret Projects Community Benefit Society

Notice of the 2021 Annual General Meeting of Secret Projects Community Benefit Society

The 2021 Annual General Meeting of Secret Projects Community Benefit Society will be held on Wednesday 30th June 2021 at 1pm (BST) via Zoom. (A link . . . to the meeting will be sent to all Shareholders later on this month.) Invitations have been sent to all Shareholders today, June 1st via email. Please do check your in-box and if it hasn't arrived, have a look in your junk folders and, if it appears to still not have reached you, email and we will send out another. We look forward to seeing our Shareholders and providing a full up-date about the business throughout the last year.  
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Our Appeal - help us to make and distribute 10,000 Secret Face Masks to communities in India

Our Appeal - help us to make and distribute 10,000 Secret Face Masks to communities in India

The brainchild of Sumathi, Director and Shin, Marketing Manager of Social Power India (SPI), we would like to introduce an appeal to provide Secret . . . Face Masks, produced by women from our Maker Community and given free of charge to communities in need throughout India. The details... We want to make and distribute 10,000 Secret Face Masks Sponsorship costs are £20/€25/$30 for a pack of 20 children's masks and £25/€30/$35 for a pack of 20 adult's face masks Backers of our appeal are able to sponsor multiple packs of Secret Face Masks One of the most positive aspects of our appeal lies in the fact that not only will we be providing vital face masks for those in need, but women from our Maker Community who are able to work from home during lockdown, as we don't operate from a factory, can continue production of the masks and receive an income to support themselves, their families, and children during this incredibly difficult time. To sponsor Secret Face Masks for India Please follow these instructions carefully Please head to our online retail shops by clicking the links below. (Shop in GBP, Euros or US Dollars) Sponsor Secret Face Masks in GBP Sponsor Secret Face Masks in Euros Sponsor Secret Face Masks in US Dollars Select how many packs of 20 Secret Face Masks you would like to sponsor to be distributed in India by SPI and add these to your basket. Next, click the link in point number 2 of the instructions to choose a pack of 5 Secret Face Masks for yourself (available in both adults and children's sizes) at £10/€14/$15 per pack (the shipping is free) and again, add to your basket.* Finally, follow the instructions to complete your purchase, providing a shipping address.* *Please note that due to Indian export regulations, we do require our Customers, Friends and Shareholders who would like to contribute to our Secret Face Mask sponsorship appeal to purchase at least one pack of 5 Secret Face Masks for themselves, to be shipped out of India to their address. As Bengaluru is currently in lock down, we will ship your Secret Face Masks as soon as the restrictions lift. These instructions are repeated when you go to our online shops! How we plan to distribute the face masks Initially, we plan to provide free face masks for whoever is in need in and around Bengaluru, where we are based and in Andhra Pradesh, South-East India and the Sundarbans in the Bay of Bengal, where we can work with our NGO partners. In and around Bengaluru Shin and Sumathi have many contacts in and around the area who can help us. We will give face masks to hospitals as well as marginalised communities in the city, where many of our Makers live. Andhra Pradesh and the Sundarbans In both these areas we have very good links with NGO's who work with groups of marginalised women. We will liaise with our partners and provide them with the necessary fabric and funds for local women's sewing groups to make the masks, and the NGO's will arrange for their distribution. One of the most positive aspects of our appeal lies in the fact that not only will we be providing vital face masks for those in need, but women from our Maker Community will stitch the masks and receive an income to support themselves, their families and children during this incredibly difficult time. Thank you so much for your support.
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