We are so happy to bring a new series of stories - From the Heart of...
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 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 womens' empowerment? Read on as we begin, over the coming weeks, with our team - a group of committed and wonderful individuals who really are at the heart of Secret Projects...
We start with our Communications Manager, Margaret Ring... we asked her a number of questions about her Secret Projects life and her home life - here is what she has to say!
Question: In a nutshell what does your role at Secret Projects consist of?
Margaret: It's a fabulous role and I am not just saying that for PR reasons!!! I basically oversee our communications, from social media, our newsletters, brand guidelines to our website. I work closely with our Directors, which is great and I am learning so much. A large part of my role is to weave our latest news into wonderful stories and send them out into the world to spread the story of Secret Projects to a wider and wider audience... and what's not to love about a job where much time is spent writing stories!
Question: Is there a typical day in you role? What does it look like?
Margaret: My role is so varied, fast paced and exciting that there isn't really a typical day and I absolutely love that! No room for getting bored! I do have tasks that I need to complete each month such as getting With Heart our monthly newsletter pulled together and posts for Social Media, but I go with the flow and as a team we all 'jump on' what is our priority. I begin my day by catching up on emails and messages via our various 'Whatsapp' groups and then I see what is needed next...
Question: What did you do before Secret Projects?
Margaret: I have worked in the charity sector for many years now. I spent 14 years as a Volunteer and Project Manager at Voluntary Service Overseas, sending medical volunteers around the world, to share their skills and help marginalised communities. My last position before joining Secret Projects was as a Project Manager and Fundraiser for a small charity, Adventure Ashram. A fantastic organisation that works hard to provide funds for small grass roots NGO's in India and this is where my deep love for India sprang from. It's also where I met Fritha, our CEO!
Question: How does your role at Secret Projects empower you?
Margaret: In so, so many ways! As part of a small team, we all need to be able to turn our hands to tasks that we might not have much experience in. I find this both thrilling and nerve-wracking at the same time! It feels amazingly empowering when I have learned something new to help me work smarter and to add to my repertoire! I love the way the Directors allow me to take on new areas for my self development and actively encourage the team to develop new skills. That is so empowering!
Question: What do you find most fulfilling about working at Secret Projects?
Margaret: I think it's the impact that we make within our Maker Groups, as the women earn an income to support themselves and their families. Our Makers don't want hand-outs, but to be given an opportunity use their sewing skills to earn money and that is exactly what Secret Projects provides. I find it so fulfilling to play a small role in this powerful model.
Question: Tell us a little about your life away from Secret Projects.
Margaret: I live in South London with my husband Johnny, a photographer, 20 year old son, Charlie, who is currently on a training programme for a company that hires cameras and lighting equipment to the TV and film industry and our dog, Marple, a beautiful creature, we re-homed from a rescue centre. She and I are pictured together!
I love living in London, but do enjoy escaping to the countryside and love going for long walks in the fresh air. One of my greatest passions is to travel and I visit India as often as I can - it's my favourite country and I adore the vibrancy of the culture.
I do some voluntary work (helping with their communications) for a small charity that works in the Spiti Valley in the Himalayas and find this very rewarding. Now my son is grown up, I have more time for voluntary work and it's something that I really enjoy.
And to end - a few other things about me... I loathe having to clean my house, am constantly frustrated that there is always washing to do... finally... I feel very happy as I walk Marple early in the morning - it sets me up for the day!
Let's finish with a bit of light-hearted fun!
Question: Dancing or walking?
Margaret: Dancing when I am on my own!!! (I'm not a good dancer!!!) I can walk for miles!
Question: Going out for the evening or staying at home?
Margaret: As I am getting older, it's definitely staying at home! I do love going out for lunch with friends these days.
Question: If you could have a one hour telephone conversation with anyone, who would it be?
Margaret: That's an interesting one... I think it would be Bishop Desmond Tutu. I really admire his strength, his open minded faith and compassion for humanity.
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?
Margaret: I would say go to India if you can. It is truly a place like no other - full of colour and life, but also hardship. I can't really explain how I feel when I am in India, there is such an energy and I feel privileged to have been able to explore communities away from the tourist trail.