Secret Projects and Yoga Stops Traffick work in partnership to support the prevention of human trafficking.

 14th Jan 2020 |  How can I help? |  Fritha Mason


As our partnership with Yoga Stops Traffick gathers momentum, we are excited to be putting the final stages in place for the manufacturing of the official Yoga Stops Traffick t-shirts and tanks.

We are delighted to be donating 20% from the profits of the sales of these powerful tops to this amazing organisation with aims and values so close to the heart of Secret Projects.

Our Comms Manager, Margaret Ring, was recently asked to take part in a quick 5 minute interview with Yoga Stops Traffick to talk about Secret Projects, life and yoga!  See below!

Why has your company chosen to support our global campaign Yoga Stops Traffick?

We were chosen because of our strong alignment with the aims of Yoga Stops Traffick, to highlight human trafficking and support the survivors. Secret Projects trains and empowers women in India through the making and selling of clothing and homewares. We work with marginalised women throughout 5 states in India where opportunities for employment are very limited and rates of human trafficking are very high. Our Maker Groups not only produce clothing and homeware, but are also provided with training to help them develop their business and entrepreneur skills, encouraging them to become business women and many have gone on to form their own sewing units and small businesses.

What is your role within the company?

I am the Communications Manager.

What does your typical ‘work day’ look like?

What I most love about my working day is that no 2 days are ever the same! There is definitely never a dull moment. A large part of my role is planning our comms and I love the fact that it needs to be reviewed on a regular basis to respond to the needs of the organisation, this gives much scope for creativity. I put together our monthly newsletter ‘With Heart’ both for our UK/European and Indian customer base. Although we design our newsletter to be a quick read for our customers, (after all- we are all so busy), it does take an awful lot of pulling together and much liaising with our Indian team, which is fantastic. My role is fairly new, so I do spend quite a lot of my time working with our Directors (all of whom are wonderful and so passionate about our organisation) to develop our brand more fully and provide guidelines for our comms. As we are an international organisation, this isn’t without it challenges but again highly creative and our aim to empower women in India underpins everything we do both long term and throughout our day to day work.

How did you come to the practice of yoga?

I will be honest and say I am very new to yoga! I go to a gym where I take a body balance class twice a week that incorporates yoga and I love it. I go with my friend and we try and push ourselves as much as we can!

What impact has regular yoga had on your mind & body?

My body is going through the menopause(!) so it’s important to keep bones and muscles strong. Yoga is having an impact and I do feel that my body is much stronger than it was.

Which is your favourite yoga pose?

I have 2! Warrior and Downward Dog.

How else do you practice ‘self care’ in your life?

I am a big follower of Arvigo therapy, which is an abdominal massage therapy. I do try to stay calm and not allow myself to get too frazzled by life, but that is sometimes easier said than done. Going to the gym is important to me and I love spending time with friends and my husband and son are my rock.

Who/What has been your biggest inspiration?

I have met so many people throughout my life that have inspired me – some stay for the ride, others I have travelled with just a few stops, but each one has given me something that has changed me and helped me to grow.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the global yoga community?

I think to keep the connections going around the globe. Yogi’s are very powerful!

What’s on the horizon for your company?

We have such exciting plans that are due to be announced very soon, so I need to keep quiet for now, which is hard as I am bursting with excitement!

What message would you like to give to everyone taking part in Yoga Stops Traffick 2020?

You are doing an amazing thing by being a part of this vital and inspirational day. I would just say a huge thank you and well done for helping to highlight the true horror of human trafficking and your desire to support it’s brave survivors.

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To plug this gap, she put feelers out into her professional network, and this is how we were able to connect with Sneha Shah, an Indian accountant, who has since become SPI’s accountant based in India.   The 3 accountants decided that it was crucial for them meet face to face, spend time together, focusing on what needed to be done, dividing tasks between them in line with their own areas of expertise and they also felt they wanted to get to know each other better. So, in November 2019, Banke and Fiona boarded a flight to Bengaluru and the first Secret Projects Accountant’s Trip began!   The trip...  The 3 women stayed in a flat together in the city for a week, speaking the same accountancy language, and because of spending this focused, quality time together, realized how beneficial it was for Secret Projects to have their joint experience and skills in compatible areas. It is fair to say that during this time, they bonded!   It was also decided that whilst in India, Banke and Fiona would begin the process of sourcing a suitable bank for SPI, and Sneha volunteered to help with the search, and was an invaluable asset, as she has so much experience of the Indian banking system. They spent time thinking about what SPI needed from a bank, what banks in India required from businesses and arranged meetings with several institutions. Although it’s not an easy task to set up bank accounts in India, it helped enormously for Secret Projects Accountants and Director to meet Banking Account Managers in person and as a result, they found a bank that is an excellent fit. 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On their last evening together, they visited a well-known restaurant recommended by Fritha and had a ball, even though no-one was feeling particularly well that night.   The flat, where they stayed is situated beneath the apartment of SPI Director Nirmala, who really took care of them all, inviting them to her house for breakfast and was on hand throughout the trip and really made everyone feel at home.  They were wonderfully comfortable, making their business trip so much pleasanter than staying in a hotel.   The following week after Fiona had left to return to the UK, Banke, who was to remain in India for a further couple of weeks, travelled to Mumbai with Sneha and stayed for a few days with her and her partner. Banke had the most wonderful time, as they took her sight-seeing, for a manicure and a pedicure and even had dinner in a restaurant that is a favourite haunt of Bollywood stars. 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