On International Women’s Day this year, Lawfully Chic has decided to place the spotlight onto Secret Projects, a social enterprise founded by Fritha Vincent and based in South West London. It aims to empower women in India by training them to make and sell homewares and clothing.
“I’m here to prove to the world that a business like ours can sell as much as required so that our Training for Empowerment Programme can run and we can reach as many women as possible in locations where there’s little or no income-generating employment,” says Fritha: “Secret Projects attempts to over come is giving skilled women access to a market place where the goods they make actually sell!”
“Appreciation is the greatest healer,” Fritha believes, hence why for International Women’s Day Secret Projects is running their social media campaign, #tell her, which encourages people to send a pillow to a woman in their lives that they appreciate, and to tell her why of course (with a hashtag)!
Each pillow sent will help Secret Project to expand the Maker Network in Southern India. Secret Project founder Fritha Vincent recently returned from Nilgiris, a UNESCO world heritage site in Tamil Nadu, where she met 50 women from rural villages near the Mudumalai National Reserve. These women can earn around 220 rupees per day (approx £1.60) working on construction sites, filling potholes on the roads following the monsoon, working in coffee plantations or as agricultural labourers. The women have to leave their homes early morning and do not return until the evening and are always paid less than men for doing the same work.
Income sources are limited for these women as they live in remote forest villages inside or on the edge of elephant corridors. They all have one common goal: to send their children to school and secure for them the best possible future. It’s that vision that Secret Projects aims to facilitate, by asking some of these women to join our Network of Makers.
“It isn’t just the money that makes being part of Secret Projects so wonderful, but the appreciation we show to one another,” said one of the women involved in making items for the project. “Appreciation brings acknowledgement, encourages self-belief, gives purpose and offers hope.”
On and around International Women’s Day (8th March), Secret Projects is raising awareness around their Secret Pillows. For every three Secret Pillows sold one woman is invited onto the Training for Empowerment Programme. Once 150 pillows have been sold then all 50 slots on March’s training session will be full! Here the attendees learn basic tailoring skills, and are supported to help find employment local to them, to become financially independent, and to work together sharing equipment and on joint sewing projects.
Order your Secret Pillow and add a personalised note, or send a gift card if you can’t decide on a design.