5 Minutes with..Secret Projects

This week we speak with Margaret, communications manager for the creative company Secret Projects. With over 20 years experience in the charity sector, she gives us a peek at life behind the scenes at Secret Projects and their very own links with Yoga Stops Traffick.

Founded by creative entrepreneur Fritha Vincent in 2014, Secret Projects is a social enterprise whose goal is to unfold women’s power in India through the making and selling of clothing and homewares. 

The project generates jobs for women in West Bengal, an area in which girls and young women are extremely vulnerable to human trafficking owing to the lack of income-generating opportunities. The money they earn enables them to pay for their children to go to school, food, medicine and other basic living costs.

Inspired by her own childhood memories, Fritha started by selling Secret Pillows, a simple cushion that unfolds into a soft blanket, perfect for kids sleepovers or cosying up on the sofa. The charity has since expanded into making Secret Saris dresses, reusable shoppers and scarfs plus nothing goes to waste – all fabric scraps are used for projects such as bunting and tiny Secret Pillows! 

If you’re looking to support the project, why not try one of the beautiful, handmade items yourself or as a treat for someone else?

More details can be found here at https://www.secretprojects.org/

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.