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Maker Networks

One of the aims of Secret Projects is to inspire our Makers to start their own micro businesses/enterprises. To be successful in such a venture an understanding of branding is essential. From the very beginning of our Training For Empowerment Programme we introduce this concept. We ask each Maker Networks to come up with a name for themselves and ask them to describe their hopes and dreams for themselves and their business activity. We are delighted to introduce you to our Maker Networks.

 

 

 
 Shining Star Maker Network live in the state of Kerala, a Southern India State. There are 15 members. Between them they have 30 children. Each maker has a child with profound learning difficulities. Distress at home with their child, they each got them a place at a special school. Each travel a long distance to get their child to school and they found themselves hanging around. They decided to rent a room at the school and set up a sewing unit. Through unity and coming together every day to sew, talk and sing they have found great strength. They operate as a proper sew unit and orders for Secret Projects are their one international order.  The makers were initially trained through the women’s empowerment project run by Ammachilabs and funded by United Nations Democracy Fund. The dream of happy lives for their children and continued success of their sewing unit.

Picture caption: This a photo of Shining Star Maker Network and Fritha Vincent, founder of Secret Projects


 

Peace Valley Maker Network live in the state of Kerala, a Southern India State. There are 30 members. Between them they have 50 children. The area where they live, Wayanad, is famous for coffee. Peace Valley Maker Network were the first makers to be trained in Secret Pillow making back in 2013. In recent years the agriculture in the area has been damaged and the income generating activities it created have shrunk dramatically. The makers came together through a local ashram run by the guru AMMA and a women’s empowerment project run by Amchilabs and funded by United Nations Democracy Fund. Some of the makers are now master trainers and some run their own small micro enterprises. Our plan is to continue to expand this network and support them to be completely independent.

Picture caption: This photo of Peace Valley Maker Network and Fritha Vincent, founder became famous when Secret Projects was featured in the Business Section of The Telegraph.

 
 

Bloom Maker Network live in the state of Tamil Nadu, a Southern India State. There are 9 members. They are all from the Irula Tribe and descend from the same family. Between them they have 19 children. The area where they live is a famous tiger reserve and elephant corridor called Mudumalai. They first trained to make Secret Pillows in December 2015. Apart from Secret Pillow making, the only income generating opportunities for the women is working for a daily wage in agriculture activities e.g. picking coffee beans and, when it is available, they are offered 6 week contracts to work on the roads filling in pot holes. Both types of work requires them to walk long distances daily, be away from the home from early morning to late at night and put a lot of effort in because the work is really physical. A women gets paid less for a day’s work than a man. The women will get paid up to 220 rupees a day, which is approx. £2.80. They dream that, as a community, they can become excellent at making all the products produced by Secret Projects and they all dream of a better life for themselves and their children.

Picture caption: Bloom Maker Network hard at work in their community centre making their signature Camoflague Secret Pillows.

 

Nature Maker Network live in the state of Andhra Pradesh. There are 18 members. The makers live in villages near a Catholic Brotherhood that provides basic vocational training. Between them they have 40 children. The area where they live has been affected by drought for a number of years. The land is cheap and to attract business the government gives the land away. As a result 15 international garment factories have set up there. Work in the factories is available to women who do not have young children. The work is hard, hourly production is monitored, the hours long (8.30am till 6.30pm + walk to and from home) and the treatment of the workers is unsatisfactory, as is the pay they receive. The effects of years of work in this factories on the mind and body is devastating. They get no holidays and only Sundays off. The only income generating activities aside from this is incense making, sari blouse making and seasonal agriculture jobs. Dought means that not much grows and women’s main focus is finding water and storing it safely for drinking. The makers have one goal and one dream, to work as hard so they can give their children the best education and chance in life, so they do not need to face the same challenges that they have.

Picture caption: Nature Maker Network receive training from Secret Projects Master Trainers in November 2017

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