Welcome to Secret Projects, home of The Secret Pillow, The Secret Sari Dress Project and The Secret Clothes Project
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Meet our Makers

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 of our 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.


Sahara means mutual support. As indicated by the name, this group is a set of Muslim women trained by an NGO for sewing that support one another knowing the challenges faced by themselves owing to cultural norms subjecting them to limited mobility and freedom. The women are highly skilled and yearn to make a livelihood that would enable them to have a better future for their children while addressing health concerns that they shy away from expressing at home. The group is based in urban settlement Bengaluru. Most of the women in the group worked in garment factories with poor conditions and benefits that has made them redundant in the job market. Secret Projects orders are said to be a great asset to them as they are able to stitch products within your households and paid without hassle.

Photo caption: Here are two of the making a Secret Sari Dress after having training.


This is our Maker Group called Divine. The name Divine is derived from the fact that the maker group are a mix of Christians and Hindus, with a strong belief in divine grace. They are from the suburbs of Bengaluru, near a stone quarry called Kannur. Bengaluru has a population of over 10 million making it a mega city and the third most populate city in India. The women have a limited option for work but were trained by the government in a skill development program. Post training, they did not have orders for sewing and any support to utilise their sewing skills. Most of the women have limited financial independence and are very happy to sew for Secret Projects. The money that they earn enables them to support their personal needs, which they couldn't otherwise do. They are also able to support their children and parents when they meet them.

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Blossom Maker Network live in Kozhikode, a coastal city in the state of Kerala in Southern India. The Maker Group meet in a community centre located 4 to 5 kilometres away from where most of the women live, which gives them an accessible area to sew and train as a group. They only pay rent on the building when they use it which makes the project more economical for them. The group has other income-generating activities such as making umbrellas, jewellery, and ornaments. They want to work towards having a more focused sales strategy so that they are not left in a vulnerable position in terms of earning money. When we ask them about the challenges faced by women in their area they say that there is an increasing number of family breakdowns exacerbated by the issue of alcoholism, leaving many women and children abandoned. Single mothers live with the pressure of earning a living and providing for their children. They are working towards their Maker Network becoming a reputable company and helping others, especially those within their community For instance, by giving a percentage of their earnings to older couple who have no family to support them. 

Photo caption: Here are the original members of the Maker Network who started in 2015.


Shining Stars Maker Network live in the state of Kerala in Southern India. There are 15 members. Between them they have 30 children. Each maker has a child with profound learning difficulties and they managed to get them into a school which caters for their needs. The women travel a long distance to take their children to school and initially they found themselves waiting around the school for their children to finish their classes. 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 the United Nations Democracy Fund. They dream of happy lives for their children and continued success of their sewing unit.

Picture caption: Shining Star Maker Network with Fritha Vincent, founder of Secret Projects


Peace Valley Maker Network live in the state of Kerala in Southern India. There are 30 members. Between them they have 50 children. The area in which they live, Wayanad, is famous for its coffee. The Peace Valley Maker Network were the first to be trained in the production of Secret Pillows back in 2013. In recent years the local agriculture has declined and the income-generating activities it creates have reduced 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 the 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 of Secret Projects featured in the Business Section of The Telegraph


Bloom Maker Network live in the state of Tamil Nadu in Southern India. 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 in which they live is a famous tiger reserve and elephant corridor called Mudumalai Nature Reserve. They first trained to make Secret Pillows in December 2015 and they make our Camouflage range, some of which are sold locally by stockists in the Nilgiris, an area visited by tourists who flock to see the elephants and the beautiful scenery of the UNESCO world heritage site. Apart from Secret Pillow making, the only income-generating opportunities for the women is working for a daily wage in agricultural activities such as picking coffee beans and, when it is available, they are offered 6-week contracts to work on the roads filling pot holes after the monsoon. Both types of work are physically demanding and require them to walk long distances, spend time away from the home from early morning to late at night. The women are paid a maximum of 220 rupees a day (approximately £2.40) and they earn less then men doing the same job. They dream that, as a community, they can become excellent at making the different products sold 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 Camouflage 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 who provide 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 businesses 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 are long (8.30am to 6.30pm, plus a walk to and from home) and the treatment of the workers is unsatisfactory, as is the pay they receive. There are no holidays and they are only entitled to Sundays off. The mental and physical impact of years of work in these factories is devastating and many are left unable to work again. The only income-generating activities aside from the factory work is incense making, sari blouse making and seasonal agriculture jobs. Drought means that there is little crop growth and the 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 as they can to enable their children to have the best education and chance in life, so that they do not face the same challenges that they have.

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