Prix Clarins Stylist Award 2018

Secret Projects was delighted to be announced on 4 July 2018 as the winners of the prestigious Prix-Clarins Award. The prize was granted by Clarins in association with Stylist magazine ‘to recognise one inspirational woman who is improving the lives of the next generation and beyond through an innovation charity or initiative she has founded’. Fritha told the panel about her vision to generate 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 prize money of £30,000 will enable Secret Projects to make Fritha’s vision a reality.

This is the story of Runuka, a survivor of human trafficking, who inspired Fritha’s Prevention through Production initiative:

We met Renuka in West Bengal through Justice and Care, an international anti-human trafficking organisation. Renuka was a survivor. She was lured away from her rural home by traffickers who promised her a job and an education. She said that if she had only been able to earn around Rs 2000 (approx. £22) a month she would not have left home. Instead of a regular job, Renuka found herself being sold into one of India notorious brothels and was thrown into a world of daily beatings, rape, torture and abuse. 

Meanwhile her parents grew more and more worried when they hadn’t heard from her and got in touch with Justice and Care who were able to get her out of the terrible situation in a rescue operation that was conducted along with the local police. 

Despite everything, she was delighted at being reunited with her young daughter and her home.  As part of her healing and rehabilitative journey she went through basic tailoring programme and learnt to be a skilful seamstress. And in due course, she not only supported her family but also set up a tailoring unit to help other women in her area earn an income - thus ensuring that their vulnerability to being trafficking was greatly reduced. Meeting Renuka inspired a lot of what I do in the Secret Sari Dress Project and Renuka taught us that, in the state of West Bengal, a sustainable livelihood is empowering and provides women with a life of dignity, hope and stability not only for them but also for their entire family.

In September 2018 we will be visiting West Bengal to set up rural sewing units as part of our Prevention by Production process. We are extremely grateful to Prix-Clarins for granting this award to Secret Projects. 

Click here to read more about the award

Click here to read the online version of Stylist article

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