Designing for Freedom – Rhoda’s reflections

Designing for Freedom – Rhoda’s reflections

Jul 10, 2015 Designing for Freedom – Rhoda’s reflections

Posted by: commsdesign

How long have you been in the Product Designer role?
10 months – since August 2014 and it has been intense. Learning a new job, making 200 new friends, trying to learn language – crazy, wonderful!

What previous experience did you have?
Bachelor of Design and one year working professionally (more in marketing than design).

What were you most worried about before you left NZ?
Practical uncertainties like what will the food be like? What to wear – we basically all wear Indian style clothing – it’s very comfortable and you don’t stand out. What will my accommodation situation be? To a large degree you just have to be open to things being different and everything has turned out fine.

Where do you live and how do you get to work?
In a tall apartment type building (4th floor) with the best tree outside our window! I walk to work with my fab flatmates and it takes 5 minutes – so a great location!

Do you feel you have grown professionally? Have you learned new skills?
Yes! Bag design was new to me, so I’ve learn lots about pattern construction, sewing, and product development. I have also expanded my graphic design skills in print design and screen printing processes.

Rhoda working on a new design with one of the women

What has surprised you most about living in Kolkata?
Kolkata is a massive city but I was surprised at how easy it can be to find your way around. I didn’t take long to feel comfortable going to the market, and using public transport – they have a wonderful underground metro. Getting used to a new culture is actually really fun, if you are willing to be flexible and try new things, then it is a wonderful experience.

What is living within the Freeset community like?
Enjoyable and challenging. The ladies are so generous and loving (as are the foreigners) and we have many chances to laugh and connect. It is also challenging because there are real struggles all around us but it’s all part of it and the support and care for one another is awesome.

How have you afforded to come as a volunteer?
Support from friends, family, and my church.

Do you feel your work has made a difference?
Yes and no. Each role here is important in carrying out the vision for freedom but at the same time there is so much need in this city that at times you can feel your part is too small. But I remind myself that if doing my part can ensure even one lady has the chance for freedom it is totally worth it!

Unfortunately, Rhoda’s leaving us soon so the hunt is on for her replacement, could this be you? See below for more details.



Do you have a creative flair and a problem-solving attitude to product design? At the heart of Freeset are great products that people love to buy and crucially, that the women are able to make. Could you be the person to continue the evolution of the Freeset range of bags and accessories?

The challenge at Freeset is balancing the aesthetics and functionality of a design with the capabilities of production staff to make it. A key aspect of the role is seeing a product through from conception to introduction on the production floor. Experience with sewing and textile product design is desirable. Working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign essential.

Volunteer sought – minimum 1 year commitment required, longer preferred (from August 2015)
Download job description (PDF – 250K) [posted February 25, 2014]
Apply for the Product Development job here

To view more job vacancies click here

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