Meet Giamaria Fernandes, Associate Creative Director at FCB Ulka, and the creative behindThe Open Door Project.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁/𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗴𝘆 𝗯𝗲𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗶𝗴𝗻?
The right to education is a fundamental, human one. In a massive country like India where, in spite of having the largest population of young minds, over one third of children don’t have access to quality education. What’s more, over 8 million are out of school. While governments and individuals have tried their best, the problem’s size is overwhelming. We felt it was the right time to view this problem in a new light and seek the help of private institutions who can join hands with us in this enormous and challenging task – ensuring there’s no child left without an education. And, more importantly, get kids off the streets and on their feet.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐫 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐚 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞?
At the core, the idea focused on giving every child an equal right to make it big in life at a time when the tools to provide education like schools were practically non existent. A very real solution to a very real problem. So, onboarding people to this idea came without any challenges and within just 3 months, we had close to 55 schools becoming project partners.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐠𝐧?
This idea has really tugged at every string in my heart; to see that something this simple can mean so much and really inspire people around me. I learned that big things have small beginnings and sometimes even an empty infrastructure can make someone’s life fuller and meaningful.
Who inspires you in this industry?
As a designer/creative person I don’t really look up to a particular person. I do admire people who create impactful and sustainable ideas that can really change lives. Inspiration is the fuel to doing great things. In a world/country with problems brewing constantly, the work/ideas we constantly put out is also an inspiration to others who want to make a difference in the world.
The beauty of being a creative person is you’re always trying to solve a problem and when you do that, you also end up inspiring and motivating a lot of creative minds to do the same.
I’m truly inspired by women who speak their mind, create opportunities for other women, and who stand by and uplift each other. While we all know these women are very rare, but it really stirs up a fire in me to keep on going.
For people who feel invisible professionally, what would be your advice?
Even though I’ve felt invisible throughout my career in many organizations and team cultures, it’s been my work and my approach to make my dreams a reality that has made me visible. I also stand by what I believe in and don’t walk over other people’s dreams. Above all, I don’t allow situations to change me or my approach.
While, I may not be the most outspoken person, what has truly kept me going is supporting other women who’ve been through the same. It’s only made me more resilient.
My advice to other women like me out there is not to give up. Don’t hide your talent or work, put it up on a blog or platform, share it. Make sure your creative team leader adds your name and contribution to your work and holds everyone to the high standards you believe in. Speak up when you can. Support whoever you can. Be patient. And, when the time comes to tell your story, you’ll inspire so many more.