As part of The Fair Traders Co-operative’s build up for Fairtrade Fortnight this year, we are promoting sales of Fairtrade footballs from Pakistan. We want to get as many people as possible talking about Fairtrade Fortnight, and so we are encouraging sales of our Fairtrade Fun Footballs (£7.50, or £6.00 to FTC members) so that people can take part in our Fairtrade Keepy Uppy Challenge – how long can you keep up the Fairtrade
We’ve chosen this particular promotion because the theme for Fairtrade Fortnight this year is ‘take a step for Fairtrade’, so encouraging people to step up to a Fairtrade football challenge seems a fitting campaign. It also gives us an opportunity to highlight the positive difference that buying a Fairtrade football makes to the people involved in producing the balls – from those harvesting the rubber, to those hand stitching the footballs. Our supplier, Fair Corp, has written up for their website some of the stories of the people who make our Fairtrade footballs, and we have reproduced these below. These stories show how much better workers’ lives are as a result of working for Fairtrade, rather than the traditional sports ball trade. The Fair Traders Co-operative’s Education Group of volunteers has adapted these stories into a format appropriate for schools to use as a teaching resource – please get in touch for more information. Find out more about how you can get involved in The Fair Traders Co-operative’s Fairtrade Keepy Uppy Challenge here.
The Khan Family – a New Addition to a Fairtrade Family
Outside Sialkot, Pakistan, there is a small village called Gaper where a large Banyan tree provides welcome shade from the sweltering heat. The lush, paddy fields surrounding the village are home to numerous tropical birds and water buffalo, which wallow in the mud pools. Gaper is a very poor village; the road is extremely rutted and the few buildings are single-story brick dwellings that house large families. We met the Khan family who had just been joined by a new arrival of a healthy baby boy a few days before. His Mother, Mushulcut, is holding her new baby who was delivered at a good hospital in Sialkot where she stayed 24 hours after giving birth. The hospital fees and all necessary health care were paid entirely by the Fairtrade welfare scheme, “I am very thankful that the hospital was paid for,” she said, “without this we would be in debt. My last baby was also delivered with the help of the welfare scheme, she was a girl. Now we have a boy we have called him ‘Morcadus’ which means ‘The Holy’.” Mushulcut’s husband, Selferaz, was also keen to explain how helpful the Fairtrade scheme has been, “we are a Fair Trade family,” he smiles.
Rezwan Waris – Micro-credits for Maximum Ethics
When Rezwan does his ironing he overlooks the busy side street outside in Pasrur, a historic town close to Sialkot, Pakistan. “Daoud Ahmed’s Laundry Shop” announces a beautifully drawn sign on the shop window. Next to Rezwan, white, light blue, grey and beige kurtas and pyjamas, the long shirts and wide cotton trousers men in Pakistan traditionally wear, are neatly folded and stacked high on the shelf. His brother Mohammad is a football stitcher at Talon, which made 23-year old Rezwan eligible to receive a RS 30,000 loan from the Talon Fair Trade Workers Welfare Society to set up his laundry business. The most expensive investment was the large washing machine and spin drier, which his mother, Shadah, operates at home just a few minutes walk away from the shop. Six suits or twelve pieces of laundry can go through the 15 minute washing cycle at a time and are then dried on the roof of the house. Since Daoud Ahmed’s Laundry opened in December 2006, business has been going well. Depending on the fabric type Rezwan charges between RS 25 and RS 30 for washing and ironing a set of kurta / pyjamas – and the average male in Pasrur gets through three to four sets per week. After paying the rent and other expenses like detergents, Rezwan earns between RS 200 and RS 250 per day, which equals a Fair Trade football stitching wage and provides a reliable, continuous income for himself and support for his parents and siblings.
Sameena Nyaz – Decent Healthcare through Ethical Projects
Sameena Nyaz is 18 years old, single, and lives in a village called Chagelen near Sialkot, the world capital of football production in Pakistan. Her father runs the snack shop in the football stitching centre 200 meters away, which was built by Talon Sports, the first Fairtrade football supplier. Sameena goes there to stitch footballs and it is due to Fairtrade that this local centre is available. Most football stitching used to be done in the home but this was phased out by the big companies in an attempt to eradicate child labour. This had a hugely negative impact on families as companies moved the work into big factory units in order to prevent child labour but they effectively locked out women who could not afford to be away from home for the whole day. After home-based stitching stopped, the local stitching centre was one of the first where women could continue such work. Sameena is one of eleven siblings; she has seven sisters and four brothers, two of the older siblings also stitch balls. Stitching wages are low, only Fairtrade buyers pay enough to enable the three children to provide their family with all the basic necessities. Sameena never had the chance to attend school; instead she has been contributing to the family income from an early age, and has now been stitching for over three years. The family has a small hut and a kitchen garden, in which everyone helps out contributing to their everyday lifestyle. Not long before this photo was taken Sameena had to have a thyroid operation – the bandage on her neck is still there. All costs were paid for by the Fair Trade Welfare Society – the health care scheme made possible by the Fairtrade premium that is paid on every Fairtrade ball that is made.
Kitman – Fair Trade Projects Provide Safe Water for Local Community
Kitman, who is 67 years old, is still working full-time as a rubber tapper on the Frocester Plantation in Sri Lanka. By local standards, Kitman is a successful man; all of his seven sons have found work in the capital Colombo, which is two hours away by bus. The eldest is in charge of a small business, two have become tailors, two work as drivers and two are employed as shop assistants. One of his daughters is a teacher and the other works as a rubber tapper on the same plantation as her father. Kitman has managed to improve the basic accommodation provided by the plantation with the family’s combined savings, to the extent that the basic structure of what once was called battery housing is hardly noticeable. The house at present is occupied by nine people; Kitman and his wife, three of his daughters-in-law and two grandchildren, as well as his daughters. Previously, the house had one major drawback – there was no running water. This has to be fetched from an open well, 100 yards across the village road. According to the medical officer of the plantation, many people in the area suffer from dysentery and other water-borne diseases as a result from the lack of a safe water supply. This is where Fair Corp’s new Fairtrade rubber project came in. In an agreement with the plantation owners, Fair Corp’s sourcing partner ordered rubber for its ETHLETIC products and paid a Fairtrade premium of 0.50 EUR per KG of rubber. Subsequently, the management and the workers established a Fair Trade Welfare Society and jointly decided how this money should be spent. One project on which the money was spent was the installation of a pump and a piping system, so that 20 households around the well will each get a tap in front of their homes, including Kitman’s household. The other major Fairtrade project agreed was the restoration of a common room for the workers, a canteen area and a unit with sanitary toilets. A place where workers, mostly women, can change into their working clothes and keep food safely was also agreed. All of these projects were paid for by Fairtrade premiums; hopefully there will be many more to come that will improve the living and working conditions of workers, their families and the community.
Shymala – Fairtrade Funding for Higher Education
Shymala works in the latex factory of New Ambadi rubber estate. She is a trade union leader, not just representing the workers of the plantation, but also the rubber workers in the whole district. Additionally, Shymala is a member of the joint body which started when Fair Corp’s sourcing partners began buying rubber under Fairtrade conditions. Fair Corp’s sourcing partners are the only company in the world who pay a Fairtrade premium for latex, this is then processed into components for footballs and other sports balls in Pakistan providing an ethical way of supporting local communities. The joint body has regular meetings and keeps a minute book recording all relevant information. After many discussions, the joint body decided to save the Fairtrade premiums and start a fund to pay for higher education for the children of the plantation workers. Even though in principle education in India is free, sadly, only children who can afford to go to private schools have a chance of getting a decent job after their education. The joint body has told Fair Corp’s sourcing partners that it needs to buy at least ninety tons of rubber in order to feed the fund with enough money to start paying out stipends. Shymala hopes that her granddaughter will be one of the first to benefit from this scheme. She hopes she will train as a nurse, therefore giving something back to the local community. The three year course costs approximately £2750 in fees, which she could never afford out of her salary. The second benefit of Fair Corp buying rubber is that it has paid for New Ambadis registration with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) scheme for responsible forest management, helping to make rubber production more sustainable.
Take a step for fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight and beyond. Buy a fairtrade football here.