Archive | June, 2012

Fair Trade Joint Body Discusses New Community Projects

Attending the Joint Body meeting with the help of my host, Ehsan (left).

Senda Athletics founder Santiago Halty recounts his 10 day journey in Sialkot, Pakistan, where he visited the factory where Senda’s Fair Trade soccer balls are produced. This is his fifth blog post from his trip. 

View the first post [+] | View the second post [+]  | View the third post [+]View the fourth post [+] 

Before arriving in Sialkot, Pakistan, one of the activities I was looking forward to the most, was meeting our ball stitchers’ and workers’ Joint Body. As part of of its commitment to Fair Trade, Senda pays a Fair Trade Premium with every ball, which is used for community projects, like healthcare and education. The Joint Body is a group of workers who are democratically elected by their peers that discuss and decide how those Fair Trade premiums can be used to benefit their coworkers and community. The Joint Body is composed of eight workers, including three factory workers, three ball stitchers, and two people from management.

I was able to participate in a Joint Body meeting and listened to some of the ideas they had to improve community projects and create new ones. There were talks about bringing a doctor at the factory to do medical check-ups, as well as putting together an eye clinic.

In addition, my host Ehsan and I met with people from a microcredit bank, to learn from them about the most successful micro-finance projects, which could potentially be started by workers’ family members.

It is through these projects aimed at improving the lives of the people making Senda’s soccer balls that provide an opportunity to make a difference. We couldn’t do this without the support of coaches, players, and parents who choose Senda whenever they need soccer equipment.

We want to thank everybody who has supported us in the last two years, and invite everyone who loves soccer to join us!

Guest Blog: Designed Good’s Katy and Her Favorite Soccer Memory

What's your favorite soccer memory? A pickup game in the park on a spring day? A beach soccer tournament at Santa Cruz?

In Senda’s second guest blog post Katy Gathright, co-founder at Designed Good, shared with us her thoughts and stories on the Beautiful Game, giving back, and her favorite soccer memory: a flash party.

People talk all the time about giving others access to resources. But the process of giving back to people should also be accessible. I think it makes more sense to build a world where the things we use are connected to the things we think and imagine.

Last month, one of my best friends and I were sitting in the local coffee shop in Williamstown on a sunny afternoon, surrounded by people talking and studying and ordering iced lattes. He turned to me and said we deserved to do something really fun. Happy to validate this escape from our normal hang out spot, I agreed. He suggested we grab a soccer ball and take his amp down to the fields called Poker Flats where there was an outdoor electrical outlet to plug it in. We headed the half mile down to the fields, texting everyone we knew on the way, and held a flash soccer party. That was one of the best afternoon hours of my spring.

We weren’t kicking around a Senda ball then, but now that I’ve started a conversation around their products, I think about Foster the People blaring across the Poker Flats field and how much fun it was to play outside with my friends. I love that Senda balls not only support and help others, but also give people a place and a context to feel their very best. It is with this frame of mind – that sunny afternoon kind of feeling – that terms like fair trade and social change take on real meaning.

That’s why we love Senda’s fair trade soccer balls at Designed Good. It’s not particularly mysterious why we’ve picked them out of the crowd: Their products are both supportive of communities and high-quality in their own right. Senda balls are actually made for people to play real, fun soccer, and the stories of the people they help are inspiring on a relatable level.

Katy Gathright is a co-founder at Designed Good, a website where members can discover and purchase awesome products with a socially-conscious edge. 
Want to keep up the conversation? Drop her a line at: Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Also check out Senda’s guest blog a Designed Good here.

Katy had a flash soccer party. What’s your favorite soccer memory? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Coach Profile: Antoine (Street Soccer USA, Bay Area)

Antoine coaching his team.

Senda Athletics had the chance to interview Antoine about his connection to one of our non-profit partners, Street Soccer USA. Also check out the news story that CBS 5 San Francisco did about Street Soccer USA in the video below.

Name: Antoine Lagarde

Coach: Street Soccer USA, Bay Area, San Francisco

Nationality: France/USA

Age: 30

Occupation: SF Conservation Corps Teacher

Playing Position: Midfield

Soccer Heroes: Eric Cantona & Socrates

Motto: “Success is going from failure to failure with enthusiasm. My job as a coach is to motivate my players to always to always go hard.

So you coach a team of homeless and disadvantaged youth in San Francisco, what makes you the happiest when coaching a team like that?

Antoine: I am happy when my more advanced players patiently teach our beginners how to play. I am happiest when the positive attitude on our team inspires our players to go to college, find work, stop using drugs/alcohol, and get back on their feet!

What has been your best moment as a coach?

Antoine: My favorite moment was coaching the USA National team at the Homeless World Cup in Paris. We struggled at first, but became a family and finished the tourney at the best ranking the USA has ever had. It was a total team effort with everyone scoring at least 3 goals and leaving everything on the field. Out of our 7 players, 5 are currently coaching and using football to create positive transformations in the lives of their peers.

What was your most difficult moment on the soccer field as a player?

Antoine: My worst moment on the field wasn’t so much embarrassing as heartbreaking. I missed a couple of penalties against Kyrgyzstan when I represented the USA at the Milan Homeless World Cup which put our hopes of advancing to the next round in jeopardy.

What was your most triumphant moment on the soccer field as a player?

Antoine: Fortunately, I atoned for my mistakes by playing excellent defense against France in the next game and helping us upset them and qualify for the next round where I scored a couple of penalties in the quarterfinals. I was proud to be mentally tough by clearing my head and helping the team win.

What does supporting Fair Trade mean to you?

Antoine: It’s very important to me because as a teacher, I teach my students about globalization by showing them a soccer ball and asking them to describe it. We then explore who made the soccer ball, the possibility that it was a young child in Pakistan in poor working conditions, and talk about supporting efforts to pay workers a living wage through Fair Trade.