With the help of my host in Pakistan, Mr. Ehsan, I talked to the women workers about the different people who use Senda soccer balls.
Senda Athletics Founder Santiago Halty continues his 10 day journey in Sialkot, Pakistan visiting the place where Senda’s Fair Trade soccer balls are produced. This is his second blog post from his trip. View the first post here.
What a great day I had at the Fair Trade factory today! I can already recognize the faces of some of the people working in the different areas of Senda’s soccer ball production. People are beginning to feel comfortable seeing a foreigner around and simply chatting with me.
When I was in Berkeley preparing for my trip to visit our Fair Trade soccer ball producers, I wanted to come with something to give to the workers, and help break the ice. Bringing a physical gift for everyone was out of the question, as I did not have enough room in my luggage to do so! I started to ask for advice to people close to me and Senda.
My mother, who has been an amazing supporter of Senda from day one, always talks about Fair Trade as a way to bring dignity and pride to people through their work.
Following her advice, my team and I worked hard on making a video where players who purchased a Senda product directly thank the workers for the quality soccer balls they produce.
I was able to show that video to the workers today and it was a fantastic feeling to see their smiles and expressions when they saw people of all ages enjoying the Senda soccer balls.
Senda’s rock-star videographer intern (you know it’s you Abby!), made the video just in time for my trip. She included the word “Shukriya”, which means thank you in Urdu.
Check it out below.
Everyone should take pride in their work and feel they are making a difference. Often times, workers at factories are seen simply as labor inputs. It is tough for them to take pride in their work or find out what happens with the product after it has shipped from the factory.
As part of my trip to Pakistan, I want to start changing that paradigm, one person at a time.
As simple as it might seem, showing our factory workers the fruit of their labor can put a smile on their face. This simple act makes a big impact in how that person perceives their work.
A soccer ball brings so much happiness to those who use it. So, we wanted to make sure some of that joy went back to its source – the makers of the ball.
We know its a small gesture, but we are convinced that its well worth it.
Workers from the packing department got a kick out of hearing players of all ages saying “Thank You” in their language.
After a long 14 hour journey and a bit of jetlag, I arrived in the city of Sialkot, Pakistan to visit the place where Senda’s Fair Trade soccer balls are produced. I couldn’t be more excited to be here and have the opportunity to meet the people behind each Senda soccer ball. I will be staying here for 10 days, and will be uploading posts and stories of my experience.
I am lucky to have a great host, Ehsan, who picked me up at the airport this morning. He has been educating me on local culture and also helps me communicate with workers.
My first impression was that people take a great amount of pride in their work, and that they enjoy meeting someone who came from so far away to see them.
A smile and kindness can do wonders and are universal communication tools that can span language barriers. I am looking forward to visiting the homes of some of the workers, learning how to stitch a ball from them, and hearing personal stories of how people’s lives have been improved thanks to Fair Trade.
Tomorrow, I will learn more about the entire production process of a Senda ball. We will look at a quality control process that guarantees Senda’s soccer balls match or surpass the quality of competitors across the board.
Remember, there is a face behind every Senda soccer ball you purchase. Help us support the factory workers and their right to make a fair wage.
We are excited to announce that I (Santiago, founder of Senda) will be traveling to Pakistan May 9th, to visit the ball stitchers and workers involved in making our Fair Trade Soccer balls!
Our goal is to see first hand the impact our customers make in the lives of those who make their Senda soccer balls. I will be spending 10 days with ball stitchers and factory workers, to see first hand the impact of Fair Trade, get the stories behind the certification, and bring those to you.
I will be visiting ball stitchers at home, sharing meals with them, hearing their stories, and even learning how to stich a ball myself!
This trip represents part of our efforts aimed at eradicating sweatshops by promoting a better way to do business, where more fairness and better personal relationships can be game changers.
Is there anything you would like me to do while visiting Pakistan? Any recommendations for street food, new ball designs you would like to see? Questions for the ball stitchers?
Let us know, and send us questions on our Facebook wall.
We will be writting daily reports on this trip and adventure, which takes us to meet the people behind the essence of the Beautiful Game: THE BALL.
More coming soon!
See you on the field,
Santiago, founder of Senda, had a unique chance to spend a week with CONCACAF referees, as they prepared for the Semifinals and Finals of the Olympic Qualifying Games in Kansas City on March 30th and April 2nd 2012. Below is his story.
When I was given the opportunity to work as a referee liaison last week, I jumped into it. Sure, working with a national team could have seemed more interesting. But the opportunity to see the game through the eyes of those who make some of the toughest calls during a match was more than enough for me! I was also intrigued about their training routine, mental fitness, and passion for the game.
And that is just the beginning…
Senda’s founder Santiago Halty had a chance to ask USMNT Coach Jurgen Klinsmann how he would define success in his role as a coach.
Here is what Jurgen said:
How do most of us coaches, players, parents and lovers of the beautiful game define success? Wouldn’t it be great to focus on Klinsmann’s comments that he hopes his players will say, “Coach Jurgen, you really gave me some help, improving my game and taking it to another level?” He went on to say “I truly believe that if that happens, we will have a team that is there for each other a team that runs and fights for each other, and also expresses themselves individually.” If he manages to do that, it will be some fun years ahead for US fans.
We must remember, a small percentage of players go on to play college or professional soccer, so we should strive to develop players who are excellent on the field and and off. We should aim to create socially aware and conscious players. We should teach lessons about hard work, bouncing back from adversity, and accepting people are different that us; lessons that will stick with our players for life.
One of the most rewarding experiences of working at Senda is seeing coaches using Senda’s Fair Trade story to talk to players about responsibility, Fair Play, and thinking beyond themselves. We are very proud to give players, parents, and coaches the opportunity to express to most sacred values on soccer, when they need to get their equipment.
How will you define success for your club, your school team, and your kids, in whatever way you are involved with the game?
After Sam Cronin attended our pre-launch party in San Francisco December 2010, he became one of the very first supporters of Senda. Sam was one of the first guests to arrive, and he chatted with most of the soccer fans who came to celebrate with us the beginning of Senda’s journey.
Right before leaving, Sam told us: “Love what you guys are doing, let me know if I can help in any way.”
We asked him if he would be able to help us test our soccer balls, to make sure we are always making the best quality balls for each playing category.
And the verdict is?
After two years of hard work, sweat, and of working with amazing people from all over the world, I am excited to say we are officially ready to ship Senda Athletics Fair Trade Soccer balls.
Our brand new website is up and running, and we can take orders on-line, by email, fax, twitter and even in person! Getting here has been a fantastic adventure, and this is only the beginning!
I would love to share some parts of this adventure with you.
On Sunday, July 17th, Senda was at the Women’s World Cup Screening @ Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco. Along with thousands of fans, we witnessed one of the most exciting games of the last decade: 120 minutes of action and players that left everything on the field. It was a great opportunity for Senda to interact with hundreds of people, tell them our story, get their suggestions (“make a purple ball!”), and see young players using our soccer balls on the field.
Who knows, maybe soon enough Senda will be the official provider of another international soccer tournament? Send us your suggestions!
During the entire World Cup, US players inspired a country to believe and fight until the very last minute, no matter the circumstances. Japan shared the same spirit in the final, and was a just winner.
Before the game, and during half-time, our friends at America Scores, organized soccer games for the children who went to see the game. Everyone who stopped by their tent had the chance to enter a raffle to win a Senda ball.
For the mini soccer games, everyone used our soccer balls, and the kids loved them! It’s always nice to see young people using Senda equipment. They are some of the first people to understand and embrace the importance of Fair Trade, and to get excited about our mission.
We had an excellent time at the Civic Center, and really enjoyed all the soccer energy present that day. Senda really believes in the power of soccer to change the lives of girls, so it fantastic to see all the support for women’s soccer. We are convinced that players can be very good role models for girls around the country, and even around the World, showing how determination, and team work can help achieve good results on and off the field.
US fans are proud of this team, and the Olympics are only 12 months away. In London 2012, once again, the USWNT will have an an entire country supporting them! We hope they will continue playing with the same team spirit and determination, and win the gold medal this time.