Senda takes pride in having some of the best soccer supporters out there: people who love the game unconditionally!
In this guest blog post from Patrick Solana Walkinshaw, living in Dillingham, Alaska, he tells us how he fought to keep the game alive in the coldest of circumstances:
Moving to rural Alaska has been a family adventure. We wanted to get away from the hectic city lifestyle, be in nature, and get to know our community. We have made some sacrifices to live here, but the one thing we haven’t been willing to give up is playing soccer. Given that the only grass in the community is the softball field and a small muddy patch near a playground, I decided to try my luck indoors. After a year of assuring school maintenance officials that soccer can be played indoors without balls breaking down walls and windows, in the fall of 2011, I started a futsal programs for ages 12 and up. Given that there are no sporting good stores in my community, I went online in search of a futsal I could rely on. I was pleased to see that there was a Fair Trade option through Senda because I support an economic system that treats our global community with respect and fairness. I am now positively connected through my little community in Alaska, to a small business in California, and to factory workers overseas. Thanks Senda!
Patrick Solana Walkinshaw
Patrick, a lover of soccer and a supporter of Senda, playing in Alaska.
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.