Meet the People Behind the Ball – Part 3 of 4


September 26, 2012 – Abdul Sattar, Stitcher

Abdul Sattar stitcher-VOLO Athletics Fair Trade Sports Balls

My name is Abdul Sattar and I work in the stitching centre. When I grew up, I had the love of my parents and prosperity in my home. My father worked for a paint company in Saudi Arabia and he was earning enough wages. I have one elder brother and one elder sister in my family. I was the youngest and loveable to all. My mother used to help us in getting ready for school every day. My father worked hard and saved enough money to purchase a small but beautiful home. Everything was like a dream world.

But suddenly my father lost his job and we were facing financial problems. During that time my mother also died of asthma. My father helped my elder brother in finding a job as a labourer in nearby construction building company.
But then, once again we had to tolerate another loss when my elder brother fell from a height during work and died on the spot.

My father was worried about the marriage of my elder sister and he advised me to find work somewhere to cope with family problems. So I left school in seventh grade, when I was around 16 years, and learned to stitch balls from a close friend in my village.

I worked hard for two years but it was not enough to run my home. Then one day I came to know about the stitching centre where VOLO Athletics has their balls made. The stitchers were getting a handsome piece rate1 along with medical and pension facilities, so I joined this stitching centre. However, I found that although I was working hard, it was still difficult to meet the food expenses of my family.

Thankfully, there was also a Fair Price Shop in the factory where grocery items were available at low prices compared to market rates2. Every month I was used to purchasing the “Ration” for my home from there. In the month of Ramadan, we make special arrangements and special dishes at “Sahar” and “Aftaar” times. One week before Ramadan, when I entered the factory gate in the morning I read a banner outside which announced an additional 10% discount on regular prices during month of Ramadan, courtesy of the Fairtrade Joint Body.3

During whole month of Ramadan all the employees benefited from this scheme. The Fair Price Shop remained opened from morning to evening and we could purchase goods even after factory closing timings. Good quality commodities were available at low prices and we used to avail this scheme by purchasing even non-regular items.

During the month of Ramadan, we have to spend more time performing our religious duties like fasting, offering prayers, especially “Traaveh”, helping the poor by charity and “Zakat” etc. So, we didn’t have to waste time in visiting different markets for necessary household goods because everything was available at The Fair Price Shop. Items like sugar, dates, noodles, flour, pulses, rice, ghee, sharbat, cold drinks, smosa patti etc., which are used most in Ramadan, compared to the other eleven months.

During the month of Ramadan, all the workers used to offer prayers together in the factory mosque during special prayer-break times given by the factory owner. On 27th of the Ramadan my sister got married and my father was relieved from most of his worries. I was very glad that my family problems were being resolved due to the benefits and facilities that I was availing as a stitcher in this new stitching centre. I am in a position to get married soon and pray to Allah for the progress of the company and The Fairtrade Joint Body, who have sympathy and soft corner for the worker’s welfare and prosperity in the present difficult situation of the country’s economy.

Abdul Sattar

1 Previously I was getting PKR 40~45 per ball and now it was PKR 60~65 per ball. Further, I was assured to earn Pakistan’s minimum wage if my rates per ball didn’t amount to the country’s minimum wage requirement.  

2 Normally the prices were 7%~10% lower than market rates.

3 The Fairtrade Joint Body receives funding from the production of every Fairtrade Sports Ball made for VOLO Athletics. This funding is deposited directly into the Fairtrade Joint Body Bank Account, then used by the community of employees by way of a democratic process.

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