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Mohammad Saddiqe - Train your Mind to be Fair Trade

ETHLETIC Trainer Worker

Mohammad Saddiqe was already 58 when he joined our ETHLETIC factory in Talon, Pakistan six years ago. Having previously worked as a football stitcher for another company for two years, Mohammad was putting together football stitching kits to be sent to the villages for stitching. He was then transferred to the new trainer section, cleaning the shoes after processing and putting in laces. 

For the first two years he was a permanent employee, but because of legal regulations, from the age of 60, he can continue to work only as a contract worker, with his daily wages for the month at least reaching the current legal minimum wage of RS 6000. Talon continues to pay social security for him, which covers his health care via the government system, but unfortunately he never got close to the ten years of payments required that would have allowed for a pension.

Mohammad has four sons and four daughters; the two older sons and daughter are all married and have moved out of the house. Of the two younger girls one has just graduated from high school, the other has a year to go. The third brother runs a small mobile phone shop nearby on the same road where Talon's factory is located. His youngest son is Yasir, who is now 21. At the age of three he contracted Polio, and since then has been unable to stand or walk.

In June the loan committee of the Talon Fair Trade Welfare Society granted him a loan of RS 25,000 (approximately £190) to help with opening a tailoring workshop. Having graduated from school after ten years, he had gained experience as a tailor's apprentice for 18 months. During that time he earned RS 50-60 per suit of Shalwar Kamiz, a loose local trouser-shirt combination. Since his customers appreciated the quality and speed of his work, he planned to open his own shop. 

The family paid for a used sewing machine, costing RS 13,000, (approximately £100) itself, whilst the loan from the Talon Fair Trade Welfare Society paid for a second hand hem-making machine. Yasir calculates that he can stitch 3-4 suits per day, which would sell for RS 250 each. With the monthly rent at RS 500, the high cost of electricity and RS 70 for fabric, his earnings would be around RS 125 (just under £1), almost doubling his previous income. The shop is only 500m from his home, and he could move on a hand-driven tricycle.

Just after the loan had been approved, however, a doctor in the local hospital told him that his left knee needed to be reset, and on 30th June 2010 he was admitted to a specialist hospital in Lahore,  2.5 hours away by car. He was discharged ten days later, with half of his left leg in a cast. The Lahore hospital charged RS 30,000, which are covered from Fair Trade funds. The family can also expect that they will be covered for the expected RS 20,000 follow up costs. Yasir has to stay on his mattress for at least two long months before he is allowed to move in his tricycle - and can finally open his shop for business - that is unless there are complications with the leg. 

For now, his main pastime is watching TV preferably WWE wrestling. Considering the fate he has to wrestle with, it is a privilege that Fair Trade premiums could help make his life a little easier. The loan committee has postponed repayment of course, until he is well enough to start his shop.

Check out our range of Fairtrade, eco footballs to help Mohammad and people like him. 

Published 11/10/11

Photo(s) ® M.Kunz Fair Deal Trading