A DECADE OF ACHIEVEMENTS
SGFI was started a decade back by volunteer members from the Indian Sports Industry with an objective to address the child labour issue. Over the period of time with experience and learning’s drawn because of close contact with the community SGFI’s vision was broadened and we started looking at root causes like education, health, social security and women empowerment. The strategy followed was bottoms up approach which meant understanding what is required at the community level and then devising methodology, action plan and activities addressing the needs of the community. To take this agenda forward, support was extended by UNIDO-CDP in the form of capacity building, knowledge linkage, monitoring and evaluation. This is part of Jalandhar’s social responsibility which we define as SERB (Social and Environmental Responsibility of Business).
While surveying each house as to why the children were stitching soccer balls, we came across one house where school bag was lying and the child was at home. When asked, why has he not gone to school, his reply was, I did not do home work and if I don’t do home work, the teacher scolds me. Next house, we saw the same situation. The books were there but the child had gone out in the street to play. When contacted, this child also said the same i.e. did not do home work given by teacher because father is illiterate, mother is illiterate. Third house, same situation, till we came across a young girl about twenty years old who looked educated, and asked her if it is possible for her to help children with their home work in the afternoons so that they go to school the next morning. She agreed saying yes I help my younger brother with his home work and he is quite regular to school. Then we went to a temple in the same locality and found out that community members came for prayers only in the morning hours or in the late evening hours and whole day the premises are not used anyway. We requested the priest and he agreed to let the children and the teacher sit in Verandah of the temple and do their home work etc. THE TUITION CENTRE STARTED WORKING AND THESE KIDS STARTED GOING TO SCHOOLS NOT AFRAID OF THE TEACHER. Within next seven days, the temple priest of next locality comes to us and praises this way of encouraging kids to go to school. Another teacher was found, ANOTHER TUITION CENTRE STARTED FUNCTIONING and today we have 14 such TUITION CENTRES and we have been able to show the way to school to as many as 752 children.
Had these TUITION CENTERS not opened, the parents, having no patience and having no educational background themselves would have pushed their kids into child labour but NO; the TUITION CENTERS helped these kids to go to their respective schools instead of being pushed into child labour.
Under the NCLP (National Child Labour Project) of Govt. of India SGFI was managing 4 schools, but having seen our past performance the Government has entrusted the management of 4 more schools to SGFI making a total of 8. This is a big pat on our back. Currently SGFI is running 6 schools.
Having seen the working of SPORTS GOODS FOUNDATION OF INDIA recently Lions Clubs International has nominated the undersigned as District Chairperson of Child Labour in Lions District 321-D because we have moved from "MUST DO" TO "RIGHT THING TO DO".
Now the message will be conveyed throughout India through Lions also. "SMART THING TO DO".
SELF HELP GROUPS (SHG’s) – WOMEN EMPOWERMENT:
SGFI works closely with 3000+ families covering about 15000 home based football stitchers. Most of these workers are trapped under the vicious circle of debt & high interest rates. They have no insurance & savings to cover themselves from unforeseen circumstances. SGFI has in the last 1 year so far created 30 SHG’s comprising of 20 families each thereby empowering 600 families covering about 4000 people. These SHG’s are run by women & are contributing equal amounts in their bank. The money so collected is being used for their insurance, micro finance needs & income generation schemes. SGFI plans to create further 30 SHG's by the end of 2008 thereby covering 8000 + workers.
SGFI has started skill mapping of these SHG to determine their other skills so that income generation schemes relating to their skills can be brought that can be implemented.
HEALTHY MIND HEALTHY BODY (Health Project):
SGFI conducts 1 free medical camp every 2 months for its football stitchers & their families where free medical check ups are done and medicines are distributed. So far over 40 such medical camps have been conducted thereby benefitting over 10000 people. Medical camps conducted are for General, ENT, Dental, Orthopedic and Eye. Besides this, free medical check ups are also done once every week at one of the 30 tuition centers run by SGFI.
SGFI has conducted over 120000 visits/revisits in the last 10 years. 3300 stitching locations have been registered comprising of 15000 workers.
REACH (A social responsibility movement initiated by wives of SGFI members).
SGFI has brought together wives of exporters who have volunteered for community welfare in Jalandhar. Under this project 8 schools are involved who collect clothes, books etc. 12 collection centers have been opened where such material is collected and distributed to the needy people. 15 distribution drives have been held in the past 6 months.
CFC – COMMON FACILITY CENTER:
SGFI has in the past 1 year started R&D projects namely as:-
MACHINE STITCHED FOOTBALLS: 6 football stitching machines were procured and workers from SGFI member factories are being trained daily for stitching footballs on machines. Members have also started procuring machines and few of them have completed orders for machine stitched footballs.
TABLE SCREEN PRINTING: For faster and mass production of footballs SGFI is developing a table for screen printing of multiple football panels at a time.
MULTIPLE CUTTING DIE: To save time and increase production, a multiple cutting die is being developed to cut many panels in one stroke of the cutting machine.
ROLL LAMINATION MACHINE: A lamination machine is being developed to laminate and dry one full roll at a time.
A STEP MOVING FROM HOME BASED "STITCHING UNITS" TO "STITCHING CENTERS":
A few SGFI members have established their own stitching centers outside of their factories. They have shifted their production from home based stitching units to their stitching centers. Other SGFI members are in the process of opening up collective stitching centers.
FACILITATING SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY INITIATIVES:
SGFI has started strengthening silent social responsibility of its members. Informal philanthropic activity is being streamed lined in a formal way. SGFI is also currently organizing a team of experienced professionals to help its members for setting up of a "trust" to conduct social work in a formal manner.