Stitching Footballs: Voices of Children in Sailkot, Pakistan

Save the Children, UK

This report details a situation analysis of children working in football stitching around Sialkot, Pakistan. The analysis (1) examined the reasons that children work and the probable impact of eradicating children's involvement and phasing out home-based production and (2) determined a baseline for monitoring changes in children's and families' well-being as a result of a social protection program. Section 1 of the report describes the program developed to phase out children's involvement in football stitching and the study's goals. Section 2 provides an overview of the Sialkot District and the football manufacturing industry. Section 3 details the findings of a survey of 428 households and 46 focus group discussions. Key findings revealed that the vast majority of children stitch footballs because they are poor. Findings include the following: working does not necessarily prevent school attendance; stopping children from working will significantly reduce family income; many women currently stitching at home will not be able to work in stitching centers; stitching footballs is less hazardous than other work open to children, but prolonged stitching from an early age can cause physical harm; poor remuneration is the main disadvantage of football stitching; and children and adults receive equal pay for work of equal quality. Section 4 of the report recommends protecting family incomes, improving education and vocational training, giving programs time to work, monitoring the social impact of industry changes, and ensuring that action is based on a full understanding of the reality of children's lives. Six appendices include statistical tables, methodology, and an outline of the project to eliminate child labor in the Sialkot soccer ball industry.