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Fairtrade Sports balls help Indigenous Youth.

Australian based fair trade company Etiko has launched a new brand ofFairtrade sports balls, Jinta Sport, to support programs that help youngIndigenous Australians. Five percent from each direct sale goes to theMt Theo Program, which helps disadvantaged young people improve their lives with the support of mentors and elders in the Warlpiri regionof Central Australia.

Sports ball are often made in developing countries underpoor working conditions. These Fairtrade balls guarantee thatworkers have good labour conditions, no child labour has beenused, and money is put back into local communities.

A Fairtrade accredited manufacturer in Pakistan makes allthe sports balls and the purchase of these balls helps fundpre-school programs for kids, health care for families andmicro-credit programs to help people in the community set uptheir own enterprises. Nick Savaidis from Etiko says, ‘We thought this wouldbe a good way to not only help kids in developingcountries, but also to help kids in Australia’. Nickworked in the Warlpiri region (northwest of AliceSprings) for four years and now runs a business thatsells ethically made products, but he wanted to givesomething back to the Indigenous communities he had worked in during the early 90’s.

The name ‘Jinta’ is a Warlpiri word that means ‘one’ and is colloquially used to mean winner. Theword is also used in the Warlpiri phrase ‘Jinta-ku-marrarni’, which means coming together, such asplaying a game of football or basketball. The name suits because the Warlpiri community use sportsto bring the kids together in meaningful activity.

 The balls carry the Jinta Sport brand and the Fairtrade certification logo, along with an icon of thethorny devil, a lizard found in Central Australia that looks cute but, according to Nick, ‘packs a punchif you step on it’.Quality is enhanced, not compromised, with these fairlytraded balls.

Stylishly retro, they use high quality rubber andpolyurethane. Many are hand-stitched. They are designed tolast the distance, not break at the first sign of rough handling.They do not use PVC, a highly toxic plastic. There are currentlyfour types of balls – Soccer, Aussie Rules, Basketball andNetball – with more balls and other products on the drawingboard.Cameron Neil, Operations Manager from Fairtrade LabellingANZ states: ‘The introduction of the Jinta Sport range is great news.

Consumers can purchaseFairtrade Certified Jinta products and invest in better opportunities and livelihoods for those peopleinvolved in the manufacture of these high quality sports products overseas. Etiko has also committed, consistent with the use of the Indigenous name for the products, to ensure the sales of Jinta products provides benefits to Indigenous communities here in Australia. “We certainly commend Etiko onlaunching this new range.’The money raised from the sales of the balls will be used to fund sports programs for school-aged Warlpiri children, including sports equipment, uniforms and a regular sports carnival”.

 Since 1993, the Mt Theo Program has worked with Warlpiri youth to offer healthy ways to leadership and communitythrough sport and games in this remote Indigenous community located 300km northwest of AliceSprings. Warlpiri local, Lingkili Jampijinpa Watson, states: ‘Jinta Sport is a good idea to say no tochild labour. When they make this equipment overseas we don’t want to see children having to work.’By purchasing these sports balls, schools and consumers are not only helping Australian kids, butare doing something good for children in other countries too.

Etiko is a fashion and sports business that is dedicated to providing ethical alternatives to mainstream products including sports equipment,footwear, t-shirts and men’s shirts. Etiko has won many state and national business awards includingthe 2008 Banksia Environmental Foundation Awardfor Business Sustainability and the 2009 Greenleaf Award for Social Responsibility.

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