slavery-free sports balls

Kick the old sport balls and go slavery-free.

Catholic Mission and ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) joined forces this week to shine a spotlight on slavery-free sports balls in schools.

Catholic Mission visited St John’s Primary School in Mitcham, Victoria, to acknowledge the school’s participation in the 2020 Socktober Campaign. Socktober is an innovative online program of six modules that helps students focus  during Mission month in October. Each year Socktober has a focus on one particular program of Catholic Mission, yet always seeks to engage students with an understanding of why we work to support our brothers and sisters around the world. The modules are designed to enable students to engage family and friends in the student’s mission journey.

Mark, Catholic Mission’s Youth and Schools Engagement Officer VIC/TAS, said it was important for Catholic Mission that the our “official” Socktober balls, were slavery-free and had been produced without the use of child or exploited labour. It was also a chance to highlight World Fair Trade Day on Saturday May 8.

“Socktober begins with students creating their own “Sockball”, made from recycled materials. This enables students to gain a first-hand experience of the types of sporting equipment used by many children in developing countries.  Catholic Mission soccer balls, given to participating to schools, are Fairtrade. That is, our soccer balls are not made by exploited children, and therefore allowed the opportunity of an education,” Mark said.

Megan Bourke from ACRATH’s Community Development Team, said ACRATH would be working more closely with schools in the coming year to try and encourage all schools  to buy slavery-free sports equipment.

“We are asking schools, parishes and communities to ‘name their change’. Schools can start by buying Fairtrade sports balls and make a difference in the world. This is also an opportunity to teach children about modern-day slavery and what they can do to make a change,” Megan said.

This year Socktober will focus on the Mother and Babies Home run by the Good Shepherd sisters in Bangkok, Thailand. The Home provides support for vulnerable women and children.  According to Sr Chalaad, “it is about giving a chance to the mothers and children. And when they get that chance, they will be able to look forward and  they will be able to stand for themselves in the society  for their future. Even if they have no-one, we can stand by them.”

When organisations like Catholic Missions and ACRATH work together ‘the sky’s the limit’, said Mark Clarke.


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