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See the unseen – know the unknown – discover new worlds and rule the skies. These are the sort of high dreams that we imagine for our children, but the question is … are they practical? Some people might answer ‘NO’, but I think the answer is ‘YES’ as Impossible is Nothing. Really? What about those parents that cannot afford to pursue their dreams but still have a strong wish to see their child shine like a star? I’m talking about education and precisely early education, which forms the basis for a bright future.

Practical Challenges

We are all well aware that in a world where smartphones and tablets are like toys for certain children, a vast majority still is victim of socio-economic disparities and also fights hard to get a chance for better education. Poverty is usually the cause of this, impacting the lives of these people and often forcing parents to give up on their dreams and have their children say full or partial goodbye to their education and help them in earning bread for their families.

Do the Right Thing

More than a decade ago, adidas responded to one such call of need in District Sialkot located in the north-east of the Punjab Province in Pakistan. As a responsible brand sourcing from this area, the adidas Group not only supported the core spirit of the Atlanta Agreement signed between ILO-IPEC, UNICEF and Sialkot Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) to curb the menace of child labour in the sewing of footballs in the Sialkot area, but also felt it appropriate to work on the social part of it.

For this purpose, adidas started supporting Sudhaar, a local NGO, and is still doing so now – which has remained very instrumental in ensuring that not a single child works in its supply chain and children residing in its football business operational area go to school and have access to quality education.

Meeting Situational Demands

The cemetery where students used to study before

The cemetery where students used to study before

Last year, Sudhaar had to face an unusual situation. In fact, it was identified that the Primary Section of Boys Primary School in Sahowala Town in the District Sialkot had no school building and children were compelled to use the nearby cemetery for their schooling needs … sitting under the shade of trees.

Faced with this reality, the adidas Group decided that we would support Sudhaar in a fund-raising activity destined to complete the school building for little children.

Shelter to Shine (a School-Building Project)

Back in March 2013, Sudhaar initiated the Shelter to Shine fund-raising project. Various local manufacturers, as well as local philanthropists, came forward and played their part in this noble project.

This collective effort gave those kids something good to cheer about, i.e. a Shelter to Shine; finally, nearly 205 school kids were given a proper building where they could meet and learn.

A Brand-New School Building for the Future Stars

In front of the school building

In front of the school building

Finally, in October 2014, an adidas Group team alongside local businessmen and key community members inaugurated the new school building and handed it over to the School Management.
The Principal, Teachers and Students showed their gratitude to all the contributors.
Students were extremely happy on this occasion and were very ambitious about their future and goal achievements.
Hope you’ll agree that this happy ending is actually a new beginning for the future of this nation. My best wishes are always with these kids who are already stars from my point of view.
Apart from this school-building initiative, the Basic Education Program which we have been funding for a very long time has already benefited more than 28,000 children and this number will continue to grow in the time to come.