Trading for hope
01 July 2015
As swathes of Salvationists arrived at The O2 for Boundless 2015, many carried red canvas delegate bags and wore Boundless lanyards – two items that have offered hope, dignity and a future for men and women in Pakistan and Bangladesh who, as part of Others, created these products.
Others is an international social enterprise run by The Salvation Army. Formerly known as Sally Ann, it operates in a similar manner to the Fairtrade foundation, where producers are paid a fair wage for their products.
‘Others is all about creating jobs with a fair wage for people who struggle to find fair employment,’ said Bo Christoffer (Chris) Brekke, the Global Administrator for Others. ‘This could be people who come through Salvation Army community projects, corps, or who for some other reason find their way to the Army in need of a job. We create jobs for them and market their products in different parts of the world.’
The name Others is taken from a telegram William Booth reportedly sent to inspire and motivate his people. This telegram is said to have contained just one word – Others.
‘Others is a perfect match with the Army’s mission and goals,’ Chris said. ‘It’s about dignity, and the dignity that’s in a job and earning your own living, which was always important to [Salvation Army Founder] William Booth.’
For five months, more than 300 Others producers in Pakistan created the 15,500 lanyards. Just 15 women in Bangladesh created the 15,500 bags. Chris said the income generated has made a significance difference to their lives.
He is promoting Others at Boundless from an exhibition stand in the Boundless Experience area of The O2 and was joined by General André Cox as the exhibition opened on Tuesday afternoon.
‘The General is already a good supporter of Others and has always backed us,’ Chris said. ‘He is passionate about a lot of the issues we’re passionate about.’
The exhibition displays products from Pakistan, Kenya, Moldova and Bangladesh, and is interactive, encouraging delegates to have a go at making a badge or taking part in a quiz. Chris is also keen to encourage people to be ambassadors for Others: ‘If you wish Others products were sold in your country, come and see me. I’d love to talk to you and share ideas.’
In the meantime, Others products are also available at the SP&S Shop. ‘We want to get people excited about the concept and send them right to the SP&S Shop,’ Chris added. ‘We also want to get people to understand how much that means to the people on the other end; it’s not just a product and it’s not just something nice, but it’s something that can change somebody’s life. It’s something that can give people opportunities to a better future and that’s what The Salvation Army is all about. Others is a great embodiment of the Army’s mission.’
By Laura Booth -
This article was included in issue two of Boundless Today. Click to read all issues of Boundless Today.