Football has a different meaning in this small village of Sisola in northern India. While the world was watching FIFA matches recently, people here were stitching footballs, just as they do every day.
Football is not a sport in this village in Uttar Pradesh state, but a means to make a living. People here have been stitching footballs for ages, despite receiving a meager amount for their labor from distributors who seek to maximize their profits.
The workforce includes children, mostly girls, which means their parents don’t send them to school. And families have to take up a high volume of work to barely survive, a burden which is equally shared by the children.
Having visited and spoken to families in this village, we, too, couldn’t help seeing football as more than just a fun sport as we watched World Cup 2018.