journalist who created a football card-focused mission to doc the stories of migrant staff who lost or risked their lives to make the World Cup in Qatar possible says he “wanted to tell the stories of the people behind the statistics”.
Martin Schibbye, 42, the editor-in-chief of Blankspot – a crowdfunded digital solely platform for long-form journalism – labored on the mission referred to as “Cards of Qatar” with a staff of native journalists.
Around 70 football playing cards, which had been designed to attempt to resemble the official Panini Fifa World Cup football playing cards, had been created from 100 interviews carried out with households of migrant staff who got here from Nepal, India and Bangladesh.
The thought for the playing cards was sparked by Mr Schibbye’s colleague, Brit Stakston.
“She has a son who has always collecting football cards as child and so she said, ‘why don’t we make cards, but instead of putting professional football players on the cards, there should be pictures of a migrant worker and his/her story, why they left and what the consequences were for their family when they never returned home’,” Mr Schibbye told the PA news company, from Stockholm, Sweden.
He added that at first look, folks may assume that the playing cards are the official Fifa World Cup 2022 playing cards. “And then you will look closer and see that it highlights a different type of story”.
Representing the stories of migrant staff who helped to make the World Cup possible was a key intention Mr Schibbye hoped to obtain by the mission, who visited households in Nepal.
“There were a lot of numbers thrown around about how many people died,” he said.
“The Guardian mentioned the figure 6,500, while others said 10,000 and then we had the official Qatar response, who said that only three people had died in connection to the arena construction work.
“And I felt that what we were lacking was getting to know these families and these people who went to Qatar to provide for their families so that their kids could go to school, and who were skilled workers with dreams and ambitions and I felt that they were kind of forgotten.
“I wanted to tell the stories of the people behind the statistics.”
Bine Bahadur Bishworkarma was one of the migrant staff whose story was represented on one of the football playing cards.
“There was one interview I did with Nir Maya Bishworkarma, his widow,” Mr Schibbye said.
“He was from Nepal and worked in Qatar and his widow never received his body, so she couldn’t have a proper funeral ceremony.
“Instead, when she got the message that he had died, she collected clothes from his wardrobe and burned those clothes just to get closure.”
He added that she noted folks on-line had been calling for the occasion to be boycotted, however she simply “wanted fans to remember him”.
And her phrases have been with me by this process – it is all about honouring and remembering all these those that constructed Qatar and made this World Cup possible.
She added that “I want them to learn his name and when they walk on that marble floor, which he had made, that he did a good job and it makes me proud of him and his work”.
Mr Schibbye said: “And her words have been with me through this process – it’s all about honouring and remembering all those people that built Qatar and made this World Cup possible.”
The playing cards – which have a restrict of 600 characters – included the angle of the family, which was represented by a quote from them, the trigger of the migrant employee’s demise, if identified, and their age.
Mr Schibbye additionally confirmed the households in Nepal the playing cards and “they really took them to their hearts”.
“They felt that it was a really worthy way of remembering their relatives,” he added.
Interviews had been additionally carried out with those that had been injured or got here again to South Asia, who have highlighted how the subject is just not a “black and white issue”.
He said: “It’s also a very complex issue, where you have the sons of Bishworkarma wanting to go to Qatar to work because they want to provide for their mother and their younger sisters so that they can go to school, even though their father’s body never came back.
“And I think we have been looking in Doha for answers, but the answers are not really there – it’s in South Asia – and we need to understand poverty.
“It’s like a hammer and it really pushes people to go abroad and the money makes a difference – you really understand why people sacrifice themselves and take these huge risks.”
He added that many households didn’t obtain any compensation and felt that correct investigations ought to have been carried out to discover out why folks died.
He said: “I mean, in Nepal, when bodies come home, in 70% of cases, natural death is recorded on the death certificate.
“Many do not know how their relatives died. What they had was stories from colleagues of co-workers.”
The playing cards had been despatched to Fifa and to the sponsors of the football occasion, with solely Adidas responding.
Longer variations of the stories represented on the playing cards, in addition to digital variations, could be discovered on the Cards of Qatar web site: https://cardsofqatar.com/en/