Third world exploitation is nothing new. Everybody knows about it and you’re probably sick of hearing it. If you live in an industrialized country you pretty much constantly profit off of it. If you want to or not. Everybody knows it’s wrong. But unfortunately our simple little minds are ignorant enough to just forget about things we do not like. Especially if we are not directly confronted with them. That being said, we are no different. Do not feel attacked. For many people in this world life is not just about putting a basketball through a hoop. Many people suffer, whether it’s because of poverty, diseases, hunger or simply because they happen to be born in the wrong country at the wrong time. So just to make things clear: Yes, we promote basketball, sports, a healthy lifestyle and much more. Yes, we sell BÖLLE merch and organize legendary events. BUT we also want you to be aware that there is more to it. We all share the privilege of having been born in the right place at the right time. We want to share humbleness, gratefulness and compassion. Therefore, we decided to launch a project in Guinea, Africa. It all started with a simple, naive idea. “Hey if we make some money with BÖLLE, let’s give back to where it’s needed the most”. No plan, no know-how, just a simple idea. And look where we are now.
THE GUINEA PROJECT 1.0 (2021)
The plan was that Malik and Vid both head down to Africa. In a crazy turn of events Vid, who played for the Basel Starwings at that time, achieved the unexpected. As the first team from the German speaking part of Switzerland in history, the Basel Starwings reached the Swiss Basketball Finals. The feelings were mixed but BÖLLE ISCH LEBE. At the end of the day Team BÖLLE delivered on both ends of the court. Malik was going to his country of origin to build the new basketball court, while Vid competed in the Finals in his rookie season as a pro. There were many unknown variables and many sleepless nights but with dedication and resilience anything is possible. In the end everything went smooth and just as planned. The court was built, the money was used to its fullest and also on a personal level there was a lot of growth.
The first time going back to my father’s country, Guinea, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. So much lost potential, so much pain, yet so many beautiful souls. It was a weird feeling. Why the hell would I deserve to study in Switzerland, literally the richest country in the world, while my dad barely went to school? How the hell can I complain so much about my life, about irrelevant problems and materialistic crap, while other people barely survive? I felt ashamed. What a strange situation to be in. In Guinea everybody thought I was rich. Which is relatively true, but in absolute terms not true at all, as I found myself eating 5.- pasta in my student dorm soon after my return to Switzerland.
It is very humbling to see that so many people supported us even though it all occurred during a difficult Covid season. We say thank you to all of you and we hope that this is just the beginning of much more. We are also very proud of ourselves that the vision we had has become reality. At the end of the day, we are just two students who followed their hearts and did what felt right. We just hope to inspire more people to stick together and not forget that we are all just human. Even if it is a small contribution, it is better than nothing. So with every purchased product from BÖLLE you can be part of our journey as well. A percentage of the revenue will go directly to our humanitarian project. That is what BÖLLE stands for, that is what makes us proud. We are local, we are small but we strive for more, even with the limited resources we have at our disposal. Stay tuned. Stay humble. Be nice. Together we can change more than you think. BÖLLE ISCH FAMILY, BÖLLE ISCH LEBE!
THE GUINEA PROJECT 2.0 (2022)
Round two! We were very happy to announce that BÖLLE as a whole was going back to the basketball court in Guinea. This time Malik and Vid were able to go together just as planned. We organized a camp for all the local players, sharing the love for basketball. The close ties to Malik’s family in general allowed for another successful mission. The court was partially damaged because of heavy rain falls and some harsh weather conditions. We were able to find access to some rare much more resilient paint which is more weather resistant. After the minor but necessary works we officially reopened the court and held an event for the local community. Due to our connections, we were able to invite Guinea’s U20 National Team to play against the school we supported. The local team received official BÖLLE jerseys to compete during the upcoming season. Of course, we provided free food and drinks to everyone as always and found a local dance crew to put on a show. Once again it was magical and the support was unreal. Vid fell in love with the country, and we can’t wait to be back once more with even bigger plans.
I think I have finally found my purpose; this means much more to me than blindly chasing money while other people starve… I am speechless.
Nothing great ever gets done single-handedly. First and foremost, big thanks to all our donators and supporters. We still got very limited resources but we try our best to give back. Just as much as our current situation allows us to. We saw all those children cheering up and for once forgetting about their daily challenges, whenever they stepped on the basketball court. Needless to say how bad the conditions were. Needless to point out all the pain and suffering. But on the court we all speak the same language. What counts are the little moments of lightheartedness. The same little moments we try to have at our camps in Switzerland. These moments are absolutely priceless as well as unforgettable. Every single child on earth deserves to experience them. That is all we try to do. That being said, we are far from being done yet. You can still support the following projects and we are also always up to interact with you guys personally. Just shoot us a DM. Stay tuned and share the love because BÖLLE ISCH LEBE FAM.