RAPHAEL : “Time for me to give back”….

It’s been a while since one of my articles has seemed so important to me. Maybe it’s the most important I’ve published on Badzine… It’s been 10 years exactly that […]


It’s been a while since one of my articles has seemed so important to me. Maybe it’s the most important I’ve published on Badzine…

It’s been 10 years exactly that I’ve been touring the world to cover badminton. The first time, at the end of 1999 for the US Open, when I was doing a story on the death row for a French Magazine and I incidentally offered my services to the then IBF for the event just next door to where I was.

10 years that I have travelled every where around the world, chasing the “birdy”. 10 years that I am amazed by this sport, these athletes, who, for most, still struggle to make a living, but are passionate and humble people.  It’s been also 10 years that I’ve kept launching, together with an amazing team – projects, Badzine, Badmintonphoto, GPS, etc. But today, was the time to launch the last – but not least. It is called – Badminton without Borders. Bringing the whole badminton community to help out small projects around the world. And make a small difference in those who are not as lucky as we are.

This last project is also probably the most ambitious one. I come to a point where I needed to get back to my first vocation. I dropped medical school – I wanted to become a “French Doctor without border” to become a journalist, and somehow, have the tools to change the world in a different way. Since then, even if I have kept in touch with some organizations, I have been “kidnapped” by badminton. It’s taken all my time. For 10 years, I have travelled. I have learned. I have met amazing people. Now I feel it’s time to give back, somehow.

Raphedito2Change the world…

As a little kid, I thought I could change the world. I’ve realized that changing the world might be difficult. But changing little things, in the life of those who are in the need, can make a difference. We could almost borrow  Neil Armstong’s famous quote: “A small step on a badminton court. A big step for Mankind”…

All these articles, these photos I’ve taken for the past 10 years, haven’t changed much I must admit. It’s given some satisfaction to those who’ve read, seen the images of course. But, to be very honest with you, that’s not really enough for me. This may sound lacking humility, but I just want to give back and make a real change. Or a small difference, somehow, but more meaningful. I may sound utopist, also, but that’s who I am. A big mouth with a tender heart – yeah, I’m the type of guy who gets moved when I see kids who have nothing to eat, and, in spite of that, keep smiling. I then tell myself that we have things to learn from them…

And I know for a fact that all my crazy friends will be, once again, alongside me to make it happen, as always. As always, I will get most of the credit while they do most of the work. But someone’s got to have the crazy ideas and I guess I was meant to be that one.

A crazy project

Time to give back. How? I’ve asked myself the question. Leave everything and fly to Africa to give my time and energy to kids in small villages? That was an option, but maybe not the most efficient. Use my knowledge, my job and the 10 years I’ve toured the world to meet people seemed a better way to do it. Hence, the last badminton project has a name: SOLIBAD. Badminton Without Borders.

In other words, go out and find all the ways to raise funds, soliciting top players but also, anyone involved in the badminton community. I know for a fact that the badminton community is a generous one. It’s given me a lot. And I feel it can help me help others, now.

The funds raised will then be brought to small and concrete projects. The first one is to help an orphanage in Bali, Indonesia. With Taufik, my good friend, as an ambassador to help us. And then, another orphanage in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which is hosting kids who survive because their patron is able to make a small living out of recycling. With Koo Kien Keat, a player I have learned to discover over the past few months and whom I’ve realized has a big heart. And that latest project to send 1,000 rackets to Haiti, to kids in surviving camps. Those project are efficient, practical and are exactly the kind of projects I feel can make a difference. Later on, other projects will be helped by SOLIBAD:  a project in Sichuan, China – where SOLIBAD’s official global ambassador, Pi Hongyan, is originally from – but also Brasil, land of the future Olympic Games and Vietnam, two countries where two amazing men have build badminton schools for street kids in order to give them a way of living as well as a hope for the future though our sport.

raphedito1No more words… actions!

I can see some of you laughing at this project. “This guy is crazy. This will never work”. Others would just not find any interest. Maybe. Others will say “Hey, Raph, great idea, you’re so cool!” To them and everyone, I will simply answer that it’s easy to be a big mouth and say things. It’s another story to make it happen. But believe me, that’s what I’m going to try to do. With my means, and with your help, because I will be asking you for help. You, top players. You, federation officials. You, club members, who, like me, come to a time where they’d like to be part of something that makes a change, while having fun.

Because the whole idea behind this concept, also, is to raise funds in a joyful manner. No crying or sad ways of promoting our projects. I want this project to be a joyful one. I intend to be happy, have fun while launching SOLIBAD and raising funds. And I count on you to do as well. It’s not about sacrifices. It’s about making a small change at our level, but doing it with a smile on our faces. Because giving is getting.

Shuttle is on your side!

Yes, I know, this article is not very well written, nor very well planned. It’s just that I write with my heart. The project, don’t worry, is way more structured (even if, as always, we do things seriously without considering ourselves as serious people!). It’s important that you know that every cent, penny, euro that you raise will reach the project we have decided to help. Badzine and Badmintonphoto will be covering all administrative costs, so that every thing that you help to collect, is sent, or brought directly on site.

Now, enough with words. I count on all of you to give us a hand.  To make “a small step on a badminton court a big step for Man Kind”.

Help us. Have fun. www.solibad.net

Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.