The indestructible One World soccer ball gives kids in "refugee camps, war zones, disaster areas and inner cities" a chance to be kids again. While soccer is a sport that is relatively new to the U.S. it is known as the 'world's sport' because it's the main source of recreational activity in almost every other country. There are very little accouterments required to play the game. No bats, hoops, rackets, skates, sticks, masks, pads or fancy clubs are required to play soccer. And in most cases the only space needed is a relatively small square of hard earth. This is why the One World Futbol Project is not only important, it's effective!
The design of the One World Futbol goes even further. Because the ball is made from a solid sphere of foam, it never goes flat, does not require a pump and is super sustainable because it eliminates the need to trash it (“In Africa alone, 20 million deflated balls make their way into trash heaps every year”). Yet though the design might suggest a ball the feels odd on the foot, professional players have championed the ball as a way for kids and adults alike to get involved in a sport the foundation believes can change lives.
Invented by Tim Jahnigen, who was inspired after viewing footage of kids in Darfur playing a soccer game using balled up trash, the One World Futbol project seeks to get the balls into the hands of kids through a one-for-one purchase model. For every ball sold through the project’s campaign one is delivered to a community in need. And if soccer is not a sport your family plays, you can simply donate a ball. “Play helps us learn and brings us joy. Play helps us recover from trauma and helps us cope with poverty, war, and natural disaster. Children around the world need to play.”
If I sound biased towards this project it’s because I am. I remember growing up in a low-income community in Kingston, Jamaica playing soccer with tiny ‘balls’ fashioned from orange juice boxes. Ten, twelve, fourteen of us would gather and share the task of folding and stuffing. Did we noticed that the ball didn’t bounce and rolled oddly because of the angled edges? We didn’t. Neither did we worry ourselves about playing on what amounted to tarmac. We simply lost ourselves in the game for hours on end. I’m happy to see that other kids who need it more I did, will have this opportunity of reprieve from pressing situations.