It all begins with a ball

Posted by Ramesh Goonetilleke on 06/20/12

Children trade old worn out soccer balls for a One World Futbol that will never go flat while Lisa visits the community of Santa Gertrudis in El Salvador. Photo by: h2 Media Labs

Without a ball, there is no game.  Without a ball, we can’t experience the passion, the excitement, the beauty of soccer that can lift our spirits and fill our hearts with joy.

For millions of children around the world, their “ball” is little more than a rock, an empty bottle, a deflated old ball, or a homemade rag ball.  But our drive to play is so strong, that children make do with what they can find.

I recently returned from visiting El Salvador, the smallest nation in Central America, where we were delivering One World Futbols.  In every community we visited, children showed us their worn-out, deflated balls and they showed us the dirt and rock fields surrounded by barbed wire where they play. When we brought out a One World Futbol, they were thrilled to see a new ball.  And, when we crushed it before their eyes and it re-inflated itself, their faces lit up, they gasped in wonder, and most of all, they couldn’t wait to start playing with it.

Each time we deliver One World Futbols to communities and the children see that it’s a ball that’s not going to go flat like the one they may be holding in their hands, we’re delivering hope, imagination, health, and more.  It’s an extraordinary feeling to be able to give that gift and to see the joy in their faces.  It’s the simple power of a durable ball. It’s the power of play.

Play helps us learn and brings us joy. It helps us recover from trauma and helps us cope with poverty, war, and natural disaster.  Play helps heal the mind, the body, the heart, and the soul, and it allows us to dream of a better future.  Children around the world need to play.

Lisa demonstrates the durability of the One World Futbol while visiting children in Santa Gertrudis, El Salvador. Photo by: h2 Media Labs

Nearly three years ago, we sent 100 of our first prototype One World Futbols to a child soldier rehabilitation camp in Rwanda.  A year later, we reconnected with the camp director.  When we asked about the hundred balls, he proudly told us that they still had all 100 balls, that the children wash them every day after playing and put them away for safe keeping, and that those 100 balls mean that his organization no longer has to buy thousands of balls each year, saving him precious funds for other needs.  He said those balls were helping to heal his children.  That is the power of play.

With the help of Chevrolet and their generous donation of 1.5 million One World Futbols over the next three years, we can bring the joy of soccer and play to millions of children around the world, helping to keep hope alive and sustain our single greatest natural resource – the spirit and soul of our children.  Since you only need a single ball to play a game with 20 children, 1.5 million balls will positively impact the lives of 30 million children.

The power of play has brought us all together, to work as a team to make a difference in the lives of children.  We extend an invitation to the world to join the team. Please join us and help bring the power of play to children everywhere and help make their dreams for tomorrow happen today.

Lisa Tarver

Part of the One World Futbol Project
You should be too!