One World Futbol

Tim Jahnigen was impressed by a documentary about children in Darfur who played soccer with pieces of trash because the soccer balls that were donated lasted only about 24 hours on the harsh terrain. He was inspired to come up with a ball that would never go flat, specifically designed for Third World children. He found a material called PopFoam that fills the bill.

Figuring out how to shape PopFoam into a sphere, though, might cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and Mr. Jahnigen’s money was tied up in his other business.

Then he happened to be having breakfast with Sting, a friend from his days in the music business. Mr. Jahnigen told him how soccer helped the children in Darfur cope with their troubles and his efforts to find an indestructible ball. Sting urged Mr. Jahnigen to drop everything and make the ball. Mr. Jahnigen said that developing the ball might cost as much as $300,000. Sting said he would pay for it.

“Even on the harshest of terrain and in the worst of conditions, the ball could survive and the kids could still play,” Sting said in a public service announcement he made with Mr. Jahnigen. “I said, wow, yeah, let’s make it.”

Creating a prototype, it turned out, cost about one-tenth as much as expected and took about a year. Sting called it the One World Futbol, a homage to a song he sang with the Police, “One World (Not Three).”

The balls are expected to last for about 30 years, and for each ball sold at about $40, another is given away to children who cannot afford them. Link to story. Link to website. -via reddit

(Image credit: Nicholas Hammond)

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What a great story in helping kids out. I always liked Sting as a singer / musician and it's great to hear when they give back to those in need.
This story caught my eye because when I lived on the economy here in Kosovo, I noticed my landlord's children never played with any type of toys. They would be running around and racing each other or shoving each other which seems like a favorite pastime here. I felt bad for the little ones, so when I was at the market I saw a shop that sold soccer balls. So I bought them one. Everyday they were out in the yard playing with that instead of shoving each other and they were so grateful for it. A small gesture that went a long way. That's why I like this story. :)
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This is a great story, other than perhaps the worst sentence in the history of The New York Times: "In time, Mr. Jahnigen said, he hopes to get millions of other balls into the hands of children." #EditorPlease
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