Back in November of 2013, GM India began an initiative to donate and deliver at least 20,000 nearly indestructible Chevrolet-branded One World Futbols (that’s soccer balls, in America) to underprivileged and marginalized children in India, with the goal of reaching out to the less fortunate children in India, especially those who cannot afford and maintain a ball. The occasion coincided with Children’s Day, which fell on November 14.
“Many of these children are growing up in less privileged circumstances where sometimes a game of football could lighten up their lives by teaching them the true meaning of team spirit and fair play,” said Lowell Paddock, President and Managing Director, GM India.
Part of GM India’s partnership with the One World Futbol project, the effort commenced with the donation of 91 units of the ball to Sankalp School in Gurgaon (pictured) — a school for disadvantaged children run by Gurgaon-based NGO Sankalp Welfare Society. Coincidentally, the Bow Tie-branded One World Futbols were delivered to the school in a Chevrolet Enjoy MPV.
“The joy that comes from playing football [soccer] can help lift their spirits and replace despair with hope. Chevrolet’s founding sponsorship of One World Futbol Project is intended to spark a worldwide movement to give children a pathway out of poverty and despair with the benefits that fitness, sport and teamwork can bring — something we call the ‘Power of Play’,” added Paddock.
Throughout the next few weeks, GM India donated more units of the ball to kids in surrounding communities, including those in Talegaon, Bangalore and Halol, and the remaining Chevrolet-sponsored One World Futbols were delivered through One World Futbol Project’s partner, Slum Soccer, to a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with underprivileged youth in India.
“… seeing the joy on the children’s faces on Children’s Day makes all these efforts worthwhile”, said Arnold Ambiel, Chief Operating Officer of One World Futbol Project.
GM’s initiative is part of a three-year founding sponsorship of the One World Futbol Project, which aims to place 1.5 million One World Futbols with youth living in war-stricken zones, refugee camps, disaster areas, and other underprivileged communities around the world. To note, the One World Futbol is a nearly indestructible ball that never needs a pump and never goes flat, even when punctured multiple times. The ball is designed to outlast and outplay hundreds of regular footballs, sustaining play in any environment or harsh landscape.
One World Futbol inventor Tim Jahnigen was inspired to create the ball after watching news footage of kids in Darfur playing a football game using a ball of trash tied up with twine. The goal isn’t as much to make the indestructible balls, but to use play to teach life skills and foster social change, with the mission of the One World Futbol Project being to make a meaningful impact by bringing the joy of soccer and play to youth around the world through the One World Futbol. The organization makes, sells, and distributes the ball, and also distributes it to organizations working with youth in disadvantaged communities. Meanwhile, Slum Soccer is an India-based NGO focused on reaching out to the Indian homeless using football as a tool for social improvement and empowerment.
Through the end of 2013, over 500,000 Chevrolet-sponsored One World Futbols have been distributed across five continents, bringing the power of play to over 15 million children.