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How a New Futbol is Saving the World

November 19, 2012
Plain English Version

The problem: millions of the soccer balls given to children in poor countries around the world go flat within 24 hours. The fields they are used on are often rocky and the balls cannot stand up to the use.

A company called One World Futbol is now manufacturing fubols to last indefinitely.  The solution was found in a product called Pop Foam. Pop Foam is the same product used to make popular Croc sandals.

It was not a simple road from seeing the problem, trying to find a solution and making the balls cheap enough to send around the world.

An inventor named Tim Jahnigen is the person who made it happen. He is an entrepreneur from California. His past interests include being a chef, a carpenter and a songwriter.

After seeing a documentary about Darfur showing children playing soccer with any kind of ball, even one made of rags, he was determined to bring “play back to the kids.”

Sting, the entertainer, was a friend of Mr. Jahnigen and gave him the green light by giving money to the project.

They tried the ball out with children in Rwanda, Haiti and Iraq. They also gave it to lions and dogs to see if it stood up. It did.

Now the challenge is getting the balls out. All kinds of agencies and companies are buying and shipping the balls.

Mr. Jahnigen said, “A child can play to their heart’s content where there are not content hearts (such as in war torn countries). We do not understand that in some places, having a ball is like the best PlayStation 3 or a rocket to Mars.”

The New York Times

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