Today, thousands of people worldwide are beside themselves with excitement at the kickoff of the world’s foremost soccer tournament. Here at ChildFund International we have something else to celebrate: We have teamed up with Coca-Cola, Walmart International and One World Play Project to #PassTheHappiness. Through this worldwide campaign, we will receive a share of 100,000 unpoppable soccer balls for teenagers in our programs.
As the voice behind the Coca-Cola Anthem for the 2018 World Cup, artist Jason Derulo joined Coca-Cola as spokesperson of the #PassTheHappiness campaign to help bring the power of play to underprivileged youth globally.
“This is a great opportunity to give back, not only to my home country of Haiti, but to teenagers around the world,” Jason Derulo says, juggling a One World FutbolTM at his home outside Los Angeles. “This ball is amazing.”
The campaign is active in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Chile, China, Japan and South Africa. Each time soccer fans in these countries purchase Coca-Cola Company products at Walmart and their affiliated retail banners, fans will be helping Coca-Cola and Walmart to donate custom-branded One World Futbols to partners like ChildFund that work in some of the world’s poorest places. The One World Futbol never needs a pump and never goes flat. It’s designed to withstand the toughest playing conditions in the world. This means a game can go on, well, until it’s over. In areas where we work, that’s a pretty big deal.
If we were to survey all the participants in our programs on what they want to be when they grow up, the top three answers would probably be teacher, doctor and soccer player. Visitors to any one of our partners inevitably encounter a pickup soccer game as youth gather for a program activity — and the ball in play is often a tangle of plastic bags or rags and twine.
Sometimes soccer is the activity everyone comes for. Our Mind Without Fear project in India is using soccer as a tool to promote gender equality. In villages where more than 50 percent of girls are married before they turn 18, Mind Without Fear engages trained coaches to work with teams of young women, many of whom have escaped child marriage, to build skills not only in passing, dribbling and shooting but also in communication and leadership. And it’s working. These confident girls are speaking up for their rights, and parents and communities are listening. They’re also traveling to other communities to compete, winning matches and becoming role models for younger girls.
So, the gift of a soccer ball — especially one designed to withstand the toughest playing conditions in the world — is really much more than a soccer ball. It’s a gift that can help teens develop their social skills, improve self-esteem and become confident players in life. We’ve always believed that young people deserve equal opportunities to learn and grow, no matter where they live or what challenging circumstances they might face. ChildFund is honored to join this effort to leverage the power of play.
If you are not in a participating location and/or would like more information about how to buy or give unpoppable soccer balls to ChildFund International, visit One World Play Project and #PassTheHappiness!
This blog first appeared on ChildFund International’s Medium page. Visit the page to read other pieces about the work of our U.S. member.