1.5mn footballs for world's needy kids
General Motors vice president of global manufacturing and president of international operations Tim Lee recently joined GM Southeast Asia president Martin Apfel to hand out 130 virtually indestructible footballs to schoolchildren in Chon Buri.
The event at Wat Nhong Ka Kha School was part of Chevrolet's sponsorship of the One World Futbol project.
As founding sponsor of the project, Chevrolet has pledged to donate 1.5 million One World Futbols over the next three years to young people around the world to help support lasting play for children no matter where they live.
The One World Futbol is virtually indestructible, never needs a pump and never goes flat, even when punctured.
"Donating footballs is part of our goal of making the world a safer, smarter and healthier place," said Lee. "By playing football, children learn about teamwork, discipline, cooperation and fair play - values that will help them succeed throughout their lives."
The 2013 distribution of One World Futbols in Southeast Asia was kicked off with an official launch event at Arena 10 football field in Bangkok. Following the press conference, Apfel flagged off a Trailblazer caravan departing from Bangkok on a mission to distribute virtually-indestructible soccer balls to children in Ranong, Phuket and Hat Yai.
The global automaker will donate 5,000 One World Futbols in Thailand throughout the year, bringing the power of play to children who need it most. An additional 10,000 One World Futbols are earmarked for struggling communities in Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. Indonesia plans to donate 5,400 futbols this year.
"Many of these children are growing up in unfortunate circumstances where sometimes a game of football is the only source of happiness in their day," said Apfel, who is also president of Chevrolet Thailand. "The joy that comes from playing football can help lift their spirits and replace despair with hope. Chevrolet's support of the 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'."
Chevrolet along with its dealers has partnered with SOS Children's Villages Southeast Asia, World Vision Foundation of Thailand, and the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation under Royal Patronage, to ensure that the soccer balls are given to the children in greatest need.
During the year, Chevrolet has planned other caravans to the Northern (Chiang Rai - Phitsanulok), North Eastern (Khon Kean - Nong Khai) and Eastern (Rayong - Chanthaburi) regions of Thailand. More than 52 Chevrolet dealers nationwide have joined hands in distributing One World Futbols in their local communities.
According to Chevrolet’s survey, children in disadvantaged communities have a profound need for a ball that can withstand the rigours of the harsh environments that they play in every day.
When they are lucky enough to get hold of a conventional soccer ball, it inevitably pops or deflates, and the children end up playing with balls of rubbish, twine, or anything they can fashion into a sphere.
Tim Jahnigen, creator of the One World Futbol, was inspired to create the ball after seeing a documentary about children in Darfur who sought happiness by playing football with tattered balls they'd cobbled together with garbage and twine. A lyricist and inventor, Jahnigen was helped by an old friend, pop legend Sting, who offered to pay for research and development to create the One World Futbol. It is made from popfoam, an extremely rugged hard foam material. The balls are virtually indestructible: they never need a pump, never go flat, and are non-toxic.
In May 2012, Chevrolet partnered with One World Futbol to bring the joy of soccer and play to youth around the world.
As the founding sponsor of the One World Futbol project, Chevrolet made a three-year commitment to donate 1.5 million virtually-indestructible balls to children around the world. To accommodate this effort, Chevrolet is working with One World Futbol project and a growing network of organisations serving youth in harsh environments around the world, including refugee camps, conflict zones, inner cities and other disadvantaged communities.