Having a ball can be the difference between having something or nothing to do. This is what Sam Davy, Park Social Soccer Co.’s founder came to realise. It is one of the reasons why he started the Pass-A-Ball project.
Sam Davy was standing in a sports store with his son, who was looking to buy a football for a friend, when the idea for the Pass-A-Ball project hit him. Davy wanted to start a company that would create a brand of footballs that could compete in price and quality. He wanted a brand that would carry a message of equality and inclusion. The soccer ball that would eventually result from this vision has an arty, playful design but that is not the greatest selling point. What is important about the Park brand is its philanthropic nature. When people buy this ball they aren’t just buying a great piece of football kit for themselves or for a child or friend but they are also buying a ball for some underprivileged child or soccer team in Kenya, Uganda, Australia, the UK, the DRC and many other countries where sports can play a crucial role in elevating the life of a child. It’s a simple concept which has garnered support from a lot of people and charities all over the world.
Football changes lives because it engages communities in team work. Football can advance noble causes and goals like the UN Sustainable Development Goals, set out to transform the world by 2032. One story that demonstrates how having a ball can effect social development and change involves a charity in Kampala which had two soccer teams for boys and none for girls. They started a soccer team for girls and got a donation for balls, now that girl’s soccer team has become the first of its kind in the region. It has challenged the age-old cultural beliefs that women cannot do the same things that men can do. This plays well into UN Sustainable Development Goals regarding gender equality. These girls are awesome, they now have a broader view of life and the endless possibilities that exist outside the boundaries set by gender prejudices.
Image Source: Independent.ie
Charities like that one in Kampala use football to engage the kids who have nothing much to look forward to. Kids are motivated to come back and each time they do, they get to learn a little bit more. When these kids have something to look forward to, when they can allow themselves to dream and develop passions they do well in school and relate better with others in their communities.
Park Social Soccer Co. Is now looking to do more than supply balls. They are now looking at providing protective gear as well, in particular, goalkeeper gloves. According to Davy, a lot of these kids get injured when they play. There isn’t much that they can do when they break a finger or damage a ligament and this can stop them from doing their schoolwork. The company is now putting goalkeeper gloves in stores for a trial period. They will be sold under the same policy that the park footballs have been sold. These gloves should help protect those small goalie hands and allow them to engage more in their schoolwork while they fully embrace the beautiful game of football.
In addition to donating balls and gloves Park is also working on a new Pass-A-Ball project. This project aims at looking at the power and ability that football has to deal with inclusiveness and other social issues. Park aims at using the 2018 FIFA World Cup host country, Russia as a backdrop for these interactions because of the country’s issues with racism and other issues like gender inequality. Davy, wants to challenge kids and adults to find out more about the values that football and more in particular, the World Cup was meant to advance.
In an ideal world, it would be great to have a million soccer balls and a bigger reach but for now, Davy says just having 20,000 by the end of the year would take the work that his organisation has been doing to greater heights.