He’s totally having a ball with this one
Friday November 09th 2012, 10:29 pm
Filed under: History

Rather than whining about the flu…

I love this New York Times piece. I know the NYT will only let non-subscribers read 10 articles online a month before making them pay, so let me give the gist of it.

There was a man with a vision: Tim Jahnigen wanted to make a decent ball for kids in poor countries to play with after finding out that children in Rwanda were creating balls out of trash and string. It shouldn’t be a luxury for a kid to be able to simply go outside and play. Your average internationally-donated ball dies in a day in harsh environments–pretty useless. (I nodded, reading that, thinking of how many times when my kids were little I wished I could find a ball that would last a whole week. Was that too much to ask.) He wanted to figure out how to build a better ball.

He thought he had it. But the cost of development was well out of his reach. (An aside from my husband: Kickstarter! But maybe Kickstarter didn’t quite exist yet when he was starting out. Dunno.)

And then he shared a meal with his old friend Sting, yes that Sting, who said hey–*I’ll* fund it!

Lions in the zoo played with the new ball. Former child soldiers in Rwanda gave it their best. You could drive over one and it would bounce back–they’re estimating a lifetime of 30 years, and they do bounce. Haiti, Iraq, his balls have gone to Afghanistan, Doctors Without Borders has brought them along.

And Chevrolet has agreed to buy one and a half million to give to poor children. They’re really going to have to crank up production. For the rest of us, there’s a buy one give one program.

How often does a really great idea get to do so much good and be so much fun?

6 Comments so far
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Wonderful story. Thanks so much for telling us about it.

Hope the flu is abating.

Comment by RobinM 11.10.12 @ 4:56 am

… but did they test it with crazy dogs? I might have to buy one and see, although Mugsy was my ball-destroyer and he’s no longer around to put it through its paces.

Thanks for sharing this, Alison!

Comment by Channon 11.10.12 @ 6:03 am

If you haven’t clicked through to their site and the blog post (scroll down, on the right) on “The Power of Play”, I recommend you do. The grins and squeals of those kids at play is pretty inspiring, as is this story of generosity.

Comment by twinsetellen 11.10.12 @ 7:22 am

Simple things that give lasting joy

Comment by Diana Troldahl 11.10.12 @ 10:22 am

might have to get one of these for Mr Cute in the “buy one give one” thing — that will also be a test for the “terrier-izer” that lives at his house

Comment by Bev 11.10.12 @ 10:42 am

The kits will have a ball!

Comment by Don Meyer 11.10.12 @ 11:52 am

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