Help Bring Peace Through Soccer
One of Pastor Daniel Pacheco's soccer teams. Photo: Katie Orlinsky, NY Times
Soccer can do many things. It can even help bring peace to some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Central America. Now, you can help with $25 by donating a soccer ball.
How did this idea get started? In 2015, I went to Rivera Hernández, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Honduras, a country that had the No. 1 homicide rate in the world among countries not at war. This neighborhood was crazy violent, but local leaders, aided by U.S.-funded violence prevention programs, were cutting the carnage between six gangs. One person who stood out: Evangelical pastor Daniel Pacheco. The pastor would stage soccer games between youth from warring neighborhoods, so kids could get to know each other and [hopefully] be less likely to kill one other.
Someone from the non-profit One World Play Project read my story about this in the
New York Times.
One World Play Project was started by Tim Jahnigen, an event organizer. He had watched a documentary showing children in Darfur playing soccer with balls made of trash and twine. He dreamed of getting soccer balls to needy kids. He developed a prototype ball made of a material that's nearly impossible to destroy, similar to what's used to make Crocs shoes. Jahnigen's friend, Sting, the musician, offered to fund research and development. The ball is named One World, after the song by The Police.
One World Play Project reached out to me to set up a campaign to help Pastor Pacheco get desperately needed soccer balls.
You can donate a ball for $25,
which will go to one of Pastor Daniel Pacheco's 46 soccer teams in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Or pay $50 and get a ball donated and get one for yourself.
Let's help bring peace through soccer!
Pastor Daniel Pacheco. Photo by Katie Orlinsky, NY Times