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The Football That Brings Light to the Underprivileged

Written by Sebastien on 10 March 2013. Posted in World Cup Blog

The ball with which football is played today is all but unrecognisable from that used by the founding fathers of the game. Significant advances in the fields of man-made materials and manufacturing technology have combined to produce a ball that is lighter, less susceptible to poor weather conditions, and generally more user-friendly that those used in the 1800s.

But it would be fair to say that as impressive as these advances are, none have changed the ball’s fundamental role and purpose. Now, though, an American company has devised a groundbreaking new use for the football, repurposing it as a means of bringing light to underprivileged communities.

The SOCCKET looks like any other regular football at first glance, but its internal workings are far more advanced. The SOCCKET takes the kinetic energy generated when the ball rolls over a surface and converts and stores it as electrical energy. This electricity can then be used to power a LED lamp that attaches to the ball, with 30 minutes of play producing three hours of light.

It is an ingenious way of bringing safe, environmentally friendly energy to people in developing countries and warranted approbation has been afforded to New York-based Uncharted Play, who are behind the design and manufacture of the SOCCKET.

Uncharted Play have received funding from the likes of Western Union, Statefarm, Fundación Televisa, Lime Energy, Fundación Dame Vida and Music For Relief, and distribution support from GrassRootSoccer, Children International, Promundo, Boys and Girls Club and Pedagogica to help realise their goal of bringing light to those most in need of it.

The SOCCKET is currently being piloted in underprivileged communities in Africa and North and South America and there are plans to extend the reach of the charitable program further in the build up to the 2014 World Cup.

As part of this drive, Uncharted Play have launched a KickStarter project to raise funding to improve the efficiency of their production process and allow the manufacture of the SOCCKET to remain in the United States. For as little as $1, people can show their support for the project. while $99 will buy one standard SOCCKET and LED Lamp. The final funding goal is $75,000, with the funding deadline set for Thursday, 28th March 2013.

For those feeling particularly generous it will be possible to buy a SOCCKET for a child in need by confirming this election once the funding process has completed. Uncharted Play will collaborate with one of their distribution partners to ensure that each ball purchased in this manner will reach a worthy recipient.

We often hear of football as a divisive force, but Uncharted Play have proved with the SOCCKET that football can also precipitate positive change. Children can play the game that they love and then benefit from a small electrical generator that provides light for learning or other tasks. It is a simple, ingenuous idea, well executed, and very much deserving of praise and coverage.

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