Across the world, if you’ve ever worked in resource-poor areas, you’ve seen the heart-breaking sight of so many kids like Moise using garbage bags tied with string as a ball – or if they’ve managed to get a real ball, it’s almost always deflated and barely usable, beaten to shreds by children wanting to make it their own. These kids come from some of the darkest corners of the planet - plagued by conflict, war, poverty, disease. Yet even in the direst of circumstances and with barely usable equipment, they play on - encouraged by the tiniest sliver of light that just a moment of play can provide.
Bobby may have met and photographed Moise in 2005, but the memory of this boy and his ball stayed with him for years to follow. His photo then touched over 4 million audience members as it was projected up on stage across stadiums during Sting’s 2008 Police reunion tour and performance of INVISIBLE SUN, an anthem of hope.
These once anonymous children were now being seen by millions of people around the world. An incredible homage. Inspired to give kids like Moise "something more", Bobby joined forces with Sting and inventor Tim Jahnigen in developing something quite extraordinary and revolutionary: an indestructible soccer ball.
While a soccer ball may seem a small thing to most, an indestructible soccer ball can mean so much more to a kid in really messed up places. Surviving the dirt roads and lots scattered with glass and debris they're so often kicked around on, each ball will come to represent an incredible and elevated sense of durability, longevity, possibility, hope. Put simply, these balls won’t let them down – and are the entry point to learning critical life skills through play – discipline, teamwork, citizenship, knowing how to give constructive feedback, and being a supportive friend.
But make no mistake, this project is not about charity. Quite the opposite – and in line with Bobby’s philosophy outlined in the book: FROM CHARITY TO PHILANTHROPY. Every child needs to earn a ball – with our partner organizations, including Grassroot Soccer, Esperance and Carolina for Kibera, requiring kids to participate in programs that use soccer as a platform for teaching life skills. This will make the receipt of the ball - and trading in of their old, beaten up balls – that much more powerful.
All of Bobby's proceeds from THE POWER OF THE INVISIBLE SUN went towards the HOPE IS A GAME-CHANGER PROJECT in 2009-2011, making it a tangible way for people to take a "concrete baby step" and deliver hope.