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Home made soccer (JM)

Julius Mwelu/Twenty Ten

Associated features: The Peoples hero, Nigeria (Photo feature), Footballs made to last, Zambia (Photo feature), Docteur des ballons, Togo (Photo feature), Handmade Soccer, Ethiopia (Photo feature) and Farm Football, Zambia (Photo feature)

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

The ingenuity and creativity that exists in areas of extreme poverty is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. For the children living in Muthare slum in Nairobi, Kenya, the opportunity of being able to run around playing soccer is not limited by their lack of means to buy a ball, or the boots and kit that professional soccer players wear.

Using plastic bags and bits of string gleaned from local dump sites, boys like the young Rogers Oluoch spend their afternoons hand making soccer balls. The process is complicated and involves a lot of concentration, but the boys are committed to their passion for football and often work into the night to complete their project.

The balls have proved to be popular in the local community, with schools such as Valley View Primary School purchasing them for the children to play with on their breaks from lessons.

In the run up to the FIFA World Cup soccer event in South Africa, when huge sums of money are spent to glorify the game of football, it is encouraging to see that, at its roots, the game is about building community and working together.

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