Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University



Changing the World through Soccer – APU student experiences onboard "Peace Boat"


May 26, 2010

From Monday, December 28, 2009, APU student CHON Tesun (APS4), a member of the APU Soccer Club, took part in the 103-day sea voyage of "Peace Boat". Arriving back at APU on Friday, April 9 the following year, CHON Tesun was a member of the volunteer crew on the ship's 68th Global Voyage for Peace.

Mr. CHON was a member of the "Peace-Ball Project", one of the Peace-Boat independent international cooperation projects, and visited 15 countries and regions throughout Asia, Africa and South-America including Taiwan and the Philippines. During his voyage, Mr. CHON distributed second-hand soccer balls to the local children and took part in exchange soccer games with members of the local community.

A total of 181 soccer balls were donated in The Philippines and through the cooperation of a local soccer association, a friendship-exhibition match was played with the people of the local community as part of the exchange events. Fifty of the balls donated were collected at the "APU Cup" children's charity match held last year by the APU Soccer Club in which Mr. CHON himself was a central member.

Furthermore, a project is currently underway to build a soccer ground in Soweto District of South Africa – host country of the upcoming June FIFA World Cup. Soweto is a former designated Black township in Johannesburg. Through the cooperation of Japanese businesses and JICA, public screenings of soccer matches have been held in local squares and fields.

Looking back at the Peace Ball Project, Mr. CHON spoke of dreams for the future, "The influence of apartheid can still be clearly seen in South Africa and due to the gap between rich and poor, there are people who cannot attend world cup matches, watch games on the television, and even children who cant afford a soccer ball, even though their country is hosting the world cup. I have come to realize the real state of developing and impoverished countries through this voyage. In stark contrast to people from the developed world, for many children in such countries the simple act of playing a game of soccer is by no means an easy task. I really wanted to make a contribution to society and the world through soccer and make a difference to this situation no matter how small. I wanted to see more smiles on the faces of children around the world. My dream is work for FIFA in collaboration with UNICEF to further develop soccer regional contribution initiatives in developing countries and give every child in the world the opportunity to kick a soccer ball around".

* The Peace Ball Project
Run by the non profit organisation "Peace Boat" (head office: Tokyo), the Peace Ball Project aims to collect unused soccer balls and donate them to children around the world who are too poor to buy a ball for themselves. Begun in 1998, the project has so far delivered over 10,000 soccer balls to approximately 40 countries around the world.

Please click here for more details on the Peace Ball Project

Reporter, Student Press Assistant (SPA): HOSAKA Ryosuke (APS3, Japan)

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