The Africa Goal exhibition, “The Goal Beyond the Ball”, showcased for five months since April 2019 at the Bloomfield science Museum in Jerusalem, was received with great excitement and interest. The exhibition focused on a selection of about 40 handmade footballs (or “Jualas”) made from a variety of natural, discarded and reused materials. The balls, commonly made by children across Africa who cannot afford to buy footballs, were collected through Africa Goal’s Trading Footballs initiative during their 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 campaigns. Through the exhibition of these unique footballs – which have come to be recognized as symbols of ingenuity and innovation in the face of hardship – as well as photos and stories depicting the Africa Goal project, the exhibition told the story of the Africa Goal campaign which uses football as a platform to address priority health issues, including HIV, across Africa.
The Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem, Israel is a nonprofit, informal cultural and educational institution that presents interactive exhibits on subjects of science, technology and global issues, brought to life through a wide range of educational activities. The exhibit of the handmade balls and the stories of the children who made them inspired visiting children and adults alike, subtly bringing to light some of the most pressing issues in Africa.
As well as presenting the Africa Goal story, the exhibition fit well with the museum’s recent “Plastic-Collage” theme, addressing global trends in plastic consumption. Tair Nahum, Artistic Director of the Museum, indicated that about 52,000 visitors were exposed to the exhibition. She had this to say about it: “the creation of the balls expresses the children’s immense ability for innovation and creativity alongside their desire to play the beloved game in every way. Through the exhibition we can also see changes in plastic consumption habits over time”. Many of the balls traded in the past were made from the abundant discarded plastic shopping bags. However, an eye-catching ball handcrafted from reusable shopping bags traded in Kenya during Africa Goal 2018, points to the country’s recent decline in plastic bag use following Kenya’s ban on single use plastic bags.
Africa Goal would like to thank the Bloomfield Science Museum for the partnership and all the work in organizing this exhibition, the success of which motivates Africa Goal to continue inspiring more people through exhibiting the unique collection of handcrafted footballs worldwide.
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Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem