THE movement SERIES

Welcome to The Movement Series! We like to think of this as the heart of Oona’s digital platform. One that is full of love, connection, education and social enterprise.
What’s the connection between a more accessible society and a sports ball?


It is an honour to be supporting Alive and Kicking as our first charity partner of 2021. You can expect a number of exciting opportunities to join forces with this innovative organisation over the coming months, all in the name of ethical employment, sport and education. For now, settle in for a chat with Boniface and Alive and Kicking’s CEO Ben Sadler and learn the backstory of how this partnership came about.

A more successful society

“Over 85% of our staff have paid for their kids to attend school for the rst time…It’s these things that add to that idea of being able to access society.”


Set up in 2004, Alive and Kicking empowers individuals to impact the lives and livelihoods of those around them. How? By producing footballs, for a start!

The idea to manufacture footballs (or soccer balls, for any of our readers outside of the UK and Europe) was stumbled upon by accident. Ben describes a British teacher based in Kenya, who at the time, noticed that the donated balls arriving from England would barely last a week on the tough pitches of Nairobi.

The possibility of producing a stronger, high-quality ball soon became the perfect opportunity to increase employment in the region for adults and vulnerable youth groups. Over the years, these production centres in the sub-Saharan region have grown through relationships with local organisations. Today, Alive and Kicking employs over 100 individuals, many of whom are navigating a disability, or have never been to school or experienced formal employment.

What follows is nothing short of life-changing. The experience of consistent employment creates greater security at home, financial independence, access to healthcare and even the tools to start or return to formal education.

What’s even more impressive about this process is the quality and sustainable nature of their production. Each ball is handmade and created from locally sourced materials, such as up-cycled leather. Old airline chairs and car seats are transformed, creating a football that lasts eight times longer than the standard commercial version, whilst still meeting professional standards.

through play

“M aking the ball creates the jobs…We sell the balls and we use the income to provide young people access to sport and health education.”


One of our favourite things about Alive and Kicking’s approach is its commitment to thorough research, and it is this practise that has brought about one of the organisation’s most important developments: Mental Health awareness.

Along the way, Ben saw the common themes surfacing from discussions with Alive and Kicking’s staff members around Kenya, who were experiencing improvements in their wellbeing through their employment. Mental health was fast becoming a topic of interest for both adults and children in the community.

Today, the organisation empowers over 250 health and sports coaches to incorporate Mental Health education, as well as HIV and Malaria awareness into their football training sessions. Within these volunteer-run classes, young people between the ages of 9-18 are introduced to the universality of mental health through play and games. Physical exercises and drills with balls here become a means to unite the mind and body and introduce concepts like ‘changing mood’ and ‘connection to others.’

Kicking through the pandemic

The experience of playing sport in a team environment has been heavily impacted by COVID-19. But as with every great organisation, Alive and Kicking has risen to the challenge by providing digital resources for young people. New modules are now being delivered across the globe to provide players the opportunity to participate from home, or in small groups for areas where restrictions have loosened. The wheels are also in motion to create hundreds of new ‘ball libraries’ across the UK, which will allow young men and women to access Alive and Kicking footballs in their local community.

What’s more, Ben Sadler has kindly recorded three short modules in Alive and Kicking’s signature style, exclusively for the Oona Series community. These are a great introduction to Mental Health-education for any kids or teenagers in your life, delivered through easy-to-follow football exercises.
You can check them out here


There are many ways to join us in supporting Alive and Kicking over the coming months. Our top recommendations?
  1. Play ball. Purchase your own Alive and Kicking football here

    100% of these profits help the organisation continue its important work. Purchase your football here

  2. Check out the full podcast episode and/or the 3 mini modules

    We guarantee Ben and Boniface will have you feeling inspired. Check out the full podcast May 13th on the OONA Channel!

  3. Make a donation

    to Alive and Kicking via their website. Every little bit counts. Make a donation here

  4. Reach out

    Encourage your local football club or school to purchase their sports equipment from Alive and Kicking… the only non-profit ball producer in the world.
    Get in touch here

  5. Follow and share!

    Show the charity some love at @weareakuk to support their outreach and stay up-to-date on their latest projects.
    Follow us here

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