In just under sixty days the second ever Street Child World Cup will take place in Rio de Janeiro, and Brazil. Up to 250 street-connected children from 19 countries taking to the field and uniting together for their rights and the rights of those still on the streets. Chief Executive John Wroe reflects on the madness of it all, link the wonderfulness of it all and the fact that the world continues to conspire with us to make the Street Child World Cup a reality.
“In the London SCWC office, we’re all emotional wrecks if truth be told. With 60 days out Karin Joseph (Teams Coordinator) nervously eyes her whiteboard of objectives. A red tick means achieved and a green cross means yet to happen. These are no ordinary objectives; birth certificates, passports, parental/legal guardian forms, visas granted. This is the Street Child World Cup engine room, where street connected children are a valued part of society with the rights that we all take for granted, away from the shadows and the dangers of the street where no child should be.
Uniting this many children in Brazil was never going to be easy but the children and our partners around the world remain the inspiration. At time my spirits have been low but I remember my good friend Fabio in Rio de Janeiro. Fabio was left in a bin as a baby, he was on the streets aged 4 and at 10 he was carrying a gun. Fabio however was offered a lifeline of protection, rehabilitation and opportunities and he has turned his life around. He is married with two children and has a job, which he loves. I remember Fabio saying the following:
“I never received love & care and this feeling of warmth is what shows you another way of living – it’s the possibility of having a family and being loved. When I witnessed this I decided I don’t want the streets anymore, I don’t want drugs.”
This is why the Street Child World Cup exists; so that street children receive the love and care to help them leave the streets. We are a family supporting our partner projects across the world to provide an indispensable safety net for the most marginalised children. This family consists of volunteers- 121 international volunteers will be joined by a another 120 from Rio, supporters, sponsors, pro bono law firms and our staff – each of who carries out the work of 2 or 3 people. We are all contributing to Karin’s whiteboard. Each time a tick goes up, as the board turns from red to green, another child is one step closer to literally becoming somebody and joining the SCWC Celebration in Rio. No child left behind.
We’re so close now and I want every one of you to be there with us, even if you are not able to join us in Brazil, you are there with us. In South Africa 2010 no one was left behind. The journey begun in Durban with Umthombo and we continue the journey, walking together with one destination in mind: A world where no child is forced to live or work on the streets. When the world conspires with you, you learn to dream big.”
CEO, Street Child United
“I know from personal experience just what power football can have to inspire and change young people’s lives whatever their background or nationality. This is what the Street Child World Cup is all about and I give it my full support.”
“I experienced hardcore street life in my youth. I know what it’s like. I congratulate the Street Child World Cup project in it’s commitment to bring attention to the plight of Street Children through the power of football.”
“It was a privilege to be invited to the launch of the Street Child World Cup at Downing Street. It gives children a voice through football, sales a platform to express their rights and celebrate their abilities – I’m proud to add my support.”