On Wednesday 23rd July, Street Child World Cup joined NGOs and supporters across Brazil and the world to mark the anniversary of the Candelária massacre and unite for “Criança não é de Rua” (No Child is a Street Child) on the National Day to Confront the Situation of Children and Adolescents living on the streets of Brazil.
In 1993, off duty policemen opened fire on 70 young people and children sleeping close to Candelária church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Eight adolescents were killed.
“Candelária Nunca Mais” (Candelária Never Again) brought together over 35 organisations including many former street children to march in demonstration through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, finishing at a public mass at Cinelândia square. Demonstrators peacefully held banners and wooden crosses remembering the tragedy and calling for government to better protect street children.
These actions were echoed in cities across Brazil. In Fortaleza, the home city of the Campaign “Criança não é de Rua” and where the movement began 9 years ago, around 500 people from various organisations and barrios of Fortaleza marched through the city centre to denounce the lack of government support in tackling the street child issue throughout the country. Protesters laid on pieces of cardboard for 10 minutes in silence to remember all those children and adolescents who have lived and died on the streets.
Reporters and media crews were present on the day and the action received coverage on local and national TV channels, radio and newspapers.
Campaign Executive of Criança não é de Rua and coordinator of O Pequeno Nazareno, Manoel Torquato said on the day, “We take action on this specific day every year to remember the Candelária massacre which we consider to be a grave mark of disrespect towards children and adolescents that live on the streets.”
In November, “Criança não é de Rua” will lead a meeting in Brasilia with the Brazilian Government instructing on how best to implement public policy protecting children living and working on the streets, ensuring they receive the protection, rehabilitation and opportunities all children are entitled to.
Support for the campaign was shown across the world, with project partners holding awareness days for the children they work with.
The boys from Team Mauritius led a special awareness day at Safire helping make other children conscious that the phenomenon of street children is present around the world and that each country, and each child can help make a difference. The children brainstormed opinions on the conditions of children and drew placards demanding their rights.
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“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.”
“No child should have to live on the streets and I fully endorse this campaign giving street children a voice to claim their rights”
“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.”