Written by Molly King, Street Child Games 2016 Volunteer
During the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, I watched a feature on national TV here in the United States about the important work Street Child United was doing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A lifelong athlete myself, I’ve experienced first-hand the power of sport to inspire change, so I signed up to be a volunteer for the first Street Child Games that very same day, and served as a member of the communications team in Rio for the event in March 2016.
As a volunteer, I had the honour of working with nine teams of street-connected young people, girls and boys, from nine countries during a week of Olympic-themed sporting events, and an international Congress for street-connected children’s rights.
At the Games, I witnessed the young people become athletes and ambassadors, proudly representing their country – both on and off the field. Hearing the chants of “I am somebody” in unison, as athletes from every country all linked arms on the running track at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain as the Games came to a close, is something I’ll never forget.
The accompanying Congress gave those same young people a platform and a voice to fight for their rights – the right to legal identity, protection from violence and education.
My experience left me so inspired. Inspired by the 60 plus other volunteers I had the pleasure of working side by side with, inspired by the athleticism of the young people competing in the Games themselves, and inspired by the bravery and candor displayed during the Congress. Knowing that the young people have carried their moving message back home, inspiring others living on the streets to fight for their own rights, and society to support them, made me truly understand that this event was so much more than just games. I can hardly wait to be a part of what’s next.
In 2017, we will open applications to volunteer at the Street Child World Cup Moscow 2018. If you would like to register your interest or find out more about other volunteering opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
All images taken by our volunteer photography team. Featured image taken by Malachy McCrudden.
“When ever people come across me they laugh. It seems like my mouth is zipped because they talk for us. I wish they could give us a chance to talk for ourselves.”
“No child should have to live on the streets and I fully endorse this campaign giving street children a voice to claim their rights”
“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.”