From March 14 – 20 the inaugural Street Child Games took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil reminding the world of sport’s unique power to bring people together and promote social change.
The Olympic host-city welcomed former street children and young people from nine countries for a week of Olympic-themed sports and unique international Congress for street children’s rights.
“Street children across the world – this is our message to you.
You need to believe in your dreams. Never give up. You are strong. You are important. WE ARE SOMEBODY.”
Teams of young people, aged 14 – 19 represented Argentina, Brazil, Burundi, Egypt, Great Britain, India, Mozambique, Pakistan and the Philippines in six events: 100m, Hurdles, 400m, Long Jump, Shot Put and 4x 100 Relay.
At the Congress the young people developed their Rio Resolution calling on the world to take concrete steps to protect street children’s universal rights to: protection from violence, access to education and a legal identity.
The United Nations sent a message of support to the young people speaking at the Congress and recognised their work in developing the Rio Resolution.
The young people have returned home to their countries, continuing as Ambassadors and working with our partner organisations to raise awareness of the specific challenges street-connected children in their community face.
“In Brazil I realised that street children face the same problems everywhere in the world. My aim now is to support Azad Foundation in its efforts for the rights of street children.” Salman, supported by Azad Foundation & representing Pakistan
They will use the Rio Resolution as a tool to support their ongoing work on the frontline with street chidlren.
“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.”
“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.”