The inaugural Street Child World Cup kicked-off in March 2010 in Durban, South Africa ahead of the FIFA World Cup. 8 teams of former street children came together from across the globe to play football and shine a light on the violation of human rights street children so often receive.
Umthombo our partners in Durban, South Africa led a decade-long campaign to end Police round-ups of street children. These round-ups would often take place ahead of international visit’s in a bid to “sweep the streets” of street children.
This issue came to a head at the Street Child World Cup 2010 when three girls were round up by the Metro Police, evidence of which was filmed by Umthombo CEO Tom Hewitt. The following day a photographer from the Sun newspaper who was covering the event was detained for photographing children who had been round up and left in a Police van. The resulting international coverage from both these incidents led directly to the ending of this brutal practice violating the right’s of street children.
The Street Child World Cup is not just a football tournament, it is also an opportunity for street children to express their experiences and hopes through art workshops. In 2010 the artwork from the young people was exhibited at Durban Art Gallery and Founding museum in London.
We aim to challenge the negative perceptions and treatment of street children around the world. We do this through media coverage of the street child issue to as wide an audience as possible. All our content whether it be film or photography is underpinned by portraying street children with dignity at all times.
In South Africa the police are now working with, not against our partners Umthombo to better support street children. The South African team featured in documentary Street Kids United II which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. Flagship BBC children’s programme, Blue Peter, produced a special about the Street Child World Cup featuring the work of Umthombo.
When the children returned home to Nicaragua they were given a platform to educate the nation about the issues faced by children still on the streets. Our partner, and organisers of the team, Casa Alianza were invited by the Nicaraguan Government to sit in on advisory panels, including the policy working with at-risk children and family ministry. Their advice on best practice has been incorporated into future planning.
The team were invited to speak on the radio and at community events about their experiences raising awareness of the issue in country. All team members were reintegrated back with their families and three of the children went into full-time education. Three team members enrolled in apprenticeship schemes, gaining work experience and college training. One team member went on to work in full-time employment.
The team of former street children returned home to a civic reception from a proud nation. Their involvement triggered a national resurgence in football, the team were invited to take part in a national day campaigning against child labour.
In December 2011, David Beckham visited street children projects in Philippines meeting members of the Street Child World Cup team. ‘Jason’ and ‘MonMon’ took great delight in discussing their experiences with the former England Captain.
One member of the team went onto college to study criminology with the ambition of becoming a policeman. Another team member was offered a football scholarship at college, and some team members have been reunited with their family or relatives.
The Governor of Kharkov accompanied the team to the Street Child World Cup supporting their involvement both on and off the pitch. The participation of Team Ukraine led to the improvement of monitoring of the situation of street children in country by police. Previously police would only monitor street children before a major event or to meet state report requirements at the end of the year, but now they are monitored more regularly with the aim of better understanding their circumstances.
There has been a significant increase in the awareness of the issue in Ukraine and further support given to the work of the organisations supporting street children.
Four members of the team are now housed with foster families, and four others went on to study at boarding school. All team members are in education.
India were crowned the inaugural Street Child World Cup champions. The victorious team were welcomed him by an exuberant crowd and extensive coverage in the Indian media raised the profile of the issues affecting street children.
One team member was selected to represent India in the under 16’s World Cup.
The Tanzanian Street Children’s Sports Academy (TSC Sport’s Academy) and organisers of Team Tanzania gained more recognition nationwide. The Tanzanian Minister for Sport and representatives from the Tanzanian Football Association have visited the project since.
TSC Sport’s Academy benefitted from increased media attention; they were the focus of a documentary on national television as once more raising awareness of the impact of the work that they do to support street children. The organisation has since benefitted from visits from Arsenal in the Community coaches and Queen’s Park Rangers coaches developing a programme using football to integrate street children into society.
In 2011, on the International Day for Street Children, a large event was held at the Kuleana Street Children’ Centre where local police officials were invited to meet the team to discuss ideas that the children had thought to tackle the number of children relying on the streets.
The 2010 Street Child World Cup runners up secured professional contracts for two of the players representing Tanzania at U20 level and who have since brought their own homes. Two girls were called up for trials with the Tanzanian national team. One girl was awarded a scholarship at a sports school in Uganda.
Do it again, do it bigger and make more of impact
After the inaugural Street Child World Cup finished in 2010 the resounding feedback from our partners organisations was to do it again ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. We listened, and because of your support we delivered the Street Child World Cup Rio 2014, click here for impact stories.
“It was possible to gather many nationalities, story cultures, viagra 60mg and form a nation: a nation of free man, with equal rights and opportunities, mutual respect, rightful duties. It was 10 days when the world, in that corner of Rio, was fair to socially excluded children; they could feel the beauty of being somebody in this world.”
“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.”