By John Wroe, malady CEO, shop Street Child World Cup
SCWC relies on people like Tina Kornmo, drug MD General Surgeon & Urologist, Soccer Mum, second generation Pakistani in Oslo, Norway, and all round total hero and Angel. As one of the 30,000 strong Pakistani community in Oslo she heard about the incredible feats of Team Pakistan at SCWC2014 and decided she had to invite and underwrite them to take part in the Norway Cup. Tina commented, “My community is telling me that I have suddenly become quite an expensive friend to have”
Having been to Islamabad and experienced it for myself – I knew Team Pakistan made an incredible impact in Pakistan after SCWC – including getting the National Assembly to introduce a resolution protecting 1.5 million Street Children in Pakistan. I had not quite realized that they had become heroes for the Pakistan Community worldwide.
The boys received regal treatment at the Norway National Parliament, at local Mosques and at various Fundraising and awareness raising dinners held in their honour. They also progressed to the last 8 of an age group with 136 teams at the Norway Cup. At their ¼ final match an 1000 strong crowd turned up to support, “this is just like being back in Karachi” said one of the boys, whilst one 89 year old lady typified their support, “I can only stand for 5 minutes at a time, but today I stood for 90 minutes, to show my solidarity for the street children of Team Pakistan”.
Amazingly, the Norway Cup was the springboard for a European leg of their “I Am Somebody” Tour that proceeded to Copenhagen, Amsterdam – where they were hosted at Ajax by our Dutch/Brazillian partners Favela Street at the Amsterdam Arena.
And finally to Paris. There the team embarked on a whistle stop tour of the capital, including visits to Stade France, Arc de Triomphe and the Pakistani Embassy, even finding time to take part in a mini football tournament. The team bid farewell to Paris and to Europe in front of a sparkling Eiffel Tower.
The Pakistani diaspora were out in force throughout and the Pakistan Ambassador in each Country hosted them – facilitated by Muslim Hands and Azad Foundation. But the real Ambassadors of Pakistan were the children themselves. Their determination, vitality and joy was a lesson in how to live, to all adults. “Seeing what each of them is achieving with the right support provides hope to us all” said Mr H.E. Mr. Ghalib Iqbal, the Ambassador of Pakistan in France.
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