England Girls sleep rough in support of street children across the world
Posted on the 20th October 2014
A football team of nine girls from London who represented England at the 2014 Street Child World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (and whose life-changing trip was featured in a BBC Three documentary) have announced they will sleep rough in support of homeless children across the UK, Brazil and the world.
The girls, who have all experienced homelessness or having to leave their family home as children, will join over 50 ‘sleepers’ at the Big City Sleep on Friday 24 October for a sponsored sleep-out taking place in Spitalfields Market, London. The event held in support of the Street Child World Cup and Action for Brazil’s Children Trust, aims to raise awareness and support for the estimated millions of street children across the world.
In April 2014 ahead of the FIFA World Cup, the girls joined 230 former street children from across five continents at the Street Child World Cup in association with Save the Children, for a unique football tournament, festival of arts and participatory conference helping street children to receive the protection, rehabilitation and opportunities that all children are entitled to.
John Wroe, CEO of Street Child World Cup, commented, “This is a global issue and the Team England girls are fantastic examples of how with a safety net of support, even the most vulnerable children can have a bright future. We’re very proud that the girls are continuing to support the rights of those children still living on the streets across the world.”
Sam, Team England Captain, commented, “Street Child World Cup made me learn to appreciate what I have compared to the other kids we met”.
On the pitch, Team England reached the Quarter Finals, but it was off the pitch where they made a lasting impact forming life-changing friendships with young people from the other teams participating.
Since returning home Team England have continued to speak in support of young people’s rights starring in the BBC Three Documentary ‘Street Kid World Cup’. Alongside this, the girls also enrolled in a mentoring programme organised by Deutsche Bank and New Horizon Youth Centre which has given them the opportunity to gain employment training and work experience. Team England plan to kick off their fundraising campaign at the Big City Sleep helping support the former street children they met in Rio and children still living on the streets across the world.
The England girls said, “We have decided to raise money for the young people we met in Rio. Being from a country like England with opportunities around every corner, we feel we are in the perfect situation to help support and raise awareness for the young people and the projects that support them.”
“In March 2014 we went to Rio and we had a life changing experience. We took part in the Street Child World Cup. There were teams from 19 countries from across the world. We made friends with people from all over the world that come from similar situations to us. They gave a lot to us and now we want to give something back to them.”
Team England was recruited by New Horizons Youth Centre and Independent Futures, run by Islington Council, and supported by Deutsche Bank as part of its Born to Be youth engagement programme in partnership with StreetSmart, a charitable organisation that raises funds to tackle homelessness.
Lareena Hilton, Deutsche Bank Global Head of Brand Communications & Corporate Citizenship said, “We are delighted to see the transformation of the young women since the World Cup and the positive steps they are taking to help not only themselves but others less fortunate than them. The Big City Sleep allows us to shine a light on the plight of street children in the UK and abroad and we are proud to be able to help.”
Glenn Pougnet, Director of StreetSmart, commented, “We supported Team England as it was an ideal opportunity to shine a light on the plight of girls leaving care in this country. In spite of the difficulties they still face, their involvement in the Big City Sleep shows that they have learned from their Rio experience and are growing into young adults eager to make a difference.”
At the Big City Sleep the girls will speak to those taking part about their experience with the Street Child World Cup and will join the arts and dance based activities before they take on the challenge of sleeping one night on the streets in solidarity with street children. The event will also feature an hour of tech time out, sponsored by Foresters, the international financial services organisation, and ‘Smiths’ of Spitalfields, one of the local restaurants, will be providing food for the sleepers.
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