More than 200 street-connected children from across the world have come together in Russia for the Street Child World Cup: The Future Depends on You, an international football tournament, festival of arts and Congress for their rights. Over the next 10 days 24 teams across a boys and girls tournament will represent their countries and play to change the negative perceptions and treatment of street children everywhere.
A spectacular opening ceremony and exhibition match between Team Russia Girls and Team Brazil Girls got the third Street Child World Cup underway.
The charity event, co-organised by UK-based charity Street Child United and Russian telecoms company MegaFon, in association with Save the Children, runs until Friday 18 May. All matches will be played at Russian champions Lokomotiv Moscow’s Sapsan Area.
Each country taking part is represented by an organisation working with street-connected young people in that country. For example, Team Kenya is supported by Glad’s House, who support street children in Mombasa and on the coast of Kenya. Have a look at our Meet the Teams pages to find out more about each organisation.
Off the pitch, a festival of arts and Congress will give the young people the chance to share their experiences, explore their rights and discuss their hopes for the future. Through this process, they will create a unified message to share with the world, which they will present at a General Assembly on 17 May.
Supported by stars from across the footballing world and beyond, the Street Child World Cup exists to challenge the stigma and negative perception of all street children around the world by sharing our teams’ voices, stories, experiences, hopes and dreams. We believe that the world’s young people, no matter their circumstances, should be able to declare ‘I Am Somebody’.
The tournament will be covered on Goal, a global football website, including the finals being live streamed through Goal’s Facebook page (the finals take place from 09:30 – 12:30 on 16 May) and daily highlights throughout the week. Coverage on Goal means the young people taking part will receive the same media coverage as Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar.
Andile, Team South Africa Player, Street Child World Cup 2010: “When people see us by the streets, they say that we are the street boys. But when they see us playing soccer, they say that we are not the street boys – they say that we are people like them.”
David Beckham: “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.”
Gilberto Silva: “I’m honoured to be an ambassador for Street Child United. It has been a privilege for me to meet the inspirational former street children involved. They are incredible leaders and I’m delighted to support them on their journey to the Street Child World Cup: The Future Depends On You.”
Gareth Southgate: “The Street Child World Cup: The Future Depends On You is a fantastic event. It’s about using football to make a positive impact and not speaking for vulnerable young people but giving them a platform to speak for themselves. I wish Team England, and all the young people taking part, the best of luck in the football but more importantly in changing the world.”