The Street Child World Cup: The Future Depends On You is creating a platform for street-connected children from all over the world to have their voices heard on the global stage.
More than 200 young people, representing 20 nations, are uniting to inspire others to change the negative perceptions and stigma street-connected children face.
Jamilet, from USA Girls, said: “I’m here from Washington, DC to represent all of the United States and to make a change. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience – I will take advantage of it.”
Ahead of the FIFA World Cup in June, the Street Child World Cup aims to capture the attention of the world’s media, as the young people take part in a football tournament of their own which extends further than the pitch.
“I hope to meet as many new people as I can, learn new things and take it back to my community and teach them what I have learned during my time here,” Jamilet added.
The event has already had its presence felt, with the young people’s stories reaching millions of people across the world through reporting in the BBC, the Guardian, AFP, the Manilla Times and the Jakarta Post, to name a few.
This year’s players have been inspired by Street Child World Cup Alumni, who have utilised the opportunity to reach out to young people around the globe.“When I was involved with the Street Child World Cup for the first time, I realised that I can speak out, and I can do whatever I can in order to make the voices of the street children from all over the world be heard,” said Sadock, who played for Tanzania in 2010.
A key aim of the event is for every child involved to feel empowered, whilst improving the public’s knowledge and attitude towards street-connected children.
Joe Hewitt, Head of Americas Street Child United.“This is a football tournament for girls and boys who have historically had no voice, and that’s children connected to the streets. Across the world there are millions of children who come from broken homes and problem situations that has led them to situations that no child should be in.”
“These are the children that have historically been excluded… so it’s very, very
important that they get this opportunity to have a world cup, to celebrate football, to celebrate safe play, and safe development,” said Hewitt.