Our Young Leaders
We are proud to work with these exceptional young people. Our goal is to help them become advocates for street-connected children, who can bring about social change.
Abdallah has an interest in the hospitality sector and is working and studying on a one year course at the German Hotel School in El Gouna, Egypt. Abdallah represented Egypt at the Street Child World Cup Rio 2014 and was chosen as a Young Leader for the Street Child World Cup Moscow 2018.
"I like walking by myself, alone and listen to the Holy Quran, also I like listening to music, talking to myself, making videos, watching movies, cooking, writing, running (two days a week), helping people and I love talking with pure people. I am trying to make a YouTube channel, help my family, graduate school, learn English extensively, travel aboard, start my own project and to be independent."Abdallah - Egypt
Deyna lives in La Paz with her parents, in her grandparents' house. Denya represented Bolivia at the Street Child World Cup Moscow 2018 and as team captain she displayed outstanding leadership qualities both on and off the pitch. Since the event, she has been welcomed for a reception with the Bolivian President and put forward a petition to the government that will provide rights to health, education, food and identity for people living in a street situations. She is currently studying at university and hopes for a professional career “to help change lives for the better.”
"One of my important family stories happened when I was 8 years old and I started training at a soccer school where almost all the boys were boys, so they did not take me into account, they discriminated against me because I was a girl at the time and after each training I came home crying because of everything that happened in each training session, one day my mom motivated me to continue attending training and she told me 'Don't stop because I know that you are strong’ and now I am one of the best among so many men."Denya - ALALAY Foundation, Bolivia
Jhoselyn lives in the Alalay Foundation children's home. “They teach me strategies and guide me to make good decisions, with the aim of being a good person in the future.” She hopes to graduate from High School and attend University to study accounting. After attending the Street Child World Cup Moscow 2018, she hopes to become a good leader and help street-connected children in Bolivia.
"The most important thing for me is when the Fundación Alalay rescued me from the street when I had nothing, thanks to them I am who I am, a person with values, education, opportunities in different spaces, they teach me to have confidence in myself, to achieve my goals and overcome any obstacle that crosses me, to love myself as I am and love others as they are, not to judge and above all to make happy with the family that God gave me."Jhoselyn, ALALAY Foundation, Bolivia
Drika was born and raised by her grandmother in Sergipe, Northern Brazil. She was one of ten children, and the family had no electric lights, no TV, or stove. She had no toys or games. Football was the one thing that made her happy. When she was 14, her grandmother died and she went to live with her mother and step-father in Rio de Janeiro, but was thrown out and ended up ‘couch-surfing’. She was eventually taken in by her aunt.
Things began to change for Drika when she started training with Favela Street Foundation in one of Rio’s largest favelas, Complexo da Penha. Favela Street was chosen to represent Brazil at the Street Child World Cup Rio 2014, and, with Drika as captain, the team went all the way to the final, where they beat the Philippines 1-0.
As a result of the Street Child World Cup Rio 2014, Street Child United built the Safe Space pitch and programme in Complexo da Penha, with the support of GM Chevrolet. Drika was chosen as one of the community coaches, acting as an inspirational role model and leader for the children of the community.
Drika has also attended subsequent Street Child World Cups as a coach to Team Brazil and as a Young Leader. She helps up to 300 children a year play sports and learn, reducing their risk of exploitation and abuse, developing their life skills and improving their education, training and employment opportunities. In 2017 Drika was named by the BBC in the top 100 most inspiring women in the world.
"Of the children living and working on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, the vast majority come from areas like Complexo. Every day the children and young people are at risk of exploitation and violence from the drug gangs and the police, where gunfights on the streets often break out.Drika - Street Child United Brazil
I like challenges, spending two months away from home with different people, different food and also different language, it’s not easy. But knowledge is not bought. And my English will improve a lot, I can’t miss the great opportunities that appear in life."
Sadock was involved with gangs and spent time on the streets fighting and stealing. After being offered support and guidance by a local NGO, he was selected to play for Tanzania at the first Street Child World Cup in South Africa in 2010. Four years later in Rio 2014, Sadock was a coach for Team Tanzania before attending Street Child World Cups in 2018 and 2019 as a Young Leader. Sadock is now a community support social worker and has taken part in three Street Child World Cups as a Young Leader, presenting public-facing events in front of the world’s media.
“On the streets, children face physical, psychological and sexual violence. We are children, and we want the government to protect children and to give them social services including education, better healthcare and all the rights that other children have so that we can grow and develop.Sadock - Tanzania
I believe I have what it takes to be role model for others, though personally I am not
where I want to be in life yet, but I want to make a change into people’s lives by telling
my story, inspiring them and showing them that it is possible to lift other people up with
nothing in your hand but with something in your head which is a positive mindset."
Jessica, 19, is from Rio and lives with her foster parents. After winning the Street Child World Cup Moscow 2018 she says she “had a lot of recognition, a lot of respect for my history, and made my family very proud.”
"I want to be a professional soccer player, so I always look for my goals, I want to achieveJessica - Street Child United Brazil
dreams and climb mountains for that dream to come true, I’m always trying to be a humble person who always helps others, who doesn’t judge anyone."
Since representing Pakistan in the Street Child World Cup Moscow 2018, Ibrar has been selected to play for the Pakistan National Team. Ibrar wants to play for a professional football club and represent his country in the biggest leagues and competitions in the world. He wants to be an example for children, through his journey he hopes to impact people’s lives and give them hope.
"Participation in the Street Child World Cup Moscow 2018 and our victory was a turning point in my life. Subsequently, witnessing so many people turn up to receive us upon our arrival in Pakistan at the airport and being paraded in my local hometown as a hero was a moment that changed my life for ever. It was the single biggest moment in my life as the affection of the people towards me was something I had never experienced before."Ibrar - Muslim Hands, Pakistan
Husnain joined to support Mohammed Ibrar with language and, because he took part at the Street Child Cricket World Cup London 2019 as a ''learner'' within the Pakistani delegation, he has decided to continue his training.
Husnain is 25 years old and works as a Social Mobiliser for Muslim Hands and has been engaged with Street Children, a project launched by Muslim Hands, since 2015. He would like to impact other people’s life through projects that give street-connected children a strong platform.Husnain - Muslim Hands, Pakistan
Nagalakshmi has been living in the girls' shelter at Karunalaya in Chennai for as long as she can remember. After being part of the team that won the first ever Street Child Cricket World Cup, she hopes to continue playing sport and would like to become a social worker to help vulnerable people.
In Chennai it is thought there are 75,000 street children alone. Karunalaya works in Chennai to provide care, protection and rehabilitation for runaway street children. The shelter provides care, food, clothing, education and sports with the goal to reintegrate children with their families.Nagalakshmi - Karunalaya, India
Eswari lives and studies at Karunalaya – a shelter providing care, protection and rehabilitation for street children in Chennai India. As a young child, Eswari was raised by her single mother who worked selling flowers on the street to be able to fund Esawari’s school. Eswari took part in the Street Child World Cup Moscow 2018 and featured in Street Kids United 3 which was featured at film premieres around the world.Eswari - Karunalaya, India
In 2017, Samantha was being supported by English youth homelessness charity Centrepoint. She represented England at the Street Child World Cup Moscow 2018, where she captained her team to victory in the 3rd place playoff. Since then, she has campaigned internationally on behalf of other at-risk young people, including speaking at Westminster. She is currently studying multimedia journalism at UCFB and is in the process of publishing an anthology of poetry and artwork created by herself and others, to create a platform for young people whose voices are rarely heard.
“Street Child United allowed me to reach new heights, they have supported me in more ways that what I thought was possible. I was given many opportunities to realise my potential not only physically but also mentally, they have created an amazing platform for young street-connected children from all around the world. My life has completely turned around since the Street Child World Cup; I am now at University studying a passion that I found in Russia. I now have this huge platform to share the voices of other street-connected children who were unheard just like I was.
“We have a voice and we demand it to be heard.Samantha - England
You have the choice, to be a sheep or lead the herd.”
Jasmin captained Team England at the Street Child Cricket World Cup London 2019. During the SCCWC, Jasmin gave a speech on behalf of her team at Westminster, in which she highlighted the importance of young women, particularly from a Muslim background, being allowed the opportunity to enjoy sport. A Rohingya refugee resettled in the UK, Jasmin is a talented sportsperson, having played cricket for her county (West Yorkshire) and been a part of the Bradford City Academy.
“Young people in the UK are stereotyped – people associate us with gangs, drugs and violence. We are so much more than this. We demand from the government more funding for mental health awareness and support, educational programmes and opportunities, a level playing field for all young people, and a platform for our voice. Will you listen?”Jasmin - England
Erica was the captain of team Philippines at the first SCWC in South Africa in 2010. At the SCWC 2014 and the Street Child Games 2016, both in Brazil, she attended as a coach for Team Philippines. Erica graduated in culinary arts in Tuloy sa Don Bosco, a home and a paradise for unfortunate children. She is now working as a Chef in Paris.
“I was from a very poor family. And my mum is a single parent. We barely ate a full meal. Most of the time I was out with other poor kids walking around the streets. Because of poverty, we sought help, hoping for a better future. At the home for poor, abandoned, orphaned and abused children, we found another family. We were loved.”Erica - Philippines
Liya is a law student studying at the university of Sheffield. She participated in the 2014 SCWC and 2016 Games. Liya was also a Young Leader at the 2018 World Cup in Moscow. She’s undertaken work experience at Street Child United and spoke at the international summit on the protection of street children’s rights in Brazil.Liya - England