Street Child Games Rio 2016

An Olympic-inspired Games for street children.

Ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, street-connected children from around the world took part in the first Street Child Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They represented their countries, won medals, spoke out about their rights and became ambassadors for street children everywhere.





What happened

Over 10 days, the teams took part in Olympic-style track and field events at some of Rio’s most iconic landmarks. They took part in activities from art to capoeira and shared their ideas and experiences with each other.

At their own Congress they learnt about their rights and shared their ideas on how governments can help improve their lives.

At the end of the Congress, they presented their Rio Resolution, calling for their countries and communities to act and protect all street children’s rights.

Their message was loud and clear: “We are Somebody”

Read the Rio Resolution

Rio Resolution

Signatories: thirty-four former street children from: Brazil, Argentina, Great Britain, Egypt, Burundi, Mozambique, Pakistan, India and the Philippines

The General Assembly of the Street Child Games, meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 15-18 March 2016:

Reminding nations of their commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which states that all children are entitled to all rights, regardless of their circumstances,

Guided by delegates’ personal experiences of living or working on the streets, and representing others still on the streets worldwide,

Emphasising specific rights most frequently denied to children living or working on the streets: the right to Protection from Violence (article 19), the right to Education (articles 28 & 29), the right to a Legal Identity (articles 7 & 8):

Protection from violence

Declares that violence is a result of not being listened to. Governments must work with street-connected children to create laws that prevent them from being subjected to violence and abuse

Demands that all police training includes how to understand and relate to street-connected children, and that this training invites the participation of street children themselves

Urges that governments stop forcing street-connected children into ‘care centres’, which only continue to put us at risk of physical and emotional violence


Asserts that street children have the right to education. All governments should ensure enrolment of street children in schools, regardless of background, identity papers or resources, and support families to enable children to stay in school

Advises that teacher-training must include understanding of the emotional and educational needs of street-connected children

Reminds governments that schools should be a place of safety for children. The Assembly demands that governments ban corporal punishment and emotional abuse in schools.


Emphasises that every child has the right to be a full citizen, regardless of whether they have a home or an address

 Recommends that specialist services must be provided to enable street-connected children to possess a legal identity; this process must be simple and free. We must appear on the national census

Proclaims that street-connected children need love, respect, and to be seen.

“We too have values, beliefs, morals and principles.
We will be listened to.”

I’ve read the Resolution with great interest and I find it truly inspiring. We take good note of the Resolution and we will reflect it in our work as appropriate, as well as share it with relevant UN offices.

Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, former UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth


The Street Child Games gave street-connected children a voice ahead of the Olympic Games, raising awareness, challenging negative perceptions and calling for street children everywhere to be better protected, respected and supported. Find out what happened.


Young people empowered

Every member of every team returned to their country having had their voices heard and with a sense of pride in their achievements. They came to Rio as athletes and returned as ambassadors for street children everywhere.

Usha, representing India, demands street children’s rights


“I should be a role model to street children like me. I desire to be the best guide for them.” Usha, Team India

Partner organisations strengthened

In India and Burundi officials were inspired to act as a direct result of the Street Child Games.


Team India won 100m gold at the Street Child Games and inspired the Union Minister for Women and Child Development to pledge to provide birth certificates to all children in India, including street children.

Maneka Gandhi meets Team India in Chennai after the Street Child Games.


“We will be working towards giving all children a birth certificate and an Aadhaar card [form of ID] so that proof of their existence is on record.” Maneka Gandhi, Indian Government


After reading the recommendations in the Rio Resolution, the Mayor of Burundi’s capital Bujumbura granted birth certificates to 36 children supported by New Generation, organisers of Team Burundi.

“Now it means to have the right to be a citizen. Now I can get an ID, have the right to vote, to continue my studies or to have permission to start a small business.” Jean Claude, Burundi

A legal identity is one of the most important things anyone can have. But many street children don’t have a birth certificate or passport. That means limited access to healthcare and education. It means they are not treated as legal citizens and they live in fear of harassment from the police.










A global platform


Media coverage of the Street Child Games reached 81 million people.

Influencers engaged

The United Nations has recognised the Rio Resolution and its recommendations and will reflect it in its work, where appropriate.

Participants contributed to the first United Nations General Comment on children in street situations.