Street Child World Cup Durban 2010

The inaugural Street Child World Cup kicked off in Durban ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Street children from eight countries came together for their own football World Cup, festival of arts and Congress for their rights. Over 10 days, these children became football players and role models who made their voices heard – on a level playing field.

Durban 2010: in numbers

8,000 spectators

4,000 school children

450 volunteers

72 young people

16 football coaches

15 film crews

12 languages

10 days

8 national teams

1 goal: inspire change


The idea for a World Cup for street children came after a group of families visited Durban ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

They spent time at Umthombo, a local organisation supporting street children and saw how street children were being rounded up and held by security forces. After South Africa was announced as the FIFA World Cup host country, the rounds ups increased.

With the World Cup approaching we saw an opportunity to use football to capture the world’s attention, give street children a chance to proudly represent their countries and shine a spotlight on the mistreatment and abuse they were experiencing.

We are determined to win – not just for ourselves, nor just for the street children of India, but for street children all over the world.

Amrit, Captain of Team India

Why do street children exist?

Millions of children survive on the streets in countries around the world.

There are many reasons why children are forced onto the streets – war, poverty, family breakdown, abuse, natural disaster and socio-economic collapse are all common causes.


What challenges do they face?

Life on the streets is very hard. Every day street children are denied their rights.

They face are blamed for their circumstances and face widespread stigma. As a result, they are discriminated against, marginalised and mistreated. They are denied the opportunities they need to realise their potential. Their voices are rarely heard.

What can I do to support them?

Our vision is a world where every child is protected, respected and supported to realise their full potential.

We use sport to provide a global platform for street-connected children to make their voices heard, raising awareness of their situation and challenging the negative perceptions and treatment of street-connected children everywhere.

Be on our team.

Find out more

Triumphs on the pitch

Fans blew vuvuzelas and banged their drums for the opening ceremony. They roared as the teams proudly walked out onto the pitch wearing their national colours and carrying their national flags and the inaugural Street Child World Cup kicked off.

After group games and knock outs, the final was played between Tanzania and India. The game was 0-0 and heading towards a penalty shootout until a Tanzania conceded a penalty. India 1-0 Tanzania.

Impact off the pitch

Alongside the football the children took part in a festival of arts, which was shown at Durban Art Gallery.

At a congress for their rights they worked together to identify key changes to better protect and support all street-connected children. They produced country manifestos which formed The Durban Declaration – a call to action from the children which was presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Media from around the world reported on the Street Child World Cup and the round-ups of street children in Durban, highlighting Umthombo’s ten-year campaign to end them. As a result, round-ups were stopped in 2010.

I feel that I can do anything now.

Marta, Team Nicaragua