Street Child World Cup Rio 2014

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil played host to our second World Cup for street children.

Ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the Street Child World Cup in association with Save the Children, united 230 street-connected children representing 19 countries to play in their own international football tournament, festival of arts and Congress for their rights.

Girls’ tournament

For the first time, a girls’ tournament ran alongside the boys’. Nine girls’ teams played for street-connected, homeless and at-risk girls around the world, offering a level playing field to show their potential and raise awareness of the specific challenges street-connected girls face.

Brazil were crowned champions after a close-fought match versus the Philippines 1-0.

See the girls in action















Find out more about life on the streets for girls

Millions of children are forced to survive on the streets around the world. It is known that street girls everywhere are at high risk of violence, abuse and sexual exploitation, but their low visibility makes it hard to help them.

Girls are forced onto the streets for many reasons, but sometimes it’s simply because they are a girl. Some girls come to the streets because they are escaping abuse, traffickers or a life of domestic servitude.

Typically, there are fewer girls than boys seen on the streets, in many places they stay hidden either to protect themselves or because once they come to the streets they are forced into less visible activities such as sex work.

“It’s hard the situation on the streets for girls because society doesn’t see us. We are invisible.” Blanca, Team Nicaragua

Girls on the streets are not being properly supported or represented, they are often neglected, marginalised and vulnerable to gender-based violence and discrimination.

Cultural and societal attitudes and behaviours need to be challenged and awareness raised of the reality for street girls. They need to be more visible. Their voices need to be heard.

“Now I can conquer, because I have learnt that however tight I am marked, I can always score a goal.” Olivia, Team Zimbabwe

“The Street Child World Cup was 10 days when the world – in that corner of Rio – was fair to socially excluded children. They could feel the beauty of being somebody in this world.”

Abdul Faquir, Team Leader, Mozambique

Boys’ tournament

Boys representing 15 national teams played in Brazil. Tanzania reached the final versus their neighbours in Burundi. Tanzania 3–1 Burundi.

Watch the Finals

Impact highlights

The Street Child World Cup Rio 2014 provided a global platform for street-connected children, inspiring change beyond the field. Impact included sharing key learning, building a football field, leveraging vital funds, engaging media partners, supporting advocacy and helping discussions with Government. Find out more.

Young people empowered

Innocent, Burundi

Innocent represented Team Burundi and now works to support children living on the streets in Bujumbura.

Drika, Brazil

Drika lifted the 2014 Street Child World Cup for Team Brazil and is now a Community Coach at Safe Space in Rio de Janeiro.

Find out more

Partner organisations strengthened in their communities

Our partner organisations reported increased awareness and support for their work supporting street-connected children as a result of their participation.


Burundi’s participation helped them secure further funding, which has doubled the capacity of their education programme and enabled them to start providing accommodation to some of the children they support.

“Street Child United has helped us a lot in raising our voice. When we go back home everyone is excited to hear about what we did and it get spread on all media, the governments also give us an opportunity to present our goals, and tell them our dreams and the change we want to see. This has enabled us to carry our voice and our thoughts further than expected, which made people now listen to us and give value to our work.” Dieudonné Nahimana, New Generation Burundi

Brazil boys

Following the Street Child World Cup, the National Secretariat for Human Rights of Brazil invited our partner organisation, O Pequeno Nazareno, to present their ‘Children are not of the streets’ policy at a national summit for street children in 2015.

“When the Street Child World Cup happened in Brazil in 2014 there was a big change in the government’s perspective. Because it saw the whole world was looking at Brazil and that something should be done about it. And after we were invited by the government to participate in a working group with many ministries to think and plan a set of solutions for children who are on the streets – it all happened after the Street Child World Cup in 2014.” Manoel Torquato, O Pequeno Nazareno

Brazil girls

Safe Space football pitch built in Rio de Janeiro, which now offers football training and learning opportunities to 45 children per day.

Find out more

Societies challenged around the world

Media coverage in 20 countries

300+ pieces in leading international and national media outlets including BBC, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, CNN, The Times of India, O Globo. 220+ million people reached worldwide. Advertising Value Equivalent in excess of £4 million (Precious Media)

Leaders and influencers engaged

  • Pope Francis blessed the Street Child World Cup and declared it a “significant initiative”.
  • HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge sent a message of support and encouragement to the teams.
  • Brazil World Cup Winner and Arsenal invincible, Gilberto Silva came to the tournament, and was inspired by the children to become a Street Child United global ambassador.
  • Brazil legends Bebeto and Zico visited and pledged their support.

The best thing has been meeting so many children from different countries and to know that my voice has a power and that I can choose who I want to be.

Team Nicaragua