Athletics, cricket, football - sport has the power to transform lives.
The United Nations sees sport as an important and powerful tool with the potential to progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Street Child United supports the SDGs.
We use sport to bring street children together in a safe space where they can be seen and their voices can be heard. Ahead of the world’s biggest sporting competitions, like the FIFA World Cup, we put on international sports events, specifically for street-connected children.
1. Sport reaches out to those most in need
By its very nature, sport is about participation. Many of the organisations we work with use sport every day to build positive relationships with children on the streets and start the conversation around how best to support them moving forward.
“Sometimes it is hell on the streets, but when I play football I feel as if I am in heaven.” Thamires, Team Brazil
2. Sport provides a level playing field
People are used to seeing street children in a negative light. For young people who take part this is a chance to be seen not as street children, but as athletes and ambassadors, judged not for their background, but given the space to be their true selves and make their country proud.
“When people see us by the streets, they say that we are street boys. But when they see us playing soccer, they say that we are not the street boys. They say that we are people like them. They are people like us.” Andile, Team South Africa
3. Sport is a tool for cultural exchange
Sport has no language barriers. It’s a way for young people to make friends from other countries, share experiences and come up with ideas for the future.
“Our common language is football. Through it we can start to understand each other.” Erica, Team Philippines
4. Sport creates team players and leaders
Sport promotes equality, inclusion, and participation, whilst increasing confidence, happiness and resilience. Inspired by their experiences, some of the young people who have taken part in our events have gone on to be leaders in their community and role models for other street children.
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5. Sport appeals to the whole world
Sport has a unique power to attract, mobilise and inspire. We use sports events as global outreach platforms for street children to send their message to the world.
“We are somebody. We want to be treated kindly and with respect because we are also human beings.”