What is the Street Child World Cup?
Millions of vulnerable and marginalised children throughout the world today are left with no option but to live on the streets. The Street Child World Cup aims to give these forgotten children a voice and to campaign for their rights. The Street Child World Cup is a major event that brings together football, work through the arts and a major international street child conference, all of which are designed to campaign for the rights of street children around the world. The aims of the event are to:
- change public perception of street children
- ensure that these children’s rights are realised
- provide a global platform for street children’s voices to be heard.
Why have a World Cup for street children?
Football is a powerful sport which can bring about social change. Street children all over the world love to play football and it offers a welcome escapism from the fear and uncertainty that surrounds their daily lives and an opportunity for other people to see them differently. The Street Child World Cup aims to harness the power of the sport and help ensure that the voices of street children all over the world are heard.
Has the Street Child World Cup happened before?
The first Street Child World Cup took place in March 2010 in Durban, South Africa. The event brought together teams of street children from eight different countries for a seven-a-side football tournament. Through football and the arts, they communicated together about the ways in which street children’s rights are violated. The event also included a groundbreaking street child conference where experiences were shared and “the Durban Declaration” was created, a collective voice demanding the rights of street children to be recognised. Through football, artwork and spirit, the tremendous potential of street children was demonstrated.
What difference did the 2010 SCWC make?
The Street Child World Cup’s reach went far beyond football. At the street child conference the children discussed three key themes:
- home and family
- protection from violence
- the right to access education and health.
They drafted manifestos around these issues that became the Durban Declaration, a call to action from the street children who participated. The Durban Declaration captured the key themes that the children taking part believe will transform their lives. This was taken forward to a conference in the UK in November 2010, bringing together street child organisations and government representatives from all over the world. In March 2011 the declaration was presented to the UN Committee on Human Rights, to central and regional governments and to civil society organisations. It called on them to act on the impunity that exists for people who abuse street children, for preventative measures to enable children to stay at home, for investment in services for street children and for the voices of street children to be heard.
The Street Girls’ Manifesto became a central part of Plan International’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ report, and has been presented to central and regional government and to major international NGO’s.
Did the participating children go back to the streets after they took part in the 2010 SCWC?
All of the Nicaraguan team have returned to homes. Seven of the South African team have returned to homes and two are now gaining experience working at Umthombo. Six of the Tanzanian team have returned to families, one has gained a scholarship to a specialist sports school in Uganda and two are living at the Kuleana children’s centre. All of the Ukraine team have been fostered into caring families. The Brazilian team continue to live in residential shelters and work with social workers to plan their futures. The Indian team are living at YFC Rurka Kalan and the Philippines team are regularly meeting together, having returned to the children’s centres they live in.
When will the next Street Child World Cup be held?
The next Street Child World Cup will be held in March/April 2014 in Brazil and will be a much larger event with a greater reach. Organisers are seeking to secure twenty boys teams and five girls teams to take part in separate boys and girls tournaments. It will follow a similar pattern to 2010, involving local schools, street child NGO’s, football coaches, celebrity guests, a youth participation conference and work with Brazilian artists to capture street children’s voices in fresh, creative ways.
Where can I find out more about street children?
The Consortium for Street Children is the leading international network dedicated to the rights of street children worldwide. You can find out about their member organisations and read their research into street children on their website www.streetchildren.org.uk.
How can I help?
You can help change the ways that street children are perceived and treated by joining the Facebook page. You can also support SCWC as an individual by donating through iExplore. In April 2012, street children from South Africa and Brazil will be launching the 2014 tournament, and from that date there will be lots more ways to get involved.
Watch the Street Child World Cup video to find out more about the campaign and how it helps children facing poverty around the world.