On 31st January, Azad Foundation and the Directorate of Human Rights (Sindh) jointly held a press briefing at the Marriott Hotel Karachi to announce Team Pakistan’s participation in the second Street Child World Cup (SCWC) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in March 2014. During the conference, Ms. Nadia Gabol (Coordinator to Chief Minister Sindh for Human Rights) announced that a team of Pakistani street children led by Azad Foundation will take part. She congratulated Azad Foundation and the street children of Pakistan on this landmark achievement and ensured her and her department’s full support during the SCWC 2014 campaign and for street children. She shared that interventions to support street children should be initiated. An unexpected outcome was her announcement that the Directorate of Human Rights and the Department of Sports Sindh are collaborating to launch a cricket team of street children initially in Sindh and then throughout Pakistan. She said that Azad Foundation should align their sports-for-development programme with this initiative to support the government’s efforts for social rehabilitation and integration of street children.
Naveed Hassan Khan, CEO of Azad Foundation, while addressing queries from media, shared that during the next year street children from different cities of Pakistan will undergo a selection process to take part in this global event. He also shared that currently a local team of street children from Karachi, the Street Strikers, is under training and playing with pro clubs for exposure. He also briefed the media about their campaign objectives.
Syed Muhamad Ali Bilgrami, Manager of Programmes at Azad Foundation, spoke on the SCWC campaign in Pakistan and shed light on the absence of Pakistani street children’s information on international platforms. Dr Farah Iqbal, Director of Azad Foundation, spoke about the impact of sports in the rehabilitation and reintegration process. Mr Maqsood, Deputy Director of the Directorate of Human Rights also spoke on this topic. A special message from Mr Joe Hewitt, Director of Communications at the SCWC, was also shared with the press and electronic media. Mr Joe welcomed Team Pakistan to the Street Child World Cup 2014, and shared the aims and objectives of the SCWC – to raise awareness among societies and governments that no child should have to live or work on the streets. He also shared his excitement that Team Pakistan were participating in this World Cup.
Click here to see some of the press coverage in Pakistan following this announcement.
“When ever people come across me they laugh. It seems like my mouth is zipped because they talk for us. I wish they could give us a chance to talk for ourselves.”
“It was possible to gather many nationalities, cultures, and form a nation: a nation of free man, with equal rights and opportunities, mutual respect, rightful duties. It 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.”
“I know from personal experience just what power football can have to inspire and change young people’s lives whatever their background or nationality. This is what the Street Child World Cup is all about and I give it my full support.”