Who are street children?
It is estimated that 100 million children live and work on the streets of our world’s cities. These children are exposed to sexual and violent abuse, exploitation and trafficking, seldom receiving any protection from the police and judicial systems.
The term street child has many different interpretations. The terms ‘Street-Living’, ‘Street-Working’, ‘Street-Family’ can be useful in helping to understand these children’s relationship with the streets. The definitions of these terms are:
Street Living Children: children who do not have contact with their families and live alone on the streets. Street Working Children: children who spend most of their time on the streets, fending for themselves, but returning home on a regular basis. Children from Street Families: children who live on the streets with their families.
The term street child is used in many countries as a negative label to describe these children and the children themselves do not want to be called street children. In using the term ‘street child’ we are focusing on the needs of all children who live or work on the streets. It is also our aim that if street children are able to recognise why they are on the streets and that the negative labels placed on them do not define who they are, but an experience which they have gone through, they are then able to reinterpret this label and to use it to lever change.
Why have a World Cup for street children?
The Street Child World Cup was set up to challenge the way these children were perceived and treated and to call for their rights to be realised.
It was specifically set up to amplify the call of the participating teams for street children’s rights to be realised and to campaign for an end to the systematic and casual abuse so many experience. Calling for the implementation of existing child protection policies and investment in local services which best meet these children’s needs.
SCWC believes the best way of making this change is to place street children at the centre of the call for their rights to be realised.
Street children all around the world play football. It not only lets them escape from the fear and uncertainty which surrounds their daily lives but also provides an opportunity for other people to see them differently.
“When people see us by the side of the street, they say that we are the street boys. But when they see us play football, they will say that we are not the street boys. They will say that we are people like them. They are people like us.” Andile, South African team.
When does it take place?
The first Street Child World Cup took place in Durban, South Africa in March 2010.
The levels of abuse street children experience increases around major sporting events when organisers seek to remove those who do not fit with the image that the host city is seeking to promote.
The Street Child World Cup sought to shine a spotlight on Amos trust’s partner organisation, Umthombo Street Children’s, long running campaign against the rounding up of street children by the police. Durban, as one of the 2010 World Cup hosts cities could either conform to this pattern or become a catalyst to change the way in which street children are perceived and treated.
As a result of the success of this event the second Street Child World Cup will
take place in Brazil in 2014 in the run up to the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup. It
will look to amplify campaigns organised by Brazilian street child networks and
those run by participating country teams.
What happens at the Street Child World Cup?
Eight teams of street children from four continents competed for the inaugural Street Child World Cup. These teams were each brought by partner projects that were able to support the children before during and after the event and ensure that these children were able to receive IDs, passports and permissions required to take part.
A packed 10 days of football, art, music, discussions, school visits, swimming, safaris and laughter ended with India beating Tanzania in the final. For the children it was much more than a tournament, it was a chance to be seen, to be heard and to demonstrate their worth.
‘The best thing for me in Durban was the conference. I never knew other children had gone through what I’d gone through, maybe together we can make a difference.” Anton, Ukraine team
The British Council introduced us to 8 local schools, which each hosted one of the teams. In the schools they joined pupils for intercultural activities, football coaching and arts workshops.
Each evening, art activities were run by Momentum Arts using artists from the UK and South Africa, and teams also took it in turn to involve everyone in an activity from their own country.
Sixteen young trainee South African coaches on the Coaching for Hope programme provided football coaching.
One hundred and fifty staff from event sponsors, Deloitte’s, South African offices volunteered for the Street Child World Cup. They ran a braai and human foosball tournament, organised a trip to the top of the Moses Mabhida Stadium and a night at the multiplex. They were also happy to dress up as team mascots and to be outspoken in calling for a change in the way that these children should be seen.
There were trips to a Safari park, to a water park and to the beach. The mayor of Durban held a reception for the teams
As part of the event the children took part in what was the first international street
child conference. This led to the creation of the Durban Declaration and Street
The 2014 Street Child World Cup will be a far larger event with far greater reach. We are seeking to secure up to 20 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.
What has it achieved?
The Street Child World Cup’s reach went far beyond football.
The Durban Declaration captured the key themes which the children taking part believe will transform their lives. This has been presented to the UN Committee on Human Rights, to central and regional governments and to civil society organisations. It calls on them to act on the impunity people experience when abusing street children, for preventative measures to enable children to stay at home, for investment in services for street children and for their voices to be heard.
The Street Girls’ Manifesto, created with Plan International at the conference, became a central part of their 2010 ‘Because I am a Girl’ report, and has been presented to central and regional government and to major international NGO’s.
In Durban during the 2010 Street Child World Cup a roundup of street children by the police took place. The media interest this generated and global outcry led to changes in local policy. There were no police round-ups of street children in Durban during the FIFA 2010 World Cup and have not been since. Umthombo, Street Child World Cup hosts, are contributing to the first nationwide street child strategy in South Africa.
The 2010 SCWC received extensive media coverage in South Africa and around the world through social networking, web and media coverage. The BBC’s coverage has been nominated for a Bafta Award and global programmes such as FIFA’s ‘Football Mundial’ featured the Street Child World Cup. The British Council teaching resources based on the event are being used in 130 countries and a book of the event and a documentary film Street Kids United will both be released in 2011.
The art created during the 2010 SCWC was first used to create the “Interactive Street Child Experience” facilitated by Momentum Arts artists and local South African artists at the Durban Art Gallery. This showcased the street children’s talent and highlighted their voices within a city, a country and a world where they are some of the most vulnerable and invisible members of the community. This exhibition lasted for six months and included the FIFA World Cup, exposing international visitors to street child issues.
The ‘One Voice‘ art exhibition, was held at the Foundling Museum in London, UK, in September 2010 for three weeks. Using the art created in Durban during the SCWC 2010, as well as some new pieces made especially for the exhibition by Momentum Arts artists, One Voice brought the SCWC to a UK audience. Visited by thousands of people, One Voice was thought-provoking and emotional, pushing its audience to think how they could help promote the rights of street children
The Tanzanian team led a discussion with 50 Police Commander Officers from Mwanza City and Lake Victoria, on the problems that brought them onto the streets, and the ways they are treated by police. This marked the start of their own campaign: “No child should have to sleep on the streets”. In September
2010 the President of Tanzania announced his intention to visit the project.
The victorious Indian team were welcomed back by an exuberant crowd and extensive coverage in the Indian media. As a result of the Street Child World Cup exposure, Jatinder Singh was selected to represent India in the under 16’s World Cup.
In the Philippines as a result of the team’s success a new street child football project is being set up which seeks to use football to mentor street children. The Philippine team’s success was one of the top ten sports stories in 2010 and has been cited as one the reasons for a resurgence in interest in football.
The Ukrainian team were welcomed home with a reception from the newly elected mayor. This allowed Depaul to strengthen their presence in Kharkiv. The Deputy Regional Governor of Kharkiv region accompanied the team to Durban. This experience has influenced her profoundly and she is committed to exploring more participative ways of working in the children’s institutions in Kharkiv.
Who supports SCWC?
Gary Lineker, Jamie Redknapp, Gary Mabbutt, David Beckham, Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Eduardo da Silva, Aaron Mokoena, David Seaman, Harry Redknapp, Theo Walcott, Winston Palacious, Andrij Shevchenko
And, among others:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, Manny Pacquiao, Alastair Campbell, Thandie Newton, Simon Mayo, Edith Bowman
Who can take part in SCWC 2014?
If you are involved in a street child project and would like to take part in the 2014 Street Child World Cup please contact email@example.com.
Participating teams must be involved in work with street children. They must be able to bring a team to SCWC2014 and provide necessary staff support, preparation work and on-going support for the children involved. They must be clear as to how participation will impact upon the lives of children on the streets in the country they represent.
Can a company sponsor the Street Child World Cup?
The Global Sponsorship Programme has provision for up to seven global sponsors each with exclusivity in their own sector. We have already secured sponsorship from Pele Sports and TUI and have significant interest from a number of other major companies with whom we have entered into discussions with the aim of concluding all Global Sponsorship agreements by the end of 2011.
The Host Country Sponsorship Programme is currently being established.
The National Sponsorship Programmes for each of the participating teams will open in April, 2012.
There will also be further sponsorship opportunities and we welcome enquiries from those who are interested in sponsoring a particular aspect of the SCWC
How can I be involved?
In April 2012, street children from South Africa and Brazil will be launching the 2014 tournament. From that date there will be loads of ways to get involved. To find out how:
Contact us to join the Supporters Club
Join our Facebook page,
Follow us on Twitter at SCWC2014
Support us through your school or community group by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
“I experienced hardcore street life in my youth. I know what it’s like. I congratulate the Street Child World Cup project in it’s commitment to bring attention to the plight of Street Children through the power of football.”
“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.”
“No child should have to live on the streets. I commend the Street Child World Cup for providing a platform for the rights of street children to be heard.”