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World Cup to give street children a voice

by David Masters
March 20, 2009

A coalition of social justice charities have teamed up with footballing legend Gary Lineker to launch a new football World Cup for street children.

The Street Child World Cup will bring together street children from eight countries around the world for a football competition at the same time as the FIFA World Cup in 2010.

It aims to raise awareness of the situation of street children, as well as giving them an international voice.

Just like the FIFA 2010 World Cup, it will be hosted in South Africa.

South African charity Umthombo Street Children will welcome teams from Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Professional football coaches will be hired to help the children with their football skills, whilst specially trained artists will help the children tell their stories to the world.

The charities who launched the Street Child World Cup said football gives street children an opportunity to escape the difficulty of their everyday lives.

Co-ordinator Jenny Dawkins explained: “We want to give street children their voices back.

“Young people have rights, talents and potential.

“They already know that, but self-belief can be squashed out of them on the streets.

“We want them to be listened to by decision-makers, and empowered so that things can start to change.”

Gary Lineker commented: “It is great that the Street Child World Cup will use this game, which is loved all over the world, to help give kids a fairer deal.

“No child should have to be on the streets, so if football can be a part of making a difference, that’s fantastic.”

High profile figures who have backed the campaign include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, broadcaster Simon Mayo, as well as TV stars Angus Deayton and Nick Hancock.

Archbishop Tutu said: “I am proud that the first ever Street Child World Cup will take place in South Africa – and I urge all governments to guarantee the rights of this most marginalised group of their citizens to lives in which their promise is fulfilled.”

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