Orphans and street children unite in Moscow for their World Cup 2018
The Street Child World Cup: The Future Depends on You – an international soccer tournament for orphans and street-connected children – will took place ahead of the FIFA World Cup, in Moscow, Russia, in May 2018.
The event was co-organized by Street Child United in association with Save the Children, and leading Russian telecoms operator “MegaFon”. The soccer tournament brought together orphans and street-connected children to play on and unite off the field for the rights of all children at risk. The UN estimates there are up to 150 million street-connected children worldwide. The event aims to challenge the negative perception and treatment of children at risk across the world.
Paul Sunder Singh, head of Karunalaya Centre for street and working children in Chennai, India, which took part, said:
“We hope that taking part in Moscow will impact on the government and on everyone so that they will treat street children how they are supposed to be treated, with respect for their rights.”
There has been widespread approval for the initiative from Pope Francis, HRH Prince William and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. They are not alone – the soccer world has also backed the event with support from Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Pele and David Beckham.
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said:
“The Street Child World Cup is at the heart of football, providing a level playing field to street children who have for too long been marginalised. I look forward to following the Street Child World Cup in 2018 when each young person, no matter their background, will tell the world: I am Somebody.”
Since 2005, “MegaFon” have organized the annual national “The Future Depends on You” soccer competition among teams of orphanages, engaging more than 30,000 children in 140 cities. “MegaFon” use soccer to create a platform for at risk children so that their voices are heard, and they can demonstrate their potential.
John Wroe, Street Child United CEO and co-founder, said,
“We are delighted to partner with “MegaFon” for the Street Child World Cup: The Future Depends on You. “MegaFon”’s track record of using football to create lasting change for at risk children mean they are a perfect partner for Moscow 2018. On the eve of the FIFA World Cup, we will level the playing field for some of the most marginalised children.”
During the event in Moscow, the young participants were assisted by a team of international volunteers, including “MegaFon” employees.