As the domestic football season draws to a close, football fans among us who might usually be starting to worry about where we’ll be getting our fix from in the coming months can relax, as 2018 is a World Cup year. Those of us who like football have the glorious prospect of a month-long feast of it, and even those of us who don’t can often find ourselves getting carried away with the momentum of it all.
Most people are already speculating which players will make it onto the plane, the tactics and formation the managers will adopt, and will no doubt be fantasising about how far England will get – maybe even all the way to the final in Moscow on 15th July.
But for some of the football teams heading to Russia this summer, how far they have travelled to be part of their own festival of football beats the distance covered by any football star and represents an incredible achievement in itself – before a ball has even been kicked.
Street Child World Cup 2018
By the time the highly-paid and internationally-revered mega-stars get together to contest one of global sport’s greatest show pieces, street children from the world over will have already staged their own equally impressive and competitive tournament. In May, twenty-four teams of street-connected children will come together to compete against each other in the Street Child World Cup.
Across the world, millions of children live and work on the streets. The Street Child World Cup is a global campaign for street children to receive the protection and opportunities that all children deserve.
Over two hundred boys and girls from countries all around the globe will play to change the negative perceptions and treatment of street children everywhere. Meanwhile, off the pitch, the young people will make their voices heard, calling for the rights of millions of children surviving on the streets worldwide.
The stories of what some of these children have been through and the odds they have battled to succeed in their lives certainly puts the achievements of international football stars – and, indeed all of us – into perspective. I’m proud to say that I have been able to work with clients and friends (you know who you are!) who have played some part in helping these youngsters to rebuild their lives through the positive opportunities of competitive sport. Each team needed approximately £16,000-£20,000 to cover the cost of their flights, football kit, food, accommodation all the other essentials that come with being an international touring football team.
A number of other businesses and individuals have helped raise funds to get two teams of street children from two charities to Street Child World Cup in Moscow 2018: the New Generation charity from Burundi and the Glad’s House charity based in Kenya.
Two of the teams taking part
New Generation from Burundi will be sending their Imboneza FC team to the tournament and we have been privileged to have been involved in their bid to make it to Moscow.
New Generation are a non-profit organisation, focused on equipping young people to become the future leaders of the country. Their aim is to develop young people spiritually, culturally and from a socio-economic perspective and to nurture and train them to lead the way to a better future for Burundi.
Glad’s House are based in Mombasa in Kenya and are sending nine players.
They work with the thousands of young people who live on the streets of the city helping them in the battle against the misuse of alcohol, drugs and a life of crime, supporting them in their struggle for survival. They want to help as many street children as possible to live normal lives and realise their potential.
I am torn between which team to support as Quadrant and, more recently, Progeny have been supporters of New Generation, but few know I was born and lived in Kenya so have an affinity for the country.
At Progeny, both as a business and as individuals, we are passionate about using our success as a catalyst for real change in the UK and around the world. Whatever the outcome of the FIFA World Cup, the opportunities provided by the Street Child World Cup for disadvantaged children all over the world are a victory we can all get on side with.
For more information on how to get involved in the Street Child World Cup, click here.