Day 518: Street Child World Cup

The Street Child World Cup is a global movement for street children to receive the protection and opportunities that all children are entitled to. Ahead of each FIFA World Cup, they unite street children from across five continents to play football and unite in a unique international conference. Together through football, art and campaigning their aim is to challenge the negative perceptions and treatment of street children around the world. - Wikipedia

The local newspaper brought this Street Child World Cup to my attention today for the first time. According to Wiki and the paper, the purpose of this event is to raise awareness and decrease discrimination and negative views against street children. There is also a vague reference to promoting the rights of street children, but no specifics.

The official website does not contain much other information: Here is an extract from their FAQ page:

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.

I find it rather strange that there is no mention anywhere of changing the lives of children living on the streets in any real way. Over the decades it has become clear that organisations like the UN and their related laws and initiatives are essentially impotent, so waving this world cup for street children around like a banner with the support of the UN means nothing when it comes to implementing any real change.

This whole thing is pretty typical of our current approach to global issues: make it a big issue in the media, open a bunch of "charitable organisations", raise a bunch of money and last, but not least, do nothing to actually address the cause of the problem, so ensuring that all that lovely money coming in from donations and all of the good press received by the corporate supporters lives on.

This approach is similar to what magicians and illusionists do: create a distraction over here so that no one pays attention to what's really going on over there. Evidently there are some people who are master illusionists, especially since no one even realises that that is what they are.


  1. I'd rather see children play or engaged into sports than seat around the house playing on their gadgets.
    2014 FIFA World Cup Bet


Post a Comment