We are proud to announce that nine former street children have been selected to participate in the Street Child World Cup being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 27th March to 6th April 2014. Over 200 children will participate in this tournament with 16 boys’ and eight girls’ teams from 20 countries across five continents. We are proud to announce that Pakistan will be participating in this tournament for the very first time.
This has become possible with the efforts of Azad Foundation, a non-profit organisation working with street children. Other partners that have supported this initiative are Ministry of Social Welfare, UNICEF Pakistan and The British Council.
The children will not only be playing football but will also be part of a unique international conference that aims to challenge the negative perceptions and attitudes towards street children around the world. This platform will also be used to highlight the need for child protection policy and its implementation, as well as, a relevant plan of action for street children in future.
The partners have come together not only to provide these children with this exposure and opportunity but also to establish a status of Team Pakistan as champions of all street children. We want to facilitate the process of making stars of those with difficult beginnings and have them represent their peers at different national and International platforms. This is just the beginning.
The street child world cup is a global movement for realisation of rights of street children to protection and opportunities that all children are entitled to. The tournament is designed to take place just before the FIFA world cup 2014.
The nine former rehabilitated and reunified street children participating in the Street World Cup from Pakistan are between 14-16 years of age and are from different ethnicities and geographical areas.
The Criteria of selection was that the children should be rehabilitated and reintegrated street children who are not living and /or working on the streets anymore. Two hundred children identified by the partners were invited to selection trials on 2nd January 2014 and were assessed on psychosocial, communication, interpersonal and football skills.
Twenty –two children were shortlisted and they took part in a week-long selection camp out of which nine have been selected for the tournament based on their performance on the pitch. Azad Foundation, SEHER (Quetta), Aman Foundation and Karachi United Football Foundation have played an important role in sending the selected children forward.
The young champions will be departing for Brazil on the 27th of March 2014 from Karachi but can currently be reached at the Korangi Baloch Football Stadium, Sharafi Goth Road, near Singer Chowrangi, where expert coaches are conducting their training camp until the 20th of March.
Camp Timings are from 8 am – 10 am and from 5.45 pm – 7.00 pm. (Contact Syed M. Ali Bilgrami of Azad Foundation +92-3312605273)
Other countries that are participating in the Street Child World Cup are El Salvador, USA, Zimbabwe, Argentina, England, Mozambique, Nicaragua, South Africa, Burundi, Indonesia, India, Liberia, Brazil, Egypt, Mauritius, Kenya, Tanzania and the Philippines.
We would request the media to play its role in providing coverage and promoting the young champions of Pakistan so we may have the nation behind them. Please visit the training camps to highlight this initiative. We will also be providing footages from the actual tournament in Brazil to news organizations.