Brazil street kids earn their spurs on London trip
An unlikely mix: footballers, politicians, a bishop and seven street children from Brazil. The Road to Rio for the 2014 Street Child World Cup starts here…
Premier League superstars and the Bishop of London were the main attractions for a teenage Brazilian football team during their UK visit to promote the 2014 Street Child World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.
The seven former street kids from São Paulo – who played in the inaugural tournament in South Africa two years ago – spent ten days in the UK raising awareness of the event, which is supported by BMS World Mission.
The team watched Tottenham Hotspur in training and then met Spurs’ players such as their fellow countryman Sandro (pictured left).
Rt Rev Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, was “thrilled” to meet up with the team at St Paul’s Cathedral.
“I heard about grim experiences in early life and the power of support and friendship to open up new hope and aspirations,” said Bishop Richard. “Football can bring the world together and transform lives.”
The UK experience also included a visit to the Houses of Parliament to mark the International Day for Street Children (pictured below), a reception at the Brazilian Embassy and a series of art workshops in the South Bank.
More than a game
The Street Child World Cup was set up by BMS partner Amos Trust, a Christian human rights charity based in London, and is organised jointly with Action for Brazil’s Children and Momentum Arts.
It is a global campaign for street children to get the protection and opportunities that all children are entitled to.
During the 2010 event in South Africa, the Durban Declaration was produced: a manifesto for street children presented to the UN Committee on Human Rights and to governments across the world.
Andrew Webb, Street Child World Cup Chief Executive says, “This is more than a game. No child should have to live on the streets. Through football and art and a truly unique international event, we aim to ensure that the voices of street children are heard."
The road to Rio is now underway as the 2014 Street Child World Cup moves to Brazil – the exact same venue as the FIFA World Cup.
Teams of street children from up to 20 countries will take part in a football tournament that will draw on a network of projects that campaign for the rights of street children worldwide.
Looking forward to 2014, Brazil team member Rodrigo José Inácio said: “I really want to see all the street children from Brazil to learn like we have learned and to have the opportunity to change like I have changed.”
Photo credits: All Stefano Cagnoni/Street Child World Cup, except grafitti: King ADZBack