Street Child World Cup
Away from a life of drugs, crime, murder and poverty, playing sports offers children who live on the streets a chance to focus on a more pleasurable challenge. Team Pakistan’s Coach, Rashid, called football “a poor mans sport” because in just Rs.200 ($2) 22 kids can stay occupied for hours and once they are hooked on the game, a sense of healthy competition and drive to improve their play quenches the desire to indulge in drugs and other bad influences.
This has pretty much been the approach and thinking of many organizations that work to protect and rehabilitate street children all around the world.
The Street Child World Cup started in 2010 in association with Save the Children and is a global movement for street children to receive the protection and opportunities that all children are entitled to and after a lot of lobbying, this is the first time that Pakistan will be sending a team to compete.
A local NGO, Azad Foundation, is responsible for facilitating this event and have partnered up with a number of credible associations, including Unicef, to ensure this dream for Pakistan’s street children becomes a reality. Azad Foundation held open trials and a team of 9 children were selected by the coaches to train in a camp at Sharafi Goth Stadium in Karachi.
When I asked the children what their reaction was when they were told they would be going to Rio, their Captain/Goal Keeper said, “We thought they were joking with us.”