Downing Street, home to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and not usually known for its lively, raucous nature, was all fun and games this weekend. On Saturday, Downing Street played host for the kick-off of The Street Child World Cup event sponsored by Deloitte. The main tournament will take place in Durban, South Africa at the end of March. Street children from Brazil, India, Nicaragua, Philippines, South Africa, UK, Ukraine, Vietnam, Tanzania will come together to play football and highlight the shocking poverty they face on a daily basis.
London’s famous street was alive and kicking this weekend as former England and Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman dusted off his goalkeeping gloves to help save soccer balls as well as street children from the devastating conditions in which they live. Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva also attended yesterday’s launch and lent his support to the tournament. The Brazilian-born 26-year-old said: “Seeing young people here today enjoying the magic of football is what the game is all about and I feel honored to be supporting the event for street children taking place in South Africa.”
The March event will be hosted in South Africa by Durban-based street-child project Umthombo. It offers therapy to some of the world’s most vulnerable children through football, arts, education and even surfing.
Many other players including David Beckham, Sir Alex Ferguson and Theo Walcott have taken notice of the of this event and have lent their support. Even Archbishop Desmond Tutu has lent his voice, adding: “The Street Child World Cup demonstrates the tremendous potential of every single child, and especially street children, who are so often treated as less than human. I am proud that the first ever Street Child World Cup will take place in South Africa – and I urge all governments to guarantee the rights of this most marginalized group of their citizens to lives in which their promise is fulfilled.”
While it is easy, and fun, to get lost in the glitz and glam of the June World Cup, The Street Child World Cup is another tremendous event being held around the same time that leverages the pull and popularity of the sport to remind us of the very tough conditions in which much of the world lives…and how we can help.