A team of nine girls from London are heading to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to represent England at the Street Child World Cup, which kicks off on Sunday 30th March 2014 - two months ahead of the FIFA World Cup.
The Street Child World Cup is not just about football, it is the only international conference of its kind giving street-connected children the platform to discuss the issues they face. Up to 250 children from 19 countries will take part, and for the first time there will be a separate girls and boys competition running alongside each other.
The Team England girls’ team will play against eight other teams of street-connected girls from countries including Brazil, The Philippines and South Africa. The Street Child World Cup conference will give these girls a platform to discuss the injustices and gender stereotypes street girls face and to demand change. In the last month, Save the Children has formed a partnership with Street Child World Cup to help bring the issue of street children to national and international attention.
John Wroe, Street Child World Cup CEO, said “The girls’ tournament is a statement of solidarity with street-effected girls across the world. Girls living or working on the streets are extremely vulnerable to abuse and are so often treated as less than human. Sport can play an important role in both empowering street girls and challenging the stigmas associated with them.”
Team England are sponsored by Deutsche Bank as part of its Born to Be youth engagement programme in partnership with StreetSmart, a charitable organisation that raises funds to tackle homelessness.
Colin Grassie, Deutsche Bank UK Chief Executive, said: “Helping young people reach their full potential is at the heart of our corporate citizenship agenda. We know many young people in care are less likely to achieve at school, with devastating effects on their future prospects for employment and social mobility. Through sponsoring Team England, we hope it can lead to greater opportunities for the girls and those they inspire along the way.”
Glenn Pougnet, CEO at StreetSmart commented: “Through our successful eight year partnership with Deutsche Bank we have helped hundreds of homeless people return back to independent living. Our support for Team England is an important opportunity to shine a light on the experience of young girls living in care in this country and the hurdles they have to overcome in order to make the most of their childhood and fulfil their potential.”
Sam, Team England Captain, agreed: “We want to raise awareness and challenge the stigma around children in care. Who else gets the opportunity to go to Brazil and take part in this?”
As part of their preparation for the event in March, the girls aged 14-17 from London will receive coaching from Chelsea Ladies’ and England player, Claire Rafferty, who is also a business analyst for Deutsche Bank. ‘Representing your country is one thing; doing it so that others can get a better life is priceless. I am amazed by the passion and energy the girls are giving to this tournament and am delighted to be part of it.’ In addition to helping the girls prepare for the trip, employees from Deutsche Bank’s women in business network will support the girls via mentoring, employment training and work experience post the Street Child World Cup.
With just days to go, their excitement is building about their first trip to Brazil.
“I have heard so much about Brazil and I can’t wait to go,” said team member Camille, “It will be great to meet all the other kids who have been through similar things to us.”
The team was recruited by New Horizons Youth Centre and Independent Futures, run by Islington Council. New Horizons Youth Centre helps young people to improve their life chances while its outreach team helps those on the streets to find accommodation, and access jobs skills and counselling. Independent Futures helps looked-after children to make the transition to adulthood. In a statement, New Horizons and Islington Council said: “We are excited to be working with SCWC; we feel sure it will be an inspirational experience for the young people involved and enable them to contribute to raising awareness around the world.”
“This is such a massive opportunity for us,” said Sam. “I think that taking part and meeting kids from all over the world will really help us to appreciate what we have got. We don’t all live with our parents but we do live in houses with people who care about us.”
For more information about Deutsche Bank's support of Team England click here
To follow the tournament click here