22nd May 2018
Yesterday teams from around the world took part in the finals of the Streetchild World Cup at Lords Cricket Ground, London. Wild Frontiers were delighted to support our friends and charity partners the Hope Foundation in bringing a team from North India to the UK for the tournament.
Prior to this tournament, many of the teenagers, who live within Hope’s care in Kolkata, didn’t even have birth certificates, never mind passports or visas. Wild Frontiers was delighted to help to fund the Team North India players to obtain birth certificates and passports and travel to London to participate in the finals at Lords, alongside teams from Bangladesh, Tanzania, Mauritius, Nepal, the West Indies, England and South India.
Obtaining birth certificates was just the first step towards recognising that these children are people not just statistics – as the slogan of the Street Child World Cup goes, #IAmSomebody. They also achieved that through participating in a tournament at the home of cricket, in front of a crowd of cricket fans and supporters. As Team North India captain Tarak (below, left) put it, “when I’m playing cricket I no longer feel like a street child, I feel like an athlete.”
In the cricket action itself, Team North India narrowly missed out on making the semi finals, but managed to beat Team Nepal with some fantastic batting and some wonderful bowling and fielding, finishing 5th out of the 8 teams participating. But it was a pleasure to witness the confidence of some truly inspirational cricketers, who far from being intimidated by playing cricket on the world's biggest stage, rose to the occasion like they were born to do it. In doing so they helped raise the profile of millions of other children sharing their plight. As Monisha from Team South India said, "If you respect us, you will listen to us, if you listen to us you will protect us. Please protect us!"
That wasn’t the end of their involvement though, as before the final itself, team captain Tarak got to ring Lords’ famed five-minute bell, whilst star batter Anjali read out the Street Child’s World Cup charter. Team South India (below) then proceeded to do India proud and win a close and hard-fought game against England, which was worthy of any final at Lords.
The teams fly back today after a week in which they've bonded with other teenagers from around the world, been on the London Eye and explored the Tower of London, and had a memorable day playing cricket at Lords. More importantly they've raised awareness of the plight of children like them, gained confidence through taking part in a sporting event in another country, discovered a world outside their harsh surroundings, and proven that #IAmSomebody. As the Founder of Street Child United, John Wroe put it, "If you change the way street children are seen, we can begin to change the way that street children are treated." This event did that, and then some.
Meet some of Team North India here https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/en_GB/community/blog/post/from-the-streets-of-kolkata-to-lords
Find out more about the Hope Foundation's amazing work here https://www.thehopefoundation.org.uk/