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The second Street Child World Cup has officially kicked off as of March 28 where it first originated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

With the excitement surrounding the highly anticipated FIFA World Cup, the Street Child World Cup was set to precede FIFA.

The Street Child World Cup is an event made to focus on the plight of street children around the world while incorporating their love of soccer and arts to share their experiences with one another as well as bringing awareness to the public.

You may be asking yourself, what is a street child? The answer is as simple as the name sounds. A street child is a child forced to live a life on the streets doing whatever they can to survive with poverty more often than not being the heart of the problem.

Many street children are without homes or even families to go back to. Some have been torn away from their families during the outbreak of a war and others have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS.

There are also those children who are left to live a life on the streets as a means to provide for their family the best they can.

Warchild.org reports that the number of street children in the world is estimated to be over 100 million. To put this statistic in perspective, that is nearly one-third of the United States population.

The Street Child World Cup is more than just a soccer game where children around the world gather together. It is a global campaign to bring recognition to a marginalized youth and push for the protection of an easily overlooked group.

This 10-day event brings together teams of street children from up to 20 countries that will get the opportunity to interact with one another throughout the various workshops hosted.

In fact, rather than making the games the main focus, the campaign provides children with a creative outlet enabling them to express their plight through various workshops.

The workshops offer something for all of the participants ranging from technology based workshops, to the choir, photography, cooking, yoga, etc.

This campaign is being used to challenge the negative perceptions and treatment of street children around the world.

Street Child World Cup places the hardships that street children endure everyday at the forefront of the public consciousness by putting street children in the spotlight as media coverage and interest levels rise around the soccer games.

“Street Child World Cup is an initiative of UK registered charity Street Child United. The aim is to provide a platform for street children to be heard, to challenge negative stereotypes of street children and to promote the rights of street children.”

UNICEF reported that one billion children are deprived of at least one service essential to development and survival. Street children fall under this category all too well.

The Street Child World Cup gives the children a place to escape the dangers that have unfortunately become just another aspect of their lives.

 – Janelle Mills

Sources: Street Child World Cup (1), Street Child World Cup (2), War Child, The Borgen Project
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