David Pearson, Sue Wald and a representative from ADCS on the Street Child Cricket World Cup
On the 7th May 2019, Lords, the Home of Cricket, had a Cricket World Cup like no other which we had the privilege to be part of:
8 teams of street connected children from around the world took over the main pitch, Pavilion and Tavern Stand to play the Finals of the first every Street Child Cricket World Cup. Spectators arrived from local primary schools, celebrities, policy makers, Embassy staff and supporters of the teams and charities who support them from India, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Nepal, Mauritius, Jamaica and England.
The event was hosted by UK Charity Street Child United whose goal is to use sporting events to challenge the stigma and discrimination children face to give young street connected children a voice to demand their rights of a legal identity, protection from abuse and a right to education. It took months to secure birth registration documents, passports, visa’s and sponsorship to get all eight teams to Cambridge and London or the tournament.
The day had all the drama you expect from a day at Lords where the MCC treated players and supporters like any other first class fixture.
England beat Tanzania in the semi-final in a Super Over after scores were level after 7 overs setting up an England – India South Final with India South winning the tournament hitting a final 6. In fact there were probably as many sixes in the day as at an India Premier League game…
Nothing, not even the India South cricket skills could beat the undoubted highlight of the day; the General Assembly.
Following the assembly’s at the previous Street Child Football World Cups in South Africa, Rio and Moscow, this General Assembly showed street connected children demanding their rights for birth registration, access to education at any age and protection from sexual and criminal exploitation. Each team spend 2 ½ days preparing their story and demands alongside arts, much dancing , singing, laughter and tears expertly facilitated by StreetInvest and the Consortium for Street Children.
You may think how does this relate to the work of ADASS and ADCS. The contribution from Team England (a group of young people from Bradford and London supported by Centrepoint) highlighted access to mental health services and suicide prevention, education programmes and protection from exploitation. These were the same themes as young people identified in Jamaica and Mauritius. In the words of Team England
“We are often stereotyped –people associate us with gangs, drugs and violence. We are so much more than this. We demand from the government more funding for mental health awareness and support, educational programmes …a platform for our voice. Will you listen?
Each team is now returning home and Street Child United and the individual organisations continue to work alongside young people to get the rights they all deserve including here in the UK
The quote of the day though belonged to Monisha, Team India which is aimed at all of us adults, whichever country we live or work in.
If you respect us, you will listen to us. It you listen to us, you will protect us. Please protect us.