Homeless World Cup Foundation

The Homeless World Cup uses football to help improve the lives of homeless people around the world. We stimulate the creation of international football programmes in every continent. We organise an annual world class football tournament Homeless World Cup in a major global city to promote and celebrate the work of our International Partners.
Apr 28, 2015

Player's Story: Jackline, Kenya

Jackline working in her community in Kenya
Jackline working in her community in Kenya

Jackline captained the Kenyan team at the Paris 2011 Homeless World Cup. She led her team to victory and returned to Kenya with more than just a first-place trophy. She had the determination and skills to change her life around and inspire others to do the same.

Things were not always bright for Jackline. Before Paris, Jackline and her two children were homeless and had no support. “Being a single mother with two kids and at the same time homeless was a challenge” Jackline remembers, “the worst thing was that there were no jobs for people with no education, like me.”

Jackline heard about the Kenya Homeless Street Soccer Association (KHSSA) – the Homeless World Cup national partner in Kenya – and decided to join their programme soon after.

She is very grateful that within that programme came a chance to change her life: “I was asked to play with the Kenyan national team at the Homeless World Cup and also got an opportunity to go back to school after winning a scholarship award.”

After finishing school, Jackline completed a coaching training programme and a community empowerment programme. She now works at a youth academy where she gets to inspire young girls by coaching their football team. “I now earn a salary, which has enabled me to take my kids to school. I also live in a better place.”

Jackline has even started her own initiative to offer young girls free hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary towels, while teaching them about reproductive health, contraception, and sexual violence awareness.

“I feel that my story has really given hope to the hopeless and given a new turn of life for so many girls in the community.”

Jackline’s work promotes the messages of inclusion and awareness that are at the core of the Homeless World Cup. Hopefully her work will continue to help many young girls and prevent them from facing the horrible conditions Jackline once had to endure.

Mar 24, 2015

Player's Story: Orthodoxia, Greece

Orthodoxia Skoura, 22
Orthodoxia Skoura, 22

With a passion for video games and the Beautiful Game, Orthodoxia Skoura, 22, fights gender stereotypes and becomes the first female player to be selected for the Greek Homeless World Cup Team.

When Orthodoxia finished secondary school, she wanted to study computer programming and web and game design. Her mother, however, wouldn’t allow it, and this led to a serious fight. Eventually, Orthodoxia left home.

“Having no other option, I went to live with my grandmother” she says. “At the same time, I was trying to find a job to pay for my studies, which is not an easy task in Greece.”

Orthodoxia became a vendor of the Greek street paper, Shedia, when she failed to find work due to the economic situation. Living on a small income and the limited support her grandmother could offer, she tried to save money to pay her tuition fees.

As a street paper vendor, she was eligible to join the Greek Homeless Football team organised by Diogenes NGO. She was the only woman on the team, but she persevered and attended the training sessions every week. Her dedication paid off, and she was selected to represent Greece at the Poznan Homeless World Cup in 2013: “This was an experience I will never forget. I was the first girl ever to be selected in a Greek team that took part in the Homeless World Cup.”

Participating at the Homeless World Cup fuelled Orthodoxia’s ambition even more, and upon her return from Poznan, she enrolled in the programming and web and game design course she had always wanted to study. She says she “was lucky to find a public school that offered that course”.

“I am in the last semester of my course at the moment. One of my teachers is trying to help me get a scholarship, because my grades are very good. My dream is to make my own video games, and I am glad to have started to design my first ideas.”

Orthodoxia already helps her professors with research projects and hopes to get a job in her field once she graduates. She is still a street paper vendor, though her time is now very limited because of her studies.

She also continues to attend the Diogenes NGO training sessions regularly. Unfortunately, an injury prevented her from playing for several months, though she returned to the pitch as soon as she recovered.

With all that football has given her, she is keen to inspire others to take up the sport: “I try to tell my classmates to come and play in our football team, but the girls don’t like football, and they keep telling me that I should not continue to be in a team with guys. I hope I will persuade them!”

Orthodoxia is still living with her grandmother, but she hopes she will be able to rent a small flat when she gets her first job.

Jan 21, 2015

Player's Profile: James, Ireland

Talented goalie James Traynor represented Ireland at the Homeless World Cup 2014, in Chile. A warm, confident 39-year-old, it is hard to imagine the awkward, insecure child that he was or the troubled addict he became. That he is willing to share his intensely personal journey in order to help others who may be experiencing similar difficulties, is an indication of how much his life has changed in recent years.

From Ballyfermot, James’ mother died when he was five, leaving a void in the family—and in his life—that he wouldn’t understand fully until decades later. Bullied by his peers, James was unsure of his place in the world. At 15, he dropped out of school, ran away from home, ending up in the city centre living between squats and homeless shelters.

At the age of 19, a violent incident in a squat culminated in a seven year jail sentence for James. He admits that walking through those prison gates for the first time was petrifying, but acknowledges he hadn’t learned from his mistakes.

After his release in 2000, James tried to live with his family and settle into “normal” society. Moving in with his grandfather offered a period of stability. “I even got a job,” he smiles. Inwardly he was suffering. “I used to make my granddad’s dinner and then go up to my room to smoke dope. I could do my job, meet my responsibilities, but I was a train wreck.” The death of his beloved granddad led him back into homelessness and heroin.

While attending Pathways’ service for ex-prisoners, he was advised to go to Coolmine. “I cried when I was told I had been accepted.” In Coolmine, he began to understand his behaviour. “There was a lot of talking, and, I admit, I broke down like a baby. I learned about addiction, wheel of addiction, circle of change, and how to look out for danger spots, behaviours that lead you to repeat addiction.”

Moving on from a safe environment like Coolmine is difficult. “I still didn’t know how to live alone, have relationships. I spent some years like that, with this cloud hanging over me.” It was the Spellman Centre in Ringsend that helped James come to terms with himself. “It took three years, but I became more socialised, more involved,” he says.

He also started playing football again, leading to the street soccer league, and the Homeless World Cup. “I got back into football slowly and began to feel I was part of something. I started to believe in myself, understand myself as a person because I’d been living my life as if it was all about me,” he says.

James describes taking part in the Homeless World Cup as a breath-taking experience and agrees that it gives participants pride and a sense of achievement that is hard to match. “Being out there, representing your country, wearing that jersey, seeing that Irish flag, it’s such a great honour,” he smiles. “It gives you such a feeling of pride.”

While life may not be perfect, James can look towards a future he would once never have envisioned. Living in a flat in Dublin (with his gorgeous dog Benji) he facilitates at meetings, gives talks in prison about his experiences, and is also planning on doing a counselling course in order to turn those negatives into something positive. He also hopes to remain involved in the street leagues and coach the next batch of players to Homeless World Cup glory. “Now I think less on myself than others,” he smiles. “I also offer a listening ear now and then.”

donate now:

Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $500
    give
  • $10,000
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $500
    each month
    give
  • $10,000
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?