With only 6 days to go before the official start of the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup we would like to look at the individual stories of the players taking part in the event!
Remember there will be hundreds more players and stories that we will share with you all during the competition.
Admir, Bosnia & Herzegovina:
Admir was born in 1992 when the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina just began. One year later, as a baby, he was left orphan due to an aggressor’s grenade killing his mother. Soon after, he was banished from his home town, Kamenica. He found shelter in a Refugee Centre in Mihatovici near Tuzla where he still currently lives. He survives by digging coal illegally and collecting secondary goods. He didn’t imagine not even in his wildest dreams that one day he would have the honour to defend his country at an international competition.
After spending some time in jail, he was finally freed last winter. However, short after his return, his wife left their home and moved abroad. He then lost their flat and ended up on the streets. He likes the football trainings at they give him something else to focus on.
Rok is a young refugee from Southern Sudan who hails from the Dandenong Community Street Soccer Program in Melbourne. The Dandenong program is popular among refugees and Rok is considered a leader at both the Community Street Soccer Program and within his community.
Glandell, South Africa:
At 43 years old, Glandell is the oldest player in the time and has lived on the streets for the last two months. He has now been clean from drugs for a month.
To follow the tournament online and to read more players' stories, visit our website www.homelessworldcup.org
or follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
The Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup will take place in Poland from August 10th to August 18th but teams taking part are already getting ready. From all around the world, Homeless World Cup's partners are already selecting the players that will represent their countries and training hard. Here are a few examples of what they are doing:
League of Change in Indonesia
The League of Change is a National Street Football Tournament for disadvantaged communities in Indonesia. Each men’s team had to include four players with AIDS and four players from the urban poor, while each women’s team hadto include four players with AIDS or from the urban poor. The remaining players were members of the general public.This year's tournament involved women for the first time bringing all together 13 teams from 9 major provinces in Indonesia. It also served as a selection to pick Indonesian players to play at the 2013 Homeless World Cup in Poznan, Poland and took place between March 10th to 12th.
Team Croatia, already selected and getting ready!
The preparations for the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup have started for Croatia, in the small town of Novi Vinodolski near Rijeka. This year's team is made of players from Rijeka, Zadar, Zagreb and Split. In April, the team will also travel to Doboj, Bosnia & Herzegovina where they will be hosted by Homeless World Cup's partner Emmaus IFS to play in a tournament with the Bosnian, Austrian and Slovenian national teams.
Les Bleus getting ready in France
The Tournoi de la Solidarité (Solidarity Tournament) will be the opportunity to select the players that will take part in the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup. Many organisations from all corners of the country have been invited to send players, men or women, to take part in this one day event. Collectif La Boussole, the Homeless World Cup's official partner in France, is expecting around 300 players at the end of April.
For more information on how the other teams are getting ready, please visit www.homelessworldcup.org or follow us on Facebook here.
Do you want to volunteer at the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup? We are currently looking for a maximum of 15 volunteers to join us during the international tournament in Poznan, Poland.
From August 10th to August 18th, the Poznan 2013 Homeless World Cup will take place at Lake Malta in Poznan, Poland.
To support the Homeless World Cup team, we are looking for a maximum of 15 dedicated volunteers to help in three different fields: Sports, Media/Social Media and Logistics.
At the Mexico City 2012 Homeless World Cup, International Volunteers were an essential part of the event team and made the tournament a great success. Not only did they help in the various departments but also shared great moments with the players, outside the pitch and during outside activities.
Grecia Garcia, who already volunteered several times at the Homeless World Cup annual tournament, says: “It has been a wonderful experience volunteering for the Homeless World Cup and I can honestly say it has changed my life."
For every volunteer that take part in the programme, we ask him/her to fundraise prior to the event.
All monies raised will go directly to the charitable work of the Homeless World Cup Foundation.
If you think this is an adventure for you, please take a look at the complete guide to the Homeless World Cup International Volunteering Programme here.
We are accepting applications until March 1st only, so get yours in quickly!
The Homeless World Cup has a real impact in the lives of thousands of homeless people all year-long. Meet a few players for whom the motto "A ball can change the world" became a reality!
Always smiling and joking, Lukhanyo ‘Lukes’ Mjoka is much loved by the children he works with and respected by those who work with him. To meet him you would never guess that he is a reformed gangster, alcoholic and drug addict. Lukes personal journey has taken him from the poverty stricken townships around Cape Town to living on the streets of the Central Business District and then through his love of football to working as a volunteer with Oasis, a community development organisation working in Grassy Park and Homeless World Cup's partner in South Africa.
As a young boy, Lukes moved with his mother from the poor and rural Eastern Cape to the more prosperous Western Cape, but Lukes remembers very little about his mother as she spent long periods working away on farms. “I don’t remember even saying the word mommy” he said. Lukes’ grandmother, Marhadebe, looked after him, running a shebeen to make ends meet.
Lukes didn't attend school, but developed social skills and learned to count by interacting with the customers. His grandma would say that he was intelligent and there was no need for him to go to school. One day when on break he wandered down to the local train station, that day everything changed. On one of the platforms, Lukes discovered a wallet, which he showed to two older men. The two men took the wallet saying there is nothing of value in it, then told Lukes he should get on the train with them and come begging. Lukes was intrigued and so got on the train with the two men, a journey that was to take him to a life of the streets.
The train took Lukes from Khayelitsha to Mitchell’s Plain where his new acquaintances showed him how to beg for money, something that he quickly got the hang of. From October 1994 to January 1995, only nine years of age, Lukes slept each night rough on the streets. Grandma Marhadebe did not know if he was dead or alive. Eventually the men decided that Lukes was of no further value to them and dropped him off at a shelter called the Homestead.
Lukes stayed at the shelter and attended school quickly excelling and moving up through the grades. Lukes found that there was little to do at weekends and so he drifted back to the streets to beg and sleep, returning to the shelter from Monday to Friday. As Lukes grew older he left the Homestead in city centre and moved back to Khayelitsha in time to start High School.
Turning to drugs and crime
In 2003, Lukes' mother past away and he decided to go and live with his sisters, but the shack in which they lived in was not big enough for one, let alone two or more, so it was hard living with his sisters in such cramped conditions. Lukes eventually got his own shack which gave him and his sisters some space, but it was also to become another dark turning point in his life. Once his friends knew that Lukes had his own place they abused their friendship by using his home as a place to stash guns or drugs.
Lukes tried to stay as clear as he could from any illegal activity. He studied and passed a two year catering qualification and afterwards found himself a full time job. Back in his shack though friends would regularly stop by and bring alcohol with them. Lukes started to drink and was soon drinking heavily! "The drinking turned to girls, from girls we turned to guns and from guns turned to robbery”. Lukes lost his job and needing to make money was drawn by his friends into a life of crime. He now regrets this part of his life and says he did not like robbing people, but it was a means of survival. During this time Lukes witnessed several shootings.
Lukes started by abusing alcohol and had become a smoker, soon though he was smoking marijuana and taking pills. Next he was introduced to the highly addictive crystal meth or Tik as it is known locally. Lukes continued to smoke Tik for about three month before he decided that he needed to sell it as well.
Months later Lukes went to a known suppliers house far from his home and purchased 4kg of Tik. He was stopped by the police who searched him and found the drugs. The police confiscated the drugs without charge and then drove him to the train station where they put him on a train for Khayelitsha. This was one of two moments in Lukes' life where he believes that God intervened and saved him.
Turning life around
Back home in Khayelitsha, Lukes decided it was time to sort himself out and leave crime behind. The incident with the police affected Lukes and he knew it was time to think more positively about his life. Around the same time he bumped into a childhood friend called Tools, who told Lukes that he was volunteering with the Homeless Street Soccer Team. Lukes liked football so this was something that interested him. Tools informed Lukes of trials that were being held for the South African Homeless World Cup Team and Lukes decided this was something that he should try out for.
Soon afterwards, a close friend of Lukes called Thobela was shot in the spine leaving him paralyzed. This happened one night when Thobela was out with friends who were members of a gang that Lukes had been associated in the past, but was staying away from. Thobela became depressed and became dependent on drugs that lead to his death. The bullet may not have killed him, but it eventually claimed his life. This experience impacted on Lukes who decided he needed to focus hard on the soccer trials and get away from the violence and drugs. He found it hard to completely give up his addiction but he made himself a promise that if he could get onto the SA Homeless World Cup Team he would give up the drugs completely.
Lukes made it into the top 8 and was selected as Captain on the squad to fly out to Brazil for the Homeless World Cup. This gave Lukes the confidence and inspiration to turn his back on drugs and alcohol. Reflecting back on his past he looked at himself and said "if I can achieve this then others can too". After his return from Brazil, Lukes went to live and work at the Oasis Project in Grassy Park. He now goes into schools and teach both soccer and life skills to children as well as working on the SA Homeless Street Soccer programme.
Since traveling to Brazil Lukes has also been to Paris and to Mexico this year with the Homeless World Cup Team. His visit to Brazil inspired him and his dream is to open an foundation similar to Oasis there with a friend in Rio de Janeiro.
Lukes story shows that it does not matter how difficult your life circumstances are. With a positive attitude you can overcome the challenges life throws at you. If you commit yourself you can truly make something of yourself and a difference in the life's of others. From the township of Khayelitsha to the hills of Rio! Lukhanyo Lukes Mjoka is someone born from poverty destined to make a great impact on the life's of others.
The Homeless World Cup latest annual tournament took place from October 6th to October 14th in the Mexican capital and saw players from more than 50 countries compete in this once in a lifetime event. You can find tons of pictures and videos about the tournament here.
For all these men and women from Mexico, Indonesia, England, Switzerland or any other participating country these few days will make a massive difference. Many will go home and find their way back into society: go back to school, find a job, stay involved in their national street football programmes or simply unite with their families again.
But the legacy does not stop here; Daniel Copto, manager of the Mexico Homeless World Cup teams, talks of his hope that the recent tournament will create a lasting impact for homelessness in Mexico.
Homelessness in Mexico City
Many "treatment centres" for addicts use outdated and sometimes cruel methods and Daniel's dream is to create a place where the victims of drugs and the homeless are treated as human beings, as part of his football-based programme.
As young men kicked a ball around in a paved area near Hidalgo metro station, some of them already high on drugs just after dawn, he talked about how he started the programme five years ago, building trust with young men destroyed by sniffing glue.
Many of them have been hanging around here for up to 10 years and it's amazing they have managed to survive. "It's a long time to die," said Daniel.
Empowerment through football
The programme has steadily grown through the years. Today, there are over 7,000 people coming along every week to play football, in various locations nationwide. But even though he can feel proud of his achievements so far, Daniel is more concerned about the future - and the hundreds of thousands of "invisible" people who have no identity papers and are therefore excluded from basic public services, as well as the addicts and people escaping from violence and crime. The poorest of the poor.
"As far as the authorities are concerned, these people do not exist," said Daniel. Since he returned to Mexico five years ago from Canada to set up the programme, Daniel has been trying to "change the culture" - how addicts are treated. "These people feel like a piece of s**t," said Daniel. "And you have to tell them they are not a piece of s**t, so they can do whatever it takes to get better."
"We must build trust," he said. "Empower them."
Then as he kicks a ball back to one of the guys playing football, Daniel sums up his approach in one word:
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