Runners Up - and the Golden Boot award!
In May 2018, a month before the FIFA World Cup, three of New Generation's project leaders will be taking 9 boys aged 14-17 to Moscow to represent Burundi in the Street Child World Cup!
The journey started five years ago when New Gen applied to represent Burundi in the Street Child World Cup in Rio, Brazil in March 2014. They didn't have the money to pay for their flights - in fact the project could not pay its wages at the time. But Dieudonne, the CEO, believed that they had to leave Burundi to tell their story, because very few people even know where Burundi is, and even fewer visit it. The story unfolded....existing and new supporters gave generously to buy their tickets, and the team arrived elated in Rio...albeit exhausted and starving after a 36-hour journey because they had no travel money so had to survive on meagre airplane rations. And no football boots either....
The team stood out from the crowd of 230 former street-children - their behaviour was impeccable, they took part in the football, art and music with great enthusiasm and their wonderful team spirit carried them all the way to the boys final at a magnificent old soccer stadium where Brazil used to play 100 years ago. Sadly they lost 3-1 to neighbours Tanzania - but this time round Tanzania will be taking a girls team, so a new younger team of Burundi boys will be hoping to go one better than their elders.
New Gen has already raised the money it needs to get to Moscow and 25 boys are in training awaiting selection for the team. At the Moscow Street Child World Cup there will be 12 boys teams and 12 girls teams representing 22 countries - altogether 220 former street-children and orphans. A final selection of 9 boys from New Generation to play in the 7-a-side tournament will be made in a week or so. These boys will then be trained by a professional coach, and will receive English lessons and some lessons about Russia. By a wonderful co-incidence, New Gen's new computer trainer spent 6 years in Moscow learning the language and IT, so he will be passing on his local knowledge and a few key phrases.
"More than a Game" is the motto of organisers Street Child United - the purpose of the event is to attract the global media attention with a heartwarming football story in the host nation just before the World Cup - and then to use this publicity as a platform for a global campaign that "no child should have to live on the streets".
If you are wondering why New Gen is spending money on flights to Moscow, and not just caring for street children... one of the main reasons is because after Rio the support of people who heard about New Gen through the Street Child World Cup has transformed the finances of the charity, and with it the lives of hundreds of children.
The event is 11th-17th May, and we would be delighted to see you if you would like to come to Moscow for a few days. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details. If you can't, then do follow the event on Street Child United's youtube channel, facebook or Goal.com. (There will be 60 volunteers helping run the SCWC, and SC is looking for a few more people with Communications expertise if you fancy being there for the whole event).
Oh, and did we forget to say? The final on 17th May is probably going to take place on a specially constructed pitch at Red Square.....
Burundi score goal in 2014 SCWC
Burundi Celebrate Goal!