Doha, 9 October 2022 - The Street Child World Cup (Doha 2022) kicked off at the Education City in Doha, with the participation of 28 teams representing 25 countries.
Held in partnership with Qatar Foundation, the Street Child World Cup 2022 features 15 boys’ teams and 13 girls’ teams, with 10 of the teams being represented by refugee or displaced children. Following the official draw, and after a few days of training, group stages will start on Tuesday, October 11, and culminate with the final games on Saturday, October 15.
Over the course of eight days, the teams will play in a football World Cup-style tournament, join art workshops, and participate in child-friendly congress sessions to shine a light on the adversities faced by vulnerable youth living in street situations worldwide.
John Wroe, co-founder and CEO of Street Child United, welcomed the teams at the opening address. "This is the World Cup for those that have been on the margins, on the edges, in the shadows. You are now center stage," he said.
"This is the World Cup for those that have faced stigma. We say to you, you are loved. For those who are constantly denied access or shooed away or even rounded up, we say, come to the front of the queue. You are important. For those that have just about given up on everyone and everything. I promise you that this is the World Cup of hope," he added.
The young people will also take part in the General Assembly, a platform where they can present their voices to the world and raise awareness about their circumstances. A formal document will be compiled at the assembly titled "The Qatar Commitment", which will be a collective pledge to help advance the lives of children living in street situations. Leaders of Street Child World Cup partner organizations will be invited to sign the pledge alongside representatives of the Street Child World Cup, including this year's participants and alumni, before it is shared digitally for the rest of the world to endorse.
The Qatar Commitment is one of a number of legacy initiatives focused on education and healthcare that will start at the Street Child World Cup, aimed at continuing to make positive change around the world in the months that follow the tournament.
Alexandra Chalat, Director of World Cup Legacy, Qatar Foundation, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Street Child World Cup 2022 and hosting it in Education City. We believe the World Cup is an amazing platform to bring people together and this event is doing just that ahead of the tournament: welcoming young people from all over the world who have overcome incredible adversity and become leaders in their community to Qatar to learn, be recognized, and work with students from our schools." "At QF, we are all about unlocking human potential and we know that Street Child World Cup offers that opportunity to the hundreds of youths that will participate. So, with this in mind, we want to encourage everyone to come down to Oxygen Park in Education City to watch the games and be inspired by these amazing players," she added.