By Olivia Rae
On May 7th 2019 the Street Child United street child cricket world cup finals day was held at Lords. This event brought together street connected children from 8 countries to the Home of cricket. A task that was in no way easy but one that truly has changed the lives of each player involved, giving them not only an opportunity to play sport for their country but a voice and an identity.
The street child united assembly after the tournament saw the players themselves demand rights for all street-connected children across the world. It was more than a cricket world cup; it was a platform and a vehicle for the wider goals of this incredible organisation and the children it seeks to protect.
A representative from the winning team India South so simply, but powerfully, stated
“If you respect us you will listen to us. If you listen to us, you will protect us.”
I was fortunate enough to be invited along to the event and play in an all stars team made up of celebrities from various fields. They were all truly amazing people to spend the day with and there was a real sense of enjoyment and pride to be there for such an incredible cause. It was however the children who are all stars! The children are role models and we were there to support them in their moment in the spotlight. Everything about how they approached the tournament was an exceptional example of how to participate in sport. With respect for your teammates and the opposition, enthusiasm, fair play, passion, commitment and pride.
Also, which is something that I know I can sometimes forget, the children reminded me that there is a life beyond sport that puts the result of the games themselves in perspective; that sport is simply so much more than a game.
It’s not the victories within the game that really matter, it the victories outside. The victory of receiving of a birth certificate for the first time, the response of governments to the demands of these children and the listening ear of the world surrounding them.
Next time we step out on the pitch, arena, pool, course, court (or wherever our sporting platform is) let’s see each game as a blessing and, whatever the result, an opportunity. An opportunity to inspire others and enable change.