New dawn for the street children footballers
In April 2014, the street children from Pakistan had made the nation proud by finishing third and beating our eastern neighbor in the Street Child Football World Cup held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Pakistan Child Football Team returned home with a bronze medal.
To honor the much-celebrated-street-footballers from Pakistan, Mr. Afredo Leoni, the Ambassador of Brazil to Pakistan, hosted a ceremony at the Embassy of Brazil
in Islamabad on May 19th 2014, as the 2014 FIFA World Cup draws near which will be held in June and July this year. It is the second time Brazil is hosting and the 20th FIFA World Cup overall.
Among the participants of this ceremony were all members of Pakistan football team, their coach Mr. Abdual Rashid, and representatives of the three Pakistani institutions who support the team: Mr. Naveed Hasan Khan (Chairman of Azad Foundation), Mr. Amjad Rasool (Director of Muslim Hands) and Mr. John Wroe, CEO of the NGO Street Child World Cup.
Also among the attendees were children from three institutions in Islamabad and Rawalpindi who lend a hand to the children in need: Mashal Model School, Lettuce Bee Kids and Rah-e-Amal; students of the Portuguese Language Course and the Capoeira (the traditional Brazilian wrestling sports) Course of the Embassy; Mr. Dan Dohrmann (Country Representative of UNICEF), Mr. Marc Saba (Country Representative of UNAIDS), Mr. David Skinner (Country Representative of Save the Children) and Ms. Nageen Hyatt (Director of Nomad Culture Centre).
As His Highness Alfredo Leoni delivered his welcome address, he indicated the importance of sports as a tool for social organizations and institutions to promote education and taking children out of the streets. He praised the young Pakistani footballers for their achievement in Brazil, who are going to be an inspiration for all the children in Pakistan.
He thanked the representatives of Azad Foundation, Muslim Hands, Mashal Model School, Luttuce Bee Kids and Rah-e-Amal for their presence, and praised the excellent work done by these institutions to help the children in need.
He then distributed shields to all the footballers, their coach, the Chairman of Azad Foundation and the Director of Muslim Hands, as well as prizes to the winners of the football goal competition, the activity which marked the beginning of the event.
This is the second time the Embassy of Brazil has hosted an event with Pakistani street children. The first time was in March/2013, when the Embassy brought to Pakistan the Brazilian music group “Patubate”, which uses recycled and garbage items as musical instruments.