Pictures courtesy of Street Child United Flickr and Emma Smith-Bodie
For two weeks in March, CAN’s Marketing & PR Executive Emma Smith-Bodie volunteered for a charity that focuses on getting children off the streets around the world. Emma spent her time working within the communications team, filming and editing videos and social content for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. On the occasion where she was helping as sound editor, Emma did manage to get a spot of sunburn so the air conditioned office was often a nice reprieve from the hot Rio sun!
The UK-based charity, Street Child United, uses major sporting events to bring global attention to the circumstances street children face on a daily basis and in the run up to these particular events. With two Street Child World Cups under their belt, it was time for the charity to tackle the next major event in the sporting calendar – the Olympic Games.
This year the Olympic Games are being held in Brazil, and so volunteers from the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, America and even New Zealand congregated in the city of Rio de Janeiro, in the favela community of Babilonia, to host the first ever Street Child Games. 9 countries participated, bringing young people aged between 15 and 20 who were formerly street children to Rio. The young people took part in beach games, drumming workshops, and capoeira classes as well as designing a mural and flags for their Games opening and closing ceremonies.
Through the week, they took part in the Street Child Games Congress, which culminated in the General Assembly on Friday 18th where the young people presented their Rio Resolution – their demands of the governments across the world to protect street children from violence and give them their rights as individuals.
The Street Child Games took place in the searing heat in Urca – the training bases for the Rio Olympic athletes, at the base of Sugar Loaf Mountain. Having lifted their voices loud for the General Assembly, the young people then took part in 6 events: 100m Hurdles, 100m Sprint, 400m, Long Jump, Shot Put, and 4x100m Relay. In true Street Child style, the relay had teams made up of young people from all different countries – girls from Egypt and India ran with boys from Argentina and Burundi.
The games drew to a close in a similar way to how they had started – with a megaphone, drums and raising their voices to shout “I am somebody”. Only now, the rest of the world was listening.
Find out more about the work Street Child United do.