Passport to play: the teams arrive in Chennai
19 teams from 13 countries cross the boundary to Chennai, India to a warm welcome from the Street Child United volunteers.
And so it begins. The 2023 Street Child United Cricket World Cup event is about to commence as 19 teams from 13 countries have arrived at the Savera Hotel in Chennai, India. From the Mexican team making the almost 10,000 mile pilgrimage across the Pacific Ocean to Chennai, to our neighbouring Indian teams from Delhi and Mumbai – the Street Child Cricket World Cup is a truly global event.
For some of the participating teams, their journey to Chennai was the first time out of their home country. One of our representatives from Mauritius travelled on their first ever flight and whilst it was scary at times, they enjoyed the experience very much and it made their trip even more exciting.
Team Mauritius’ journey took 27 hours in total, starting with a six hour flight to Mumbai before boarding the ‘I am Somebody Express’ train with fellow teams for 21 hours where they were entertained with drawing, dancing and making new friends. Whilst the purpose of the Street Child Cricket World Cup is to give each child their own identity, it is building connections and friendships with other street-connected young people from all over the world that creates lasting memories.
Team Uganda shared that they’re so excited to be here they can’t find the words to explain it! They added that they’re especially enjoying the Indian food and have been talking the talk about their ‘all-rounder’ cricket skills that they can’t wait to show off.
The first day has been all about settling in and meeting each other, but there’s plenty of excitement to come – with the highly anticipated cricket group draw taking place tomorrow where they’ll find out their first opponents ahead of the group stages beginning on Monday.
And cricket isn’t all the young people are looking forward to – the creative art sessions give them an opportunity to try their hand at Rangoli, dancing and drumming, exploring the themes of identity and self-expression.
Street Child United’s John Wroe welcomed Nawab. Asif Ali, Dewan to the Prince of Arcot and Oliver Ballhatchet MBE, British Deputy High Commissioner, Chennai to the Savera Hotel to discuss this special event with local Chennai media and to give the street children taking part a platform to tell their stories. We also heard from two of SCU’s young leaders, Anjali and Millie who first became involved with SCU when they travelled to the inaugural Street Child Cricket World Cup in the UK, with the finals hosted at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. They spoke about how they have overcome challenges such as not being able to obtain a passport to now proudly studying for their university degrees – a true success story.
Now that all of the teams are under one roof, the journey has begun. Over the next week, the young people will grow in confidence, learning about themselves, others and shaping their identity – all through the joy of cricket.