Street Child United, how it all began…

June 7, 2024

Street Child United was founded in 2009 by our CEO John Wroe following a life-changing encounter in South Africa. There, John met a boy named Andile, who explained

‘When people see us by the side of the street, they say that we are street boys. But when they see us play football, they will say that we are not the street boys. They will see say that we are people like them.’ 

Realising the power of football to create a sense of empowerment and belonging, John set up the first ever Street Child World Cup in Durban, South Africa, in 2010. This initiative brought together teams of street-connected children from various countries to play football, share their stories, and call for their rights. And so, Street Child United was born!

The first SCWC took place in Durban, South Africa 2010.

Our mission

SCU’s ultimate mission is to challenge the widespread stigma faced by street-connected children and raise global awareness about the unique obstacles they face, making sure every street-connected child is protected, respected, and supported to achieve their fullest potential.

Everything we do comes back to this core goal. We envision a world where every child can access their rights, regardless of their background, and believe in a future where street-connected children receive the support, understanding, and opportunities needed to leave the streets permanently.

Championing the rights ofr street children worldwide sits at the heart of SCU's work.

Our goals

  • • Raising awareness: by organising events like the Street Child World Cup, SCU highlights the challenges faced by street-connected children and changes public perceptions.
    • Empowering children: we empower street-connected children through sports, arts, and advocacy, giving them a platform to voice their demands.
    • Promoting rights: SCU advocates for legal recognition, education, protection from violence, and gender equality for street-connected children.
    • Fostering change: we work to inspire impactful policy changes and create sustainable solutions for street-connected children worldwide.

Our impact

Since SCU’s inception, we’re proud to say we’ve made significant strides in improving the lives of street-connected children. 

By leveraging the global momentum of major sporting events like the FIFA World Cup, Olympics, and Cricket World Cup, SCU has organised several Street Child World Cups and Street Child Cricket World Cups – six so far! These events bring together street-connected children from around the world to play sports, engage in arts festivals, and participate in congress sessions focused on their rights.

But our impact also extends beyond these events. SCU has successfully secured hundreds of identity documents and birth registrations so far, which are crucial for accessing education, healthcare, and other essential services. Our initiatives also address protection from violence and advocate for gender equality, making sure we approach the support of street-connected children holistically.

SCU timeline

  • • Durban 2010: The very first Street Child World Cup brought together teams from seven countries. The event culminated in the “Durban Declaration,” calling for the rights of street children to be heard and protected.
    • Brazil 2014: The second Street Child World Cup in Rio de Janeiro featured 230 children from 19 countries. This event highlighted the specific challenges faced by street-connected girls, gaining support from global figures including Pope Francis and Prince William.
    • Russia 2018: The third Street Child World Cup in Moscow welcomed over 200 young people from 19 countries, resulting in tangible policy changes and significant international media coverage.
    • Qatar 2022: The fourth Street Child World Cup held in Doha launched the “One Million and One” campaign, aiming to provide legal identification to disadvantaged young people worldwide.
    • Cricket World Cups: SCU expanded into the world of cricket with the inaugural Street Child Cricket World Cup in 2019 and the 2023 tournament in Chennai, further amplifying our message.
    • USA 2026: SCU will host our next Street Child World Cup in 2026 – we hope you’re as excited as we are!

Help us out, spread the word!