Eight years ago, two soccer fans and advocates for the homeless created a soccer competition for people without homes. They called the competition the Homeless World Cup, and true to its name, the soccer tournament draws players and fans from around the world. The tagline of the organization is “beating homelessness through soccer.”
With players coming from around the world, the Homeless World Cup is touted as an opportunity to boost the confidence of the players and to shift the perspectives of people in the crowd and key stakeholders around the world. According to a recent Nonprofit Quarterly article, President of the Homeless World Cup Mel Young says “audiences who come and watch these games will never look at homeless people in the same way again.”
More than 70 countries are participating, including the United States. Teams are coordinated primarily through organizations created specifically with the goal of introducing athletics to people as an intervention into their homelessness. In the United States and Nigeria, for example, the organization is called Street Soccer. In India, the organization is called Slum Soccer, and in Kazakhstan, Baspana (“Roof Above Your Head”).
To look at a Flickr page of photos from the 2010 Homeless World Cup in Rio, click here.
Source: Nonprofit Quarterly.