Silva lining for footballing street children

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Brazilian Gilberto Silva will be back at a World Cup next year but the 2002 World Cup winner won’t be in Russia because of the quadrennial showpiece but for the Street Child version.

The 40-year-old former Arsenal midfielder — who admitted despite his own impoverished background he cried when he heard the story of one Indian street child — went to Moscow for the Street Child summit earlier this year in his capacity as global ambassador for the organisation.

Next year’s third running of the event will probably take place in May, before the World Cup.

The seven-a-side tournament has attracted 12 boys teams and 12 girls teams with a Uganda girls side appearing for the first time.

For Peter Fahy, former chief constable of Manchester police and now CEO of Retrak, an organisation devoted to helping street children get their lives back on track, it gives the Ugandan girls the platform to highlight an issue that blights society in the country.

“We are using it as a platform to highlight the issues of girls being forced into early marriage and being trafficked to Kampala to be domestic servants and then physically and sexually abused,” the 58-year-old told AFP at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester.

Fahy, whose organisation is also involved in South America, says the problem is endemic in the country where acquaintances or family members living in Kampala come to families either in rural areas or slum communities and take the girls away promising them a brighter future.

“They end up treating them differently to the other children in the family, making them work early in the morning to late at night so they lose out on education and then they get abused,” said Fahy.

The former policeman has so far organised for 13 teams of police officers to go to Uganda, Ethiopia and Malawi and liaise with their counterparts there, educating them on how to treat the street children better.

Source: CapitalFM Kenya

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