“UNICEF is very excited to be able to give more children the chance to safely experience the thrill of the World Cup, whether they’re sitting in the stadium or watching from their own villages,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director from New York.
A programme called World Cup in My Village piloted in two African countries by UNICEF, the Children’s Radio Foundation and other community partners. It will give young people who would otherwise not have the opportunity the chance to see World Cup football matches on large open-air screens and projectors. The special screens have been set-up in the Rubavu District in Rwanda, and in the town of Mongu and the UNHCR Refugee Camp of Mayukwayukwa in Zambia; places where there is no electricity or broadcast connection. In addition to the football, the screens will broadcast important information about children’s health and their rights.
In the host country, a special partnership between UNICEF and the South African government will address potential problems that may arise due to the massive influx of people. In a country where 12 million children live in poverty, special attention is being given to unaccompanied minors, some of whom may be induced to travel to the cities where games are played in search of employment opportunities and adventure.
With hundreds of millions of people tuned into the competition and the celebrations, the World Cup is a venue for many important messages about child rights for children and adults.
“The World Cup gives us a chance to focus positive public attention on the special risks children face in countries likeSouth Africa and around the world and the special efforts we can take to protect them from those threats,” said Lake. “We can use the popularity of sport to promote children’s rights and wellbeing around the world.”
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|My name is Ander Vasquez from Honduras and I’m 14 years old. I live with my family in Villanueva, a neighborhood in Tegucigalpa which is mostly known for violent gangs.
My life has changed a lot since I participated in “Fútbol para la vida” (Football for life). I think that “Fútbol para la vida” shows that playing football can change the lives of children. The program teaches us about moral and ethical values. It teaches us to stay away from drugs, alcohol and gangs and encourages us to stay in school. I now study harder because you need good grades in order to be part of “Fútbol para la vida”. Before I participated in the program, my friends and I just used to walk around the streets barefoot. But now, all we do is play football.
|Most of the kids who are part of the program are also from Villenueva and because we’re involved in the program, I think our neighborhood has become a better place. It used to be one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Honduras, but now it is different and there’s less crime. My father also thinks that playing sport has given me a new ambition. I want to have a healthy body and mind and stay away from drugs.|