Send us victorious
Do you remember the three slogans fans were asked to vote on for the side of England’s World Cup 2018 tour bus?
“Send us victorious”
“Drive forward as one”
“Pride. Passion. Together”
Our choice of ‘send us victorious’ is viewed as somewhat optimistic by many: sport pundits give England just a 4% chance of winning. But fans facing the probable disappointment of a too early departure from the FIFA World Cup should take comfort and inspiration from the nine young women from Team England who, just a month ago, represented their country at the Street Child World Cup in Moscow.
The event was a platform for over 200 young people in current, previous or at-risk situations of homelessness, invisible homelessness, or life living and working on the streets not only to play football on the international stage, but to raise their voices and call for a change in the stigma, discrimination and abuse they face. StreetInvest ran a congress with the young people which culminated in a general assembly where teams presented their messages to the world, and this is what Team England had to say:
“Our vision is for young people in London to have freedom of expression, and not to be judged by anyone. Inspired by Street Child United we hope to create a movement that could potentially impact the lives of young people around the world.
What are our demands? We demand respect. We demand for people not only to hear our voices but to listen and take action. Within our local community we will be committed to finding a location for young people to feel they have a safe space to express themselves. We hope to work with local businesses and possibly schools to engage potential stakeholders. From the adults we ask only for the same patience and understanding we expect from each other. And to be honest, we ask for your help.
We are strong, independent, resilient people determined to overcome any problem that stands in our way. We demand of our Prime Minister, Theresa May, our Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and all of our MPs in parliament to utilise the power given to them by the people to actually make a change. We ask them to help us both with money and with publicity through the media.
We must work together to create more than just a brand, but a family. We, as passionate young people, demand acceptance and understanding, but it must start closer to home. We must encourage each other to be the best version of ourselves before we can expect others to do the same.
We are somebody and it is time to change our story.”
The FIFA World Cup is just a game. The lives of the young people in our societies are not. And the Street Child World Cup was more than just a game: Team England may not have been victorious in the football, but they are champions for street-connected children everywhere. Perhaps if we could vote again, we would listen to their words and chose a different slogan: one which reflects the pride and passion of Team England and commits us to continuing to drive forward together to make a positive and lasting change in the lives of street-connected children across the globe.
Real change takes lasting support. As StreetInvest celebrates its 10th year of working to ensure a more positive future for street-connected children, and to end the stigma and discrimination they face, we know we still have a long road ahead. Find out how you can support us here.