Homeless World Cup

Intrigued to find out more? Click here for the official Homeless World Cup website.

5 a side Competition

Fundraising 5 a side competition was held on 12 August and raised over £650. A full report on the evening's activities is online now. Click here to read it. Photos are also available to view - Click here to see them.

Just Giving

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Every pound you give will go towards changing people's lives and will be greatly appreciated. Thank you :)

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Quick Note

Just a quick note to prevent any confusion: I'm not associated with, nor am I trying to pass myself off as, World Cup Willie, the 1966 World Cup Mascot. He's much more popular and handsome than I could ever be. If you want to find out more about him click here

Posts Tagged ‘refugees’

Changing lives

27 September; Author: World Cup Willy

There’s lots of fun being had out in Rio, by staff, volunteers and players, but behind all that is a much more important issue – homelessness. It’s difficult to see that it exists here at the Copacabana Stadium, as everyone is on the same level together, living together, playing together, experiencing together, but there are a wide range of stories that the players have to tell. I wanted to find out a bit more about it … read on …

Paraguay: The Paraguayan girls’ team is made up of girls from five different cultures and two of the team had no recognised identities 2 weeks before the tournament. It seems extraordinary that something we take for granted at birth back home is not available to people, even through their teens and into their early twenties. Julia Corvala, from Fundacion Paraguay and travelling with the Paraguayan team, was also able to tell The Homeless World Cup a little more about the girls´ backgrounds. ‘Forty percent of people in Paraguay live under the poverty line, 20% are in extreme poverty. The girls who come to us all live below the poverty line, with families living on only $2 per day’ she said. Fundacion Paraguay work with the Nike Foundation, who awarded them a $1.6 million grant to run the Mbaracayu Educational Centre. The school, based in the forests of a UNESCO natural forest reserve is completely financially self-sufficient and environmentally conscious. They provide the opportunity for young women, some of whom represent the Paraguay team, to finish high school and even to continue to University level. (Quote and information from Julia Corvala is from The Homeless World Cup website)

India: The 2 Indian teams are largely made up of orphans aged 18-20. They’ve been living in accommodation provided by a local charity in central India for as long as they can remember. Just 2 years ago, a Football Box (a bundle of equipment and coaching programme) was given to them so they could implement a youth training programme in their home town and initially 20 coaches successfully went through the programme. Now there are 123 coaches trained locally through this initiative and their first 2 teams have entered The Homeless World Cup, one of them winning the award for fair play. The organiser of the Indian teams is expecting the programme to continue, as it offers their participants the chance for personal development and to learn how to engage with society and other people – something that has been experienced fully at The Homeless World Cup (and something I have seen in them – a largely shy and retiring team now chats, laughs and jokes openly with players from other nations, even with a language barrier).

Palestine: Team Palestine are made up of homeless refugees, now living in camps in Lebanon to escape the conflict at home. Their families are poor and many people in these camps will have experienced hunger, murder and aggression. In the summer, their tents are hot, like ovens, and in the winter, temperatures drop to freezing. They have lives that no one would want to live and their only outlet is sport, hence the opportunity offered by The Homeless World Cup. The Rio 2010 Organising Committee have worked hard to ensure that Team Palestine can take part in this years’ competition, overcoming a wide range of hurdles, and the hard work is paying off, as the players make the most of their time here and integrate with other nations well, often being the centre of attention in groups, as they chat, eat and kick a ball around.

Croatia: Since we first met last weekend, following a cheeky exchange of facial expressions and (innocent) hand gestures, Ivan (38 from Croatia), and I have built a relationship of respect and trust. Despite his limited English and my non-existent Croatian we managed to get a few minutes to talk about his life and what it means to be at The Homeless World Cup. Ivan was involved in the Yugoslavia war in the early 1990s. His participation was reluctant and his experiences drove him to drink and drugs for many years. Through the church in his home town, near Split, Ivan has received support and worked hard to improve his life and be clean of drink and drugs. He sees his time in Rio as a great opportunity to step forward in his life and to take the inspiration he has found from meeting others and playing football with them. He returns this week to his home town, with fresh hope for a positive future.

I want to ride my bicycle … and so I did.

My new bike has been sat in the living room for about 3 months (see pic below), untouched. I’ve tightened, tweaked and played with bits and pieces. I’ve even managed to break the valve on the inner tube recently. But today, I finally managed to get out on it.

My new bike ... parked behind the sofa in the lounge

My plan was to be riding in the Suffolk Coastal Bike Ride doing 60 miles from Woodbridge up to Cove Hithe and back down again. I’d have been back in my home territory, in the beautiful sunshine, pedalling like mad for a few hours, but, as you’ll have seen in earlier posts, I’ve been struggling with a knee injury since before the end of the football season and, only now, do I think I’m in any position to start training for long distance events. My recent optimism comes courtesy of some extraordinarily simple, but very effective, treatment from my chiropractor, Dr Neil Folker, who worked wonders on my ITB (a kind of elastic band in my leg).

Anyway, back to the bike ride. Completed 10.5 miles today – my longest bike ride in about 15 years! Yes, I did it because I wanted to do it, but I also felt I should take on some hard(ish) work in a kind of sympathy-pains way, as my buddy Si Hatson was riding up and down Suffolk without me. He finished the whole route in 4hrs 25mins – a whole lot quicker than he would’ve done if I was with him. Well done, Si!

Riding bikes has been a common thing during my fundraising project …

First I met Steve Hall who landed back in England from his home in Spain without any transport or accommodation and is cycling around all 92 Football League grounds in England and Wales. He’s currently just beyond half way and has suffered on the way with all his possessions in Spain being lost to fire and a couple of days in hospital near Newcastle after being knocked off his bike by a car. Steve’s ‘doing the 92′ to support a href=”http://www.theshirt2010.net” target=”_blank”>Bjorn Heidenstrom who cycled from Oslo to Cape Town.

Yes, you did read that correctly. Bjorn cycled all the way from Norway to South Africa! His aim was to deliver the world’s largest shirt to the World Cup in South Africa to raise awareness of the world’s 45 million refugees. No fundraising – just raising awareness. An incredible effort that took 12 months and you can see the shirt on You Tube here (22 seconds in) and here.

And, just this weekend, following a recommendation from Steve Hall, I’ve found a guy, Leigh Timmis, who is cycling all the way round the world to raise £10,000 for Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre. He’ll be on his bike for months and years! You can find out more about Leigh’s amazing adventure at www.pedal360.com.

The stuff I’m doing to raise money seems so insignificant compared to their efforts – they deserve as much support and encouragement as they can get. Please look out for them :)

Remember Steve Hall? Met him recently. He’s the one ‘Doing the 92′ (cycling round all 92 English and Welsh league football clubs). Finally, after many months of planning, he and his friend Bjorn have achieved their aim of getting ‘The Shirt’ on show at The World Cup. You may have seen it as part of the opening ceremony at Soccer City. Click here to watch the You Tube clip. It’s probably the biggest shirt in the world.

Great work guys! Hope it brings lots of awareness to your project.

Recently met up with Steve Hall who is ‘Doing the 92′ – for those of you not in-the-know, that means he’s visiting each of the 92 league football grounds in England and Wales all the way from Plymouth to Norwich to Newcastle and beyond. He’s also doing on a bike. It sounds like madness, but Steve is doing it for good reason.

Steve’s aim is not to raise money – he is simply raising awareness of the 45 million refugees in the world and for an amazing parallel project that a friend of his is taking on. Bjorn Heidenstrom is a retired Norwegian footballer and is cycling from Oslo to South Africa, again raising awareness of refugees, collecting football shirts and creating  the biggest shirt ever – we think it’s a record breaking shirt – click here to see a Flickr pic. It’s an astonishing undertaking by Bjorn! And he has recently arrived after many months and thousands of miles on his bike. Well done, Bjorn!

Anyway, Steve will be out and about around England and Wales over the summer. You can keep up to date with him on his website and he’ll be delighted to meet and get your support on his trip. At the time of writing he’ll be somewhere between Birmingham and Manchester.

Here’s a little pic of Steve and I when we met, just after I fixed his bike. Hope it’s still going well for him. Good luck, Steve!

Recently been contacted by Steve Hall, telling me about his challenge and that of a friend, Bjorn Heidenstrom. You must visit Steve’s site to find out how much hard work there’ll be in their challenges. It’s amazing!

Steve is ‘doing the 92′, cycling 3000 miles around the 92 English & Welsh league clubs from May to August. He is providing PR and mirroring Bjorn who is cycling from Norway to South Africa (truly phenomenal – cycling across 2 continents!), collecting football shirts to build one giant shirt. The Guiness Book of Records have been informed, so we hope it will be a record! The aim is to raise awareness of the world’s 45 million refugess who have no home and no support, which is being supported by many football clubs and celebrities as well as large and small organisations.

More info about these amazing guys can be found at http://theshirt2010.co.uk and there’s info too about how to support them (can you offer Steve a bed, cup of tea or evening meal?), meet Steve and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Go take a look.

What is this all about?

This is all about creating new futures for people ... through football. It's simple! And more than 500 people from across the world will have the opportunity by taking part in the 2010 Homeless World Cup. The event raises awareness of homelessness globally and drives people to change their lives with new health, jobs, homes, families and more. If you'd like to sponsor me, please click here.

Who am I?

I'm Wil, a football fan ... and now a volunteer at the 2010 Homeless World Cup. I've taken on the challenge of volunteering for the 2010 Homeless World Cup to combine my passion for football with a desire to help others. I'll be getting my hands dirty at the event, helping in a whole range of ways (lugging around equipment, directing teams, talking to the press, compiling results, writing blogs and more). It's a fantastic opportunity to get involved and to make a difference to so many other people's lives.