Weeks ahead of the start of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales, the Indian side has lifted the trophy. Only that this is a far younger Indian side, and this is the Street Child Cricket World Cup where 10 national teams, consisting of girls and boys represented their respective countries. this was the first and inaugural edition of the Street Child World Cup.
The charitable organization behind the tournament- Street Child United has been working for over ten years to use the power of sport, specifically international sports events to change the negative perceptions and treatment of street-connected children everywhere.
In the past, they have organized Football tournaments and Street Child Games, all of which have been held in the host city of the Football World Cup and the Olympic Games respectively. The format of the street Child cricket world cup involves six-member teams taking on each other in a twenty-ball match.
The squad consists of eight members and comprises of equal number of boys and girls who are aged between 14 and 17. One team each from Bangladesh, England, Congo, Mauritius, Nepal, West Indies and Tanzania took part in the tournament, whereas India was represented by two teams- India North and India South.
While team India North was represented by children of Hope Foundation and Save the Children India, children of Karunalaya Social Service Society and Magic Bus represented team India South.
After several play-off matches the India South team faced off with team England at the iconic Lord’s stadium on Tuesday. The India South side that was captained by V.Paulraj from Chennai went on to beat the English side. The Indian side scored 47 runs against the 42 scored by the English players.
Speaking to WION, Paul Sundar Singh, the founder of Karunalaya NGO which partnered in sponsoring the children of team India South said, “It was struggle to take the team to London for the World cup. We came with debt and deficit, but our aim is to give street children an opportunity like this and a platform for their voices to be heard. I’m very happy for the children as they have proved how they could become champions and make our country proud, now we hope street children will be respected.
During her turn to speak at the General Assembly in Thomas Lord’s suite, Monisha who hails from Chennai mentioned about her life on the street without protection, basic facilities such as water, toilets, clean food etc. Monisha also touched upon the aspect of risk of abuse that street children face. She called for action saying, “If you respect us, you will listen to us. If you listen to us, you will protect us. please protect us”.
Paulraj, the captain of the winning side said that it was a big joy and that he had felt never-like-before happiness after he and his team received the cup in their hands.