The Homeless World Cup is an International tournament held annually. This year, it was held in Mexico City with over 40 countries participating in the 4 aside, 15-minute tournament.
In Zimbabwe, the Homeless World Cup is organised by the Young Achievers Sports For Development and they partnered with the EatOut Movement Zimbabwe to fundraise for this year’s event. The EatOut Movement representatives attended the event for the first time and in this post, founder Henry Chigama and the organisation’s administrator Lydiah Hakulandaba share their lessons from the trip.
DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES LEAD TO HOMELESSNESS.
I learnt that we should not judge. There is a lot of misconception around homelessness and people think you’re on the street because you are a failure, but different situations can take you into the streets.
PLATFORMS ARE THE PLUG.
I also learnt that there’s a lot of skill out there and usually, people with platforms are seen but those without platforms struggle to gain recognition. The Homeless World Cup gives boys and girls who are skilled in soccer a platform to be discovered.
NETWORKING IS KEY.
Imagine being under the same roof with some of the most influential people in the world, all fighting for the same cause? That’s what the tournament offers people from disadvantaged backgrounds, a unique opportunity to network and sell themselves.
”You are not starting from where you left, you are moving forward.”
What I learnt is that this is a huge event. Before we went, we didn’t realize it was this huge. It actually stops the whole city. Over 40 countries attended including global organisations like New Balance and FIFA. It’s a huge platform where people use football as a tool for social change, to improve the lives of people that have been through difficult times.
ZIMBABWE IS NOT DOING ENOUGH.
The relevant stakeholders in our country are not doing enough. If you look at other countries, they are involved in the Homeless World Cup, governments assist their citizens to participate in the tournament.
OTHER COUNTRIES ARE FINDING NEW WAYS OF FIGHTING SOCIAL INEQUALITIES.
Through networking, I realized that we need to go out there and get ideas and tailor make them suit our own economic needs, our own culture and traditions. We need to do more as a country, governments, corporates themselves and as a society to help curb these social inequalities. This does not only include homelessness, but there’s also drug addiction out there, there’s bullying, those are social problems that can lead people into different situations.
NO SITUATION IS PERMANENT.
The stories that I heard when I went to Mexico were very inspiring. You find people that have been homeless but managed to change their lives and are now helping other people. One of the referees for the final game was actually homeless. We need to create platforms for other people to hear these stories and get inspired.
PREPARATION IS KEY.
We need adequate time to prepare for the tournament and send as many people as possible to get that exposure and that experience. I believe it has the power.
This event gives disadvantaged populations inspiration and hope.
“Most of the problems we have are mind problems, it’s not a capability problem or skill problem, it’s a mindset problem and when they [disadvantaged persons] go to these events, they start believing that I can be somebody. If this guy who used to be homeless is refereeing, then what can stop me?” says Henry
“[It’s] not just the mind of the player, but the mind of the nation. Right now, people don’t know about the Homeless World Cup so it’s up to us to spread that word so that all Zimbabweans know about it,” Lydia says
Images Credit – Henry Chigama