The Street Child World Cup has kicked off with 28 teams representing 25 countries in Qatar, where the FIFA World Cup is scheduled to be held in just over 40 days.
Held at Qatar Foundation’s Education City, teams worldwide have been invited into the country to partake in a multinational football tournament.
Until the 15 of October, 13 girls and 15 boys teams will compete with one another, representing refugees and displaced children.
Regarded as a platform for advocacy, several events will take place outside of the football pitch.
A festival of art workshops and a youth-driven congress will shed light on issues related to vulnerable youth living in street situations worldwide.
Co-founder and CEO of Street Child United, John Wroe, inaugurated the event on Saturday, welcoming the teams at the opening address.
“This is the World Cup for those that have faced stigma. We say to you, ‘you are loved.’ For those who are constantly denied access or shooed away or even rounded up, we say, ‘come to the front of the queue.’ You are important,” Wroe said.
“For those that have just about given up on everyone and everything. I promise you that this is the World Cup of hope,” he added.
Qatar is competing with Sudan, Burundi, Pakistan, and Bosnia in Group A.
The group stages will start on Tuesday, with the final games on Saturday.