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Homeless World Cup, breaking down stereotypes and changing lives

hwcparis2011_scotland.jpg

Homeless World Cup, breaking down stereotypes and changing lives

Mel Young, is the Founder and CEO of the Homeless World Cup. He is recognised by many as one of the world's leading social entrepreneurs. Here, in an interview, he explains what difference the tournament makes to the players.

The Homeless World Cup

uses football as a catalyst to encourage people who are homeless to change their lives; and to change the attitudes of governments, media, public and key influencers to create better solutions to homelessness around the world. The last edition of the tournament was held in Paris. Research showed that at the last Homeless World Cup 90% of spectators agreed that the Homeless World Cup breaks down stereotypes about the homeless community.

Homeless World Cup interview with Mel Young
In the interview Mel talks about the impact that the tournament has not only on the public, but most importantly on the players themselves. “Throughout the day, all the crowd has been sharing this fantastic atmosphere…and it has been like this the whole week! But the main thing is the impact on the players: they are very happy and enjoy themselves. Undoubtedly their lives are changed through this experience for they will remember about it when they will go back in their country”.

Likewise, he explains how players are selected for the tournament and how changing their life is an imperative to inclusion in the tournament. “I remember some years ago having seen a fabulous player from Scotland at a homeless football cup...and I knew that only six months earlier he was a chronic alcoholic. Football training gave him the strength to react and change his life for he worked hard on it ...and so did all the players who are here today.”

He finishes by talking about the strategy for maintaining the tournament and continuing the work of raising awareness of Homelessness on the agenda of governments, globally. “Our strategy is to work in close collaboration with the cities... and we are beginning now to have cities fighting each other to host the event...which is good news[...] furthermore governments can see that we are having an impact wherever we organise and event, whatever the scale. That is the reason why I think they should go and invest more into sport as it could be included in their social box and for it does not cost that much!“

Read the full interview
Read more thoughts from Mel Young on the Homeless World Cup and Homelessness
Read more about Homeless World Cup in our Connet Section

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Article type

News

Author

Thomas Howie

Published

Sunday, January 22, 2012 - 23:00

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