This week, not only are we celebrating the All Whites’ achievements at the football World Cup, but it is also Volunteer Awareness Week. New Zealand has a lesser-known football team fundraising to go to a different World Cup and this team is supported entirely by volunteers.
The 2010 Homeless World Cup will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in September. Volunteers are fundraising to meet the cost of uniforms, passports, insurance and return flights to Brazil.
Katie Owen, a volunteer from Street Football Aotearoa says, “Participation in the Homeless World Cup has shown a significant impact on the lives of homeless and marginalised people. From our 2008 team, one player has started University, another received an award for his volunteer work, and three others are now in stable employment.
“Unfortunately, we are currently $10,000 short of our budgeted total and we need to raise this in the next three weeks so that we don’t miss out on flights”.
The Homeless World Cup began in 2003. More than 500 players from over 60 nations will take part. Participation has consistently led to over 70% of those involved improving their lives through employment, housing, education and addiction treatment programmes. All the players who represented NZ at the 2008 Cup have moved into stable accommodation and made positive life changes.
Street Football Aotearoa is supporting the NZ team, and has been preparing participants from all around the country for 18 months. Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) coordinates weekly training sessions for players in Wellington.
DCM is proud to be supporting Street Football Aotearoa and acknowledges the role volunteers have in getting the team to Brazil.