Did you know that Kenya won the Homeless World Cup on the women’s side? Did you know there was such a thing as the Homeless World Cup? I didn’t until a friend told me. Pass on the good news. It is the only way the tournament will achieve its goal.
“The Homeless World Cup exists to end homelessness. The impact of this competition is profound. It has engaged over 100,000 homeless people since it started with participants changing their lives for the better. The Paris 2011 Homeless World Cup is an opportunity for homeless people to move from being invisible to stand proud on a global stage, and to be true ambassadors for their country.”
My friend knew about Kenya winning because he was hanging on every goal all tournament. He could not talk about it without getting goosebumps and tearing up. He helped start a soccer school in Kibera, the biggest slum in Kenya, to empower women out of poverty and prostitution. After reading about the Homeless World Cup, read about the KGSA Foundation. It is absolutely amazing. Two young women from KGSA made the Kenyan Homeless World Cup Team. Rose Achieng Okoth and Zaunab Khamis Haran left their slum in Kenya, got on a plane to Paris, put on a national jersey, hit the pitch and won the whole darn tournament. Rose scored the winning goal in the final game. For a moment, they were queens of the whole world. But it will only make a long term difference if we know about it and care.
To play brings dignity. It is a human right that should be available to all. We live in a world where there has to be a separate soccer tournament for marginalized people to equal the playing field, literally. And the dignity that comes with this tournament is powerful enough to change the players lives forever. And I have to ask myself, “Why wasn’t I at a pub with all my friends cheering these girls on? Why has this tournament existed for nine years without me knowing about it?” I guess it is never too late to do the right thing.