Players,Parade and Pride

The opening day and the parade kicks off a week of street soccer. 

Players come from all over the world in celebration of life and survival. Achievement surrounds them, before a ball has been kicked everyone is a winner. 

I caught up with Hannah Voice a 20 year old goalkeeper from the HFA England’s Women Team. 

  

She spoke of her pride and overwhelming joy at not only representing her country but being chosen to be captain and flag bearer. 

“It’s beyond my wildest dreams, a totally life changing moment”. 

Having become homeless a year ago, given a label of homeless. Today on the field of football she was given a new label ‘flag bearer’ one that she hopes is the catalyst. 

“I hope to work for the HFA, it would be my dream to be in football again. ” 

She was once as a 12 year old on the books of Chelsea, before an injury halted her career. 

“Words can’t describe the emotion I felt. ” 

A sense of pride on her face and a moment of reflection on how far she’s come in a year. 

Symbolically waving the flag for many others back in England. Showing that redefining the labels is sometimes is all it takes.  

  

I spoke to a guy in my hostel that like many others came to see a few matches today , he said he didn’t believe they were or had been homeless. After a long discussion, he understood a bit more about that label. Interesting to note that’s not what he saw though he saw players, with pride for their countries. I hope that’s what the world sees. 

Follow the work of the Homeless Football association on the link below. 

http://homelessfa.org

Going Dutch

It’s that time again when I head off to the Homeless World Cup, this year in Amsterdam. 
This will be the 7th year attending each one has its own unique flavour and atmosphere. The one consistent is the overwhelming feeling of joy, inspiration and camaraderie. 

If you weren’t aware it was where the long journey of Streets Revolution began back in 2009. 

Since then I have been fortunate enough to not only attend every year, but meet some wonderful human beings that have inspired me and made me aware of the HOPE that the simple act of kicking a ball together can bring. 

My perceptions have been changed, my education although not complete has been thorough. I’ve been challenged about how I think about homelessness and what that means in different parts of the world.  

The Netherlands has in Amsterdam approached the issue of homelessness in a way tackling the problem at the root cause.  

Here is a link and a more in depth look it makes for interesting reading;

Homeless in Amsterdam

I never really know what to expect the people I meet and the conversations I will have.  I can guarantee a few things, great football, awesome people, inspirational stories and reassurance that despite the societal problems, economic difficulties and rising pressure across the globe as homelessness is on the increase, that there are people working hard to end this situation, that sport has a part to make a difference.  That there is light at the end of that tunnel. There is HOPE. 

Please follow some of these stories here and visit the Homeless World Cup website to get live action and be part of it wherever you are. 

https://www.homelessworldcup.org/tournament/ 

 

My African Adventure 

After 4 years of nearly plans and willingness I finally made the trip to visit our projects in Uganda and Kenya. 

I realised that this journey began in a strange way and a totally different place than you might imagine. 
  
Having met Patrick Hato on the golden beaches of Rio de Janeiro at the Homeless World Cup in 2010. 
We continued our relationship online and almost by accident and without the proper amount of thought we began Streets Revolution Kenya. 
It seems that the best things in life are not always the ones we plan.
We have supported both these projects from afar and with plenty of ups and downs, but we all agreed that to really move forward that we needed to go to see the challenges and plan on the ground. 
  
It was my first visit to not only these countries, but to the continent of Africa. 
Being a lone traveller has its challenges and being the lone Mazoko( white man) added to the adventure. 
Thankfully my hosts not only made me feel welcome by helped me to acclimatise quickly. 
Everywhere I went I was greeted with warmth and smiles. The land was beautiful and so were the people. 
Words cannot always describe the overload of your senses. The sights sounds and smells attack all your senses. 
From my start in Iganga to Nairobi and back again I witnessed a group of people who despite the many issues and problems with health, opportunities and general poverty. Had it seemed found a way to not only survive, but to find HOPE in some extreme circumstances. 
In Iganga the boys and girls make do sometimes with very little and I was impressed with the resourcefulness. 
Mukasa ( our national director) in Uganda, has had to learn to be creative and still with passion encourage others to join. The needs are many and the changes can be huge. 
The feeling I had on a personal note when I came to the field where 20-30 children were in full flow, is and was, very difficult to articulate. I have spoken on the phone, sent emails and talked about our projects to anyone that will listen. 
Yet the moment I came across the reality I was overcome with emotion. Such pride and joy cannot so far be easily described. 
We educated each other, Mukasa , Ann and Patrick  about the culture and situation in their countries and in return I passed on my thoughts and ideas on how they could grow and develop a programme that would reach into the heart of the community.

  

 

  
The contrast was huge and yet the similarities between our projects was clear, how the people face challenges may be different sometimes, yet the issues and problems at there core are the same. 
During my time we discussed many ideas and it’s not always easy to draw any concrete conclusions. 
One thing I am even clearer on now I have had time to reflect is how joining together is the only way forward   
I would implore all of you that followed my journey seen the photos and videos and had a glimpse of the potential that I saw to GIVE. 
I have seen first hand how a little really does go a long way. Just that small amount of £1 or $1 or €1 can have an impact on the community a lifetime. 
Whether you like football or not the possibilities are unlimited and together we can CHANGE their lives. 
I promised to work twice as hard this year to provide them with Kit, Equipment and Resources. I hope you can #jointherevolurion and GIVE  they don’t want a hand out, they just want a hand up. 
To Patrick, Ann and Mukasa to the volunteers in Uganda and Kenya who give their time selflessly. To the boys, girls and men and women I met. I thank you for opening my eyes and welcoming me into your hearts. 
I will be back soon. 
Jon Regler (CEO) 
  
  

Are we asking too much?

We launched our new message on the 1/1/15.

“Changing the world , 1 person at a time’.

The response has been mixed. We set a target of 100 people signed up by the end of January. It’s still possible.

It begs the question. Are WE asking too much?

The idea is simple most people agree and find it difficult to argue. The principle that 1 gesture can change someone’s life.
That by applying that to our organisation WE can change the world around us.

So GIVE is just 1 way you can do that and for £1 a month. It’s about the collective.

So why is it too much? Why after messages and conversations have many people agreed, but failed to do it.

Is life getting so hectic we don’t ACT anymore, we like to talk the talk, but find it too hard to walk the walk.

Does Work, family, social time, hours of demands means we miss the purpose of life.?

Is asking someone for 3p a day too much to ask for to impact those less fortunate in our communities ?

Do you think it’s too little and can’t possibly have an impact, as someone commented the other day.

I struggle to understand sometimes. If you can’t afford it we understand. Yet we not only encourage you to GIVE but to help in other ways SHARE or ACT. Simple ways in which the limited time we have can be put to good use for the greater good.

Below is a list of reasons why WE think you should some are serious. Ask yourself what reason have I got NOT to do it.

I don’t believe the people who could be bothered to read this don’t give a S@?T I know you do. There still seems to be a barrier. Have we stopped acting on our heart? And begun to be blinkered to the simple truth of helping others is good and true to our higher purpose.

What is the fear that means you would rather keep the pound/ dollar/ euro in your pocket just in case

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101( or as many as I could think of) reasons to GIVE

It feels good to do good

Everyone can afford it

Don’t have to be pestered for more money

It goes along way.

It helps us provide free opportunities

It shows we can change the world

Proving togetherness works

Connects you with like minded people

Allows you to give twice

Shows your compassion for others

Proves it only takes 1 ACT

It doesn’t go on wages

It doesn’t go on fancy offices

Better to give it local

Allows us to help directly when needed

Proves sport and football can change lives

Is less than a cup of coffee a month

Is less than a packet of cigarettes

Is less than a pint of beer

It’s better than losing it down the back of the sofa

It’s helped us provide a meal for 40 people at Christmas

It’s helped us provide FREE football wherever we are based

It Changes people’s lives

It’s affordable on Benefits( therefore inclusive)

It means you won’t be hassled on Facebook by me anymore

You can sit back and tell everyone you do your bit for charity

It’s cheaper than buying a football

Provides healthy activities for hundreds of people around the world

It’s less than 1% of the average wage per month

Makes people smile

Only takes 5 minutes to do

Only 2 clicks of the mouse

Can be done easily via mobile

Connects you with people in Africa

Connects you with people in Scotland

Connects you with people in Australia

It’s cheaper than a season ticket at your favourite team(and the enjoyment will probably last longer)

It’s the most fun thing you can do for £1

Helps build stronger communities

Creates social groups for isolated people

Helps build self esteem and confidence

Provides FREE arts and crafts groups

Creates volunteering opportunities

Will make your purse lighter

Everyone wants to lose a pound

You can pay in over 190 countries in your currency

Why not?

We will use 10% to GIVE back to other similar organisations

It’s better than giving it to the taxman

You’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside

Don’t hesitate click the link below and become a revolutionary today.

www.streetsrevolution.com/give

On behalf of the people your helping WE thank you.

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ένα ψήφισμα, μία επανάσταση

Πρώτα από όλα, Ευτυχισμένο το Νέο Έτος και να καλωσορίσατε το 2015, όπου και να βρίσκεστε.

Ένας καινούριος χρόνος είναι μια ΜΑΓΙΚΗ περίοδος γεμάτη από μια νέα υπόσχεση και μια νέα «λευκή σελίδα». Μια νέα αρχή. Είναι επίσης καιρός για τον απολογισμό των τελευταίων 12 μηνών.

Είχαμε πολλές επιτυχίες, καθώς και μερικές αστοχίες, αλλά σε γενικές γραμμές το συναίσθημα που έχουμε είναι μια διαρκής θετική διάθεση για όλα τα μέλη μας και τις αλλαγές που συνέβησαν στις ζωές των ανθρώπων μέσα από το έργο μας. Συνεργασία και εταιρικές σχέσεις ήταν το κλειδί της ανάπτυξής μας, αλλά και η ακούραστη αφοσίωση των ελάχιστων εθελοντών μας να το κάνουμε πραγματικότητα.

Ένας καινούριος χρόνος είναι, αν το θέλετε, μια νέα αρχή. Είναι μια ευκαιρία να πετύχουμε τα όνειρα και τους στόχους μας και να χτίσουμε πάνω στις επιτυχίες του 2014.

Προσωπικά, υπολόγισα τις πιθανότητες που ανοίγονται μπροστά μας και αναρωτήθηκα, ποιος είναι ο σκοπός του Streets Revolution;

Με αυτό στο μυαλό μου, θα ήθελα να σας γράψω αυτό και να σας συστήσω την νέα μας αποστολή.

1. REVOLUTION (Επανάσταση)

Θέλουμε να κάνουμε αυτόν τον χρόνο που θα έχουμε πραγματικά μεγάλη απήχηση στον κόσμο γύρω μας.

Η πρόθεσή μας για το Streets Revolution είναι απλή:

Να αλλάξουμε σταδιακά τον κόσμο. 1 άτομο κάθε φορά.

Αυτό που πιστεύαμε πάντα είναι ότι υπάρχει δύναμη στην Ενότητα. Εδώ είναι που συμμετέχετε κι εσείς. Μαζί μπορούμε να έχουμε ευρεία απήχηση τόσο τοπικά όσο και παγκοσμίως.

Η πρόσκληση είναι απλή. Μία απλή χειρονομία χρειάζεται για να αλλάξει ο κόσμος και οι άνθρωποι γύρω μας.

Σας Ζητάμε να γίνεται μέρος της επανάστασης και θα σας δείξουμε με παραδείγματα τους τρόπους που μπορούμε να το πετύχουμε.

1. Ζητάμε από όσους μπορούν να Δώσουν μόνο £1 ή $1 ή €1 το μήνα. Χρειάζεται μόνο ένα πολύ μικρό, αλλά στοχευμένο ποσό για να βοηθήσετε. Θα χρησιμοποιήσουμε αυτά τα χρήματα για να προσφέρουμε αθλητικό εξοπλισμό και να αυξήσουμε τις ευκαιρίες, να βοηθήσουμε με εκπαιδευτικό υλικό και υποτροφίες τη συνέχιση των κοινωνικών μας ομάδων, να βοηθήσουμε προσφέροντας φαγητό στα προγράμματά μας στη Μ. Βρετανία και εκτός αυτής. Επιθυμούμε επίσης να δημιουργήσουμε και νέες πρωτοβουλίες.
2. Πιστεύουμε επίσης στην δική σας ΔΡΑΣΗ. Μερικές φορές, μια μικρή χειρονομία σε χρόνο μπορεί να έχει τεράστια απήχηση. Γι’ αυτό, επενδύστε 1 ώρα ή 1 μέρα από το χρόνο σας για τον σκοπό μας και μαζί θα δημιουργήσουμε μια πιο δυνατή πλατφόρμα. Όταν μια μικρή ΠΡΑΞΗ πολλαπλασιαστεί από εκατομμύρια ανθρώπων, μπορεί να μεταμορφώσει τον κόσμο. Θα σας προσφέρουμε μια λίστα από τρόπους που μπορεί να γίνει αυτό.
3. Μελλοντικά (μπορείτε α ενημερωθείτε σχετικά από το site) σκοπός μας είναι να διατεθούν αυτοί οι πόροι, έτσι ώστε όλοι, ομάδες ή μεμονωμένα άτομα, να έχουν μια ΑΝΤΑΠΟΔΟΣΗ. Θα προσφέρουμε ένα ποσοστό των δωρεών μας σε όσους έχουν ανάγκη να ικανοποιήσουν τις ανάγκες τους. Άλλωστε, σε αυτό είμαστε όλοι μαζί. Μπορείτε να υποστηρίξετε άλλους σκοπούς και προγράμματα, αλλά θέλουμε να βοηθήσουμε και σας. Είμαστε ανοιχτοί στις προτάσεις σας και τις υποψηφιότητές σας. Είναι ένα δώρο που προσφέρει διπλά.
4. Ο κόσμος θέλει συχνά να νιώθει συμμέτοχος και οι ΑΓΟΡΑ σας επιτρέπει να αισθανθείτε έτσι. Αγοράστε ένα από την ποικιλία των αντικειμένων που θα τεθούν προς πώληση για να ενισχύσουν την συγκέντρωση των απαιτούμενων κονδυλίων. Από αθλητικό υλικό μέχρι και εμφιαλωμένο νερό (μόνο στην Βρετανία) έως T-shirts και άλλα.
5. Απαιτούνται μεγάλες ΙΔΕΕΣ για να αλλάξουμε τον κόσμο και θα θέλαμε να σας ενθαρρύνουμε να τις μοιραστείτε μαζί μας, με την ελπίδα ότι θα μπορέσουμε να σας βοηθήσουμε να τις κάνετε πραγματικότητα για την κοινότητά σας. Αυτό θα μας βοηθήσει να συνεισφέρουμε με ΙΔΕΕΣ και δημιουργικές λύσεις σε θέματα που αντιμετωπίζετε στην τοπική σας κοινότητα.
6. Δεν μπορεί να υποτιμηθεί το κομμάτι της ΕΠΙΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑΣ, από το να το μοιράζεστε στα social media μέχρι τις ιδέες σας και γενικά με το να είστε οι ίδιοι μέρος της επανάστασης του να αλλάξετε την κοινότητά σας ή τον κόσμο. Υπάρχουν πολλοί τρόποι να ΜΟΙΡΑΣΟΥΜΕ αυτό το μήνυμα. Γίνετε ΠΡΕΣΒΕΥΤΕΣ ή απλώς έχετε στο μυαλό σας ορισμένες ειδικές μέρες που θα έχουμε στη διάρκεια του έτους, ώστε να τις ΜΟΙΡΑΣΤΕΙΤΕ μαζί μας.

Τραβήξτε μια φωτογραφία ή δημιουργήστε ένα μικρό video και χρησιμοποιείστε το #jointherevolution στην ιστοσελίδα μας http://www.streetsrevolution.com και ενθαρρύνετε τους φίλους σας να είναι μέρος αυτής της κίνησης.

Πιστεύω ότι πλέον έχετε πάρει το μήνυμα. Ελάτε μαζί μας, γίνετε επαναστατικοί, όπως ο Γκάντι είπε «Γίνε η Αλλαγή που θέλεις να δεις στον κόσμο»

Πηγαίνετε ΤΩΡΑ στην ιστοσελίδα μας, εξερευνήστε περισσότερα. Μην περιμένετε. Κάντε κάτι σημαντικό σήμερα. Ξεκινήστε τη χρονιά με έναν σκοπό.

#jointherevolution

GIVE, ACT, TAKE,IDEAS, BUY, SHARE

6 τρόποι, 1 Επανάσταση
Εσείς, τι προτίθεστε να κάνετε;

http://www.streetsrevolution.com

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una resolución, una revolución

En primer lugar feliz año nuevo a usted donde quiera que esté, bienvenido a 2015.

Un nuevo año es un momento tan mágico lleno de nueva promesa y una pizarra limpia de la última. Un nuevo comienzo. Es también un momento de reflexión sobre los últimos 12 meses.
Hemos tenido muchos altos y algunos bajos, pero en general la sensación es de positividad continua para todos nuestros miembros y los cambios en la vida de las personas a través del trabajo que hacemos. La colaboración y las alianzas han sido la clave de nuestro crecimiento y la incansable dedicación de los pocos voluntarios para que esto suceda.

Un nuevo año un nuevo comienzo, si quieres. es una oportunidad para lograr nuestros sueños y metas y construir sobre los éxitos de 2014.

Yo personalmente he estado reflexionando sobre qué posibilidades tenemos por delante y me pregunté cuál es el propósito de la Revolución calles?

Con eso en mente que quiero escribir esto para presentar nuestra nueva misión.

1REVOLUTION

Esperamos hacer de este el año en que realmente impacto en el mundo que nos rodea.

Nuestra intención en Revolución Calles es simple ~

Cambiar el mundo, 1 persona a la vez.

Siempre hemos creído que hay fuerza en la Unidad. Ahí es donde entras tú.
Juntos podemos tener un impacto tanto a nivel local como global.

La llamada es simple sólo 1 simple gesto es todo lo que se necesita para cambiar el mundo y las personas que nos rodean.

Le estamos pidiendo a unirse a la revolución, vamos a demostrar con el ejemplo las formas en que se puede hacer.

1. Estamos pidiendo a los que pueden poner sólo £ 1 o $ 1 o 1 € al mes. O su moneda local
Sólo se necesita una cantidad específica sencilla de ayudar. Vamos a utilizar el dinero para proporcionar material deportivo y mejorar las oportunidades, ayudar con material educativo y becas seguir ampliando nuestros grupos sociales para ayudar a proporcionar alimentos en el Reino Unido y para nuestros proyectos en el extranjero. También queremos crear más nuevos inniatives.

2. También creemos que si se actúa a veces un pequeño gesto de tiempo puede tener un enorme impacto. Así que utilice 1 hora o 1 día o más para nuestra causa y nos pondremos juntos construir una plataforma más fuerte. Un pequeño ACT cuando se multiplica por millones de personas puede transformar el mundo. Vamos a proporcionar una lista de maneras de hacer esto.

3. En el futuro (véase el sitio web para más detalles) queremos compartir estos recursos será entonces permitir a los individuos y grupos a tomar algo a cambio. Vamos a ofrecer un porcentaje de todas las donaciones dadas a otros para ayudar en sus necesidades. Después de todo estamos todos juntos en esto. Usted puede apoyar a otras causas y problemas, pero queremos ayudar a usted y vamos a estar mirando por sus sugerencias y nominaciones. Es el regalo que da dos veces.

4. La gente quiere maneras de sentirse incluidos y COMPRAR permite hacer eso. Compra 1 de la variedad de artículos vamos a vender para ayudar a generar los fondos necesarios. Desde artículos deportivos a nuestra agua embotellada (sólo Reino Unido) a las camisetas y más.

5. Toma grandes ideas para cambiar el mundo y queremos animaros a compartir los nuestros con la esperanza de que podemos ayudar a que sean una realidad en su comunidad. Esto nos permitirá ayudar con ideas y soluciones creativas a los problemas que enfrenta o se ven en su comunidad.

6. No se puede subestimar la parte SHARE, de compartir en las redes sociales, a las ideas y en general de convertirse en un revolucionario en su propia comunidad o alrededor del mundo. Hay muchas maneras en que podemos compartir este mensaje. Conviértete en un embajador o mantener un ojo a nuestro día especial para compartir durante todo el año.

Tome una foto o hacer un mini vídeo y utilizar #jointherevolution añadir nuestro vínculo web http://www.streetsrevolution.com y anime a sus amigos a ser parte de este movimiento.

Creo que se obtiene el mensaje. Únete a nosotros, convertido en un revolucionario y como dijo Gandhi “Sé el cambio que quieres ver en el mundo”.

Ir ahora a nuestro sitio web y explorar un poco más, no espere hacer algo extraordinario hoy, empezar el año con un propósito.

#jointherevolution

DAR, ACT, TOMAR, IDEAS, COMPRA, SHARE

6 maneras 1 revolución

Qué vas a hacer?
http://www.streetsrevolution.com

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One Resolution, One Revolution

Firstly happy New Year to you where ever you are, welcome to 2015.

A new year is such a MAGICAL time full of new promise and a clean slate from the last. A new beginning. It’s also a time of reflection on the last 12 months.
We’ve had many highs and some lows, but overall the feeling is one of continued positivity for all our members and the changes in people’s lives through the work we do. Collaboration and partnerships have been the key to our growth and the tireless dedication of the few volunteers to make this happen.

A new year a new start if you like. it’s a chance to achieve our dreams and goals and build on the successes of 2014.

I personally have been reflecting on what possibilities lie ahead and asked myself what is the purpose of Streets Revolution?

With that in mind I want to write this to introduce our new mission.

1REVOLUTION

We hope to make this the year we really impact on the world around us.

Our intention at Streets Revolution is simple ~

Change the world, 1 person at a time.

We have always believed that there is strength in Unity. That’s where you come in.
Together we can have an impact both locally and globally.

The call is simple just 1 simple gesture is all it takes to change the world and the people around us.

WE are asking you to join the revolution, let’s show by example the ways it can be done.

1. We are asking those that can to GIVE just £1 or $1 or €1 a month. Or your local currency
It only needs a simple targeted amount to help. We will use the money to provide sports equipment and enhance opportunities, help with educational material and scholarships continue expanding our social groups to help provide food in the UK and for our overseas projects. We also want to create more new inniatives.

2. We also believe that if you ACT sometimes a small gesture of time can have a huge impact. So use 1 hour or 1 day or more to our cause and we will together build a stronger platform. A small ACT when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world. We will provide a list of ways to do this.

3. In the future(see website for details) we want to share these resources it will then allow individuals and groups to TAKE something back. We will offer a percentage of all given donations to others to help in their needs. After all we are all in it together. You may support other causes and issues but we want to help you and we’ll be looking for your suggestions and nominations. It’s the gift that gives twice.

4. People want ways to feel included and BUY allows you do that. Purchase 1 of the variety of items we will sell to help generate needed funds. From sports merchandise to our bottled water (UK ONLY) to Tee Shirts and more.

5. It takes great IDEAS to change the world and we want to encourage you to share those with us in the hope that we can help make them a reality in your community. This will allow us to help with IDEAS and creative solutions to issues you face or see in your community.

6. It can’t be underestimated the SHARE part, from sharing on social media, to ideas and generally becoming a revolutionary in your own community or around the world. There are many ways we can SHARE this message. Become an AMBASSADOR or keep an eye out for our special days to SHARE throughout the year.

Take a photo or make a mini video and use #jointherevolution add our website page link http://www.streetsrevolution.com and encourage your friends to become part of this movement.

I think you get the message. Join us, become a revolutionary and as Ghandi said “Be the Change you want to see in the world”.

Go NOW to our website and explore some more, don’t wait do something extraordinary today, start the year with a purpose.

#jointherevolution

GIVE, ACT, TAKE,IDEAS, BUY, SHARE

6 ways 1 Revolution

What are you going to do?
http://www.streetsrevolution.com

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Leaving a mark

I have met many of the players this week with tattoos of various sizes and styles.

For some they have a deep meaning others are just decorative.

For all they are a permanent reminder of a moment in time, they hold a significance.

One told me.

“It was done by the father of my children”

For all it was something they could tell the story of where and when it was done.

This week has for all the players especially been, we hope one of the lifetime moments.
Memories etched in their hearts, we hope the lessons as well as the experience will be remembered.

When you have a tattoo there is a connection with others that’s a shared experience, I’m over simplifying, but that’s what attending the Homeless World Cup is like for me.

Anyone who has ever attended any of the 12 tournaments will understand.

I find a connection that’s almost impossible to replicate. A glimpse of what the world should be like, it’s more than equality its raising each other up to a higher place and a feeling of belonging unparalleled.

I hope by reading some of the stories that have been shared you have a glimpse of what it means to the players, for each one something different a bit like their tattoos is very personal.

I thank Santiago for giving me and the players, coaches and volunteers an amazing experience that will leave a mark in the heart.

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Melting the Ice man

Nikolai is one of over 7000 plus people in Finland who have or are still homeless.

He has been in the Finnish Football Program for over 2 years now.

To him the adventure of the Homeless World Cup in Chile has meaning beyond football.

“It has been amazing, the people are amazing, the atmosphere is amazing”

Maybe some of the MAGIC we describe is thawing this very guarded man.

Years of addiction and an abusive past has he said left him “protecting myself”

The ice barriers have been built up over many years, abusing drugs to stop from feeling the pain of his past.

He has he confessed ” cried twice this week, the feelings are strong” he added ” to be part of something”

Once during an AA meeting with the Russians and again in the circle of feelings a ritual of the Finnish team, a way of checking in powerful to the players.

He has seen hard times, but has been clean for over two and half years an amazing achievement.

What does Home mean to you I asked?

“Safety, Love and Protection”

“But I don’t think I have that yet, but I have hope that maybe I will one day”

He has a place to live, but is still in his opinion to obtain those feelings.

I asked him if he were Prime Minister for a day, what would he do ?

” I think this is a tough question he said, maybe just provide more social housing, so people have a choice”

He has learnt a lot by being here, only the third time out of his country and the first out of Europe.

This experience he added “has given me hope for my future, I AM something worth caring about”

A huge self affirmation from a very shy character, he has a glimpse of love and wants more.

Maybe it’s the heat in Chile or the warmth of his fellow teammates or the glow of love from the tournament.

Whatever it is, I believe that it may take a while, but the walls of ice are definitely melting around Nikolai’s heart.

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Random Acts of Kindness

Shane quietly and without fuss collected the rubbish at the Homeless World Cup, this unassuming man went about his day making the arena tidier and led by example.

Luckily for me I caught up with him later and managed to have a small conversation.

I asked what prompted him to do it.

He told me of a particular trip in California, where the local campsite was littered with rubbish.

“It upset me that this beautiful landscape was ruined by tourists, ever since then I can’t help but feel compelled to tidy up”. He said.

It was clear that Shane had an awareness of the world and those around him.

Whether it was rubbish or people Shane’s attitude was simple ‘do something’

We talked about how interesting it was to observe the stray dogs wondering around the site, and yet the ‘stray’ people weren’t allowed in the arena.

Outside the hotel a man crashed on the bench we both found it hard to see this man whist everyone else was eating.

He made sure this man had something.

How do you change the world?

One act of kindness at a time.

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