News The Impact of the Homeless World Cup (Part One)

This story is part one of a three part series where we explore the impact on the players who have taken part in the last three Homeless World Cup's in Melbourne (2008), Milan (2009) and Rio (2010).

Time and time again I get asked why invest time and resources in a football program when these children have so many other needs. Its a valid question and one we hope to answer through a series of impact statements written by our partners who work with our players on a daily basis. Quantifying change in a person in terms of their health, their ability to read and write  and their skill base as they seek employment is relatively speaking not too difficult. But how you do you measure self belief? I recently spent three week in Cambodia working on the HFCA program and met up with eleven of the seventeen  players who have represented Cambodia at the Homeless World Cup. Nine of the them now work for HFCA as coaches. It was amazing to see how they interacted with the other boys and girls as they passed on their skills and knowledge. I was very surprised at the change in some of them, the shy quite boys who had been to cities they had never heard off had become confident young men.

Team Cambodia in action in Milan in 2009

Cambodian Children's Fund founder Scott Neeson said the following when asked about the impact the Homeless World Cup had on his students, "The sense of accomplishment, pride in their abilities, not to mention the boost in their self-esteem has carried through to studies and new careers, where their employers have also noticed the increased motivation and initiative. To be given the opportunity to see beyond the walls of their villages and experience the differences between cultures has spurred them on in their geography and history lessons."