Chennai: Team South India became the world champions of the Street Child Cricket World Cup, 2019, and created history in Lord’s cricket ground, London. The glorious victory comes after months of rigorous training. The event was organised by Street Child United in the UK. Street Child Cricket World Cup, 2019, which was conducted between April 30-May 7 this year saw teams from 10 nations battle it out for the coveted trophy.
The cricket format is called street 20 cricket, where 8 member squad, having an equal number of boys and girls play 5 overs of 4 balls each.
Team South India consisted of four children from Chennai and four children from Mumbai. The 4 children from Chennai - V.Paulraj, K.Suryaprakash, A.Nagalakshmi and B.Monisha - were mentored by Karunalaya, a non-profit organisation based in Chennai.
Team South India played against Bangladesh in the semi-finals and was pitted against England in the finals. The final match at the grounds of Lord’s was memorable for these kids in many ways.
They were given the dressing room where Team India usually prepared and the children sat at the same place where ace cricketer Rahul Dravid sat before he scored a century at Lord’s in 2011. “Our children have proved that if given an opportunity they could be champions and make our country proud. I am very happy for the children, as they are suffering on the streets of our country. Now we hope street children will be respected,” says N.Paul Sunder Singh, founder and secretary of Karunalaya.
He says it was quite a struggle to fund their trip to London and they had to borrow money for the flights. He adds that their aim is to make the voices of these street children count, for which they have been working for the past 24 years.The victory was significant for the children as it not only brought to light their talents but also provided a platform for their voices to be heard.At the general assembly of street children B. Monisha from Chennai spoke about hardships of living on the streets without shelter, food and water and the risk of abuse they had to face every day. She concluded saying “If you respect us, you will listen to us. If you listen to us, you will protect us. Please protect us.”