They did it! Team South India are the 2019 Street Child Cricket World Cup Champions! The first team to win this special competition, Shama, Bhavani, Irfan, Mani and their teammates from Chennai, will be written into the history books for their amazing achievement.
Read on for the full write up of Team South India’s visit to the UK, provided by Magic Bus India’s own Parvati Pujari, and Magic Bus UK supporter Anne Makepeace.
Team South India
When we received the news that there was an opportunity to attend and play in the Street Child Cricket World Cup 2019 held in Cambridge and at
The first challenge was to secure birth certificates for all four children and their families before applying for their passports and then their visas. As most of the family’s documentation was missing, it was a
The Mankhurd youths were selected from a group of 2,000 in their community after four rounds of interviews to play for Team South India using the following criteria:
Attendance at Magic Bus sessions
Familiarity with the concerns of their community and a willingness to communicate and share these with their peers
Our first outing as a team and their first plane ride landed them in Chennai. The other half of Team South India was from the shelter Karunalaya Social Service Society which has been rescuing boys and girls from the streets and train stations of Chennai for the last 24 years. They welcomed us into their shelter home and arranged a specialized cricket coach, a choreographer for the South Indian cultural dance performance they would perform in Cambridge, warm meals and lodging. They trained twice a day for four hours. It was there on the pitch, at dance practice, over meals and during a friendly match at the residence of the Deputy British High Commissioner’s home (they won the match against the staff of course!) that they learned to work and play together, share their stories and really prepare for their upcoming life journey.
Team South India celebrate their victory over the British
Visiting the sites in London.
Once in London, the teams commuted
Team South India played three matches the first day and all of the three matches they won (1. West Indies vs South India, 2. Nepal vs South India, 3. Bangladesh vs South India).
In the second day, we played four matches and the team won three having lost to Team England (1. Mauritius vs South India, 2. Tanzania vs South India, 3. England vs South India).
We were leading at the top of the tables reaching the
On a glorious and sunny final day, the teams were to play on
Our team was presented their medals by Monty Panesar in the Long Room at Lords. One young girl and boy from each team was awarded for their sportsmanship as well. It was wonderful to hear the roar inside the room, the excitement and the warmth of all.
Holding the trophy high with their partners from Chennai, we went on to the Congress portion of the day. Each country’s representative spoke about street-connected children and their basic rights in front of NGOs, government authorities and TV networks. The Tanzanian youth leader,
“The hands that before were raised to hit us will now salute us”
The speaker from Karunalaya Shelter in Chennai said the following during the Congress:
If you respect us you will listen to us. If you listen to us, you will protect us. Please protect us.”
For our four youths, the 10 days brought about dramatic changes. They started out more confident than other groups but became even more so as the days and wins progressed. They enjoyed learning about new countries, meeting their contemporaries from other nations, working well not to let language barriers come in the way at all, and expressing themselves in this very new and foreign environment.
The two extra days spent in London after the events saw the group visit Centre Court at Wimbledon and sit in the
Our team members shared their thoughts below:
Shama had kept a detailed journal of all the events and challenges during the World Cup which she shared. She took note of so many new experiences happening all around her.
Bhavani spoke about having had this special opportunity to show her community that young girls can step outside the home, dress for sporting success, and compete with young boys on a level playing field. There were equal opportunities on and off the pitch and this is exactly what the Magic Bus has taught her year after year. This she hopes will become
Irfan was given a prize for Fair Play. Although he did not play in the final game at Lords, he stood respectfully draped in the Indian flag with his hand over his heart for the duration of both the English and Indian anthems.
Mani, the Vice Captain along with Captain Paul Raj of our Chennai partners found that he could lead, wishes to play professionally and is very keen to share with the others the glory of winning! He became an advocate for his dream of being a player by speaking with Monty Panesar who shared his manager’s details with him. He was also quoted as saying…
“Our team is really strong because the women in our team form the pillar,” explains
(Telegraph UK May 6, 2019)
Team South India
Their return was all the more exciting when the staff on the Air India flight realized they had a winning team on board. The pilots announced the teams victory to a standing ovation on the plane, photos with the pilots followed and then there was the homecoming at Chhatrapati Shivaji airport where over 30 people from Mankhurd Community came to receive them with white and red garlands.
Also waiting was a Forbes Magazine reporter asking them to interview right off the bat. The team was so well practiced that even after a very long flight they were able to express their gratitude for such an opportunity both to play cricket at an international level and to have a platform to voice the concerns of all street-connected children to the press.
It takes a village to undertake, organize, jump hurdles and overcome challenges to get to the finish line in order to participate in such an inspiring opportunity. We would like to thank Rupesh Desai (Deputy General Manager, International Partnerships, Magic Bus India) and Victoria Southwell (Director, Magic Bus UK) who encouraged us and never said no. They helped to make the impossible possible with little funding at the start but big dreams fulfilled at the end. Thank you for believing that we could accomplish such a feat. The gold cup was just a bonus for Team South India, Mankhurd Community and the Magic Bus. Thank you also to the Programme team and Communications Team who posted daily on social media the status of the games and the lessons being learned for all.
Below you will find some of the informative and inspiring media reports that covered the Street Child Cricket World Cup events leading up to and during the games.
So here is to the next Cricket World Cup to be held in 2023 in India. We hope the Magic Bus will send a team to compete in the Street Child Cricket World Cup 2023 so we may share with others the principles of the Magic Bus that every child should be safe, respected, supported and have a productive journey in life from their Childhood to their Livelihood and beyond. After
With warm cheers and great celebration,
Parvati and Anne
Sky Sports: The Street Child Cricket World Cup
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