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Bangladesh Street Child Cricket Team in London

Ansar Ahmed Ullah:

8 children, 4 boys and 4 girls, arrived in London on 29 April from Dhaka to represent Bangladesh in the Street Child Cricket World Cup. It is the first time a team of children who have survived on the streets in Bangladesh have come to take part in an international sports tournament.

A reception to welcome cricket team of children from Bangladesh was held on Monday 29th April 2019 at Level 39, Canary Wharf, East London. The special reception was held by Canary Wharf Group and the UK-based charity ‘Friends of Street Children Bangladesh’ to welcome children’s cricket team from Bangladesh taking part in the Street Child Cricket World Cup 2019.

The cricket games during the tournament will be with children from eight other countries. The games are being held in Cambridge, with a final at Lords Cricket Ground. The children from Bangladesh will play a concluding game with Members of the British Parliament who are part of the Bangladesh All Party Parliamentary Group. During the tournament the children hope to tell people that children should not have to stay on the street. Children need shelter, safety, love and education.

It has been a long journey for the children. For example, Rasel originally lived in a village 120 miles from Dhaka. He came to Dhaka alone by train at the age of just11. His mother lives abroad and he has never known his father. When he came to Dhaka, he worked as a porter at the railway station. He used to stay overnight at the station. He did not like living on the streets because there were a lot of quarrels amongst the children, especially about food. An outreach worker from LEEDO found him and he moved to a transitional shelter before coming to the LEEDO Peace Home, where he has lived for two and a half years.

Sonia was a domestic helper from the age of seven. She ran away from her employer at the age of ten because her employer used to torture her, for example beating her and pulling her hair. She came to Dhaka alone by train. In Dhaka she used to find food from street stalls. She was sitting in the station when somebody found her and took her to a shelter. When the shelter closed because of lack of funds she moved to the LEEDO Peace Home, where she has lived for three and a half years.

This is the first time the children have ever been on a plane. They did not imagine it would be possible to get the opportunity to come to England to play cricket They are looking forward to meeting the teams from other countries, to talking to them about cricket, and introducing them to Bangladesh.

The children taking part in the tournament all now live at a long-term Peace Home for children who were surviving on the streets. The Home is run by LEEDO, a Dhaka based NGO that has been working with children on the streets of Dhaka since 2010.

UK charity Friends of Street Children, Bangladesh have raised the funds to support the participation of children from LEEDO Peace Home in the Street Child Cricket World Cup. During the tournament Friends of Street Children Bangladesh aim to raise more funds for

The cricket tournament is being organised by Street Child United who aim to change people’s negative perceptions of street children, inspiring a brighter, safer future for street-connected children everywhere. Teams from Democratic Republic of Congo, England, India, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Nepal, West Indies and Tanzania will take part in the Street Child Cricket World Cup. It is the first time a team from Bangladesh has taken part in a Street Child United sporting event. The main sponsors of the team from Bangladesh are University of West England.