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Street children take heroes on at their game

Published Jan 15, 2002


By Allister Arendse

About 70 Cape Town street children played against some of the greatest sporting legends on Tuesday.

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Former United States 400m hurdler Edwin Moses, former British decathlon world champion Daley Thompson, former Argentine flyhalf Hugo Porta and former Springbok rugby captain Morne du Plessis were among the celebrities who introduced the street children to the basics of sport.

The sports personalities are ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, a charity that runs 10 programmes across the globe for the upliftment of children.

Thompson said he had been impressed with the natural talent of the street children when they played a game of soccer with members of the academy.

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"The kids were fantastic. With proper coaching, their skills can be developed," he said.

The joy was evident on the children's faces as they took part in a number of watersports and other activities with the visitors.

The watersports included surfskiing, sailing and kayaking on the Sandvlei.

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Edward Campher, 19, said he had been inspired by Street Universe to change his life.

"With Street Universe I can do it," he said.

"Previously, no one was caring for us."

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The foundations has given first-year funding of almost R1-million to Street Universe, which provides support and opportunities for children living on the street.

Street Universe's director, Paddy Upton, said some of the funding had been received three months ago and had been put to good use.

"Thanks to the funding, we've purchased two vehicles for transporting kids, introduced children to various sports and brought in three additional staff members."

Moses said that since their arrival on Monday, the foundation's ambassadors had gained an insight into the hardships of children living on the streets of Cape Town.

"The positive impact of Street Universe on these young people is obvious - not only in helping them realise their own potential, but in inspiring a sense of hope and joy," he said.

Upton said it was hoped that the attention gained by this venture would encourage NGOs working with children to help each other and move forward together.

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