This slideshow requires Adobe Flash Player 9.0 (or higher). JavaScript must be enabled.

 

Giving Back to the Community

The Philippines Street Child World Cup Team

Photographer: Mark R. Cristino

 

Head coach Ronalyn and her Philippines girls' Street Child World Cup soccer team on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 were defeated 2-0 by England in the third place playoff, bringing their SCWC run to an end. While the team would have hoped to conclude their trip to Russia on a winning note, their results and performances at the tournament in Moscow have made the team managers, their supporters and well wishers back home immensely proud. Their journey to Russia was the culmination of years of work for head coach Ronalyn, who four years prior, at the second edition of the SCWC, had yet to swap her boots for her clipboard. She scored the crucial goal against Mozambique in the semi-final of the 2014 World Cup to help her team qualify for the final, which they would lose to hosts Brazil.

 

Despite the defeats, their performance and journey to the showcase tournaments are a source of inspiration to young Filipinos looking to escape the urban poverty in their homeland. Ronalyn grew up as a street child roaming Payatas, one of the largest dumpsites and poorest areas of the Filipino capitaly city Manila, spending her days scavenging for plastic in order to help her family, who ran a junk shop to make ends meet. On one of her scavenger hunts, she stumbled upon a football clinic held by the Fairplay For All Foundation, a non-governmental organization working in the communities of Payatas. She is now on a varsity scholarship entering one of the Philippines top universities, University of Santo Tomas, studying for a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education.

 

Rose Ann, Ronalyn’s younger sister, was curious when she saw her sister take up football, which despite its recent growth in popularity, remains very much niche sport in the southeast Asian island nation, trailing the more popular basketball, boxing and badminton. She would later join her sister at the football clinics, and was part of the nine-girl team competing and representing their nation in Russia. Rose Ann's determination to overcome her impoverished background, and to help others do the same, has much to do with the lessons and opportunities provided by the Fairplay For All Foundation, which was founded by British nationals Roy Moore and Naomi Tomlinson.

 

The foundation tries to help children in Payatas beat the cycle of poverty, providing them with a safe environment, education, exercise and opportunities to dream big. At first Fairplay was focused only on football, but the foundation has grown over the years, developing a school of its own, registering with the Alternative Learning System, and opening a cafe and sports center. Fairplay co-founder Roy Moore coached the Philippines team Street Child World Cup team in 2014, and is now the team's manager, having passed on coaching duties to his former player Ronalyn. After finishing second in 2014, Roy tempered the girls' hopes ahead of the tournament in Russia. In addition to football training, Roy led seminars during the training camp on different topics such as addiction, child trauma and stress, explaining why it happens and how best to deal with them.

 

The Street Child World Cup is held every four years prior to the FIFA World Cup. It began in 2010 in South Africa, bringing together teams of street children across the continents to raise awareness, remove the stigmas associated with them and provide them with the opportunities they have been denied.