BLUE WING -WINGS FOR CHANGE- 「Soccer World Cup for Homeless people. Where Lives Can Change.」

MOVIE

Mel Young

True to its name, the annual Homeless World Cup is for and about those who live on the street. Win or lose there are medals for all - this world cup is about turning their lives around. The unusual event, brainchild of Mel Young, is revolutionizing approaches to homelessness around the world.

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Flight Support will allow hundreds of homeless in Asia to join soccer competitions and escape homelessness.

Mel Young

STORY OF CHANGEMAKING

Bringing homeless to the world stage via soccer

imageIn my native Scotland, the issue of fairness is part of our DNA. So starting the Scottish edition of “The Big Issue”, a street paper sold by the homeless, and getting involved in homeless causes came naturally to me. I've long believed we need innovative solutions to the extreme economic inequality wrought by globalization. To build a fairer society, a new system is needed.

In 2001, after our conference in Capetown, South Africa, I went out for a beer with my colleague, that’s when we hit upon the idea of a Homeless World Cup. Homeless people often have trouble with attending formal programs. But we thought soccer would be an easy way to engage them; open doors to job training and alcoholism rehab, and returning to a normal life. The next morning, we vowed to carry through. And two years later, in 2003, we organized the first Homeless World Cup, in Graz, Austria.

Life is also about losing. Learning from mistakes is life-changing

imageOur athletes are typically in their early 20s, although they range from 16 to 70. Their backgrounds vary widely. They come from orphanages, the military, mental hospitals and prisons. Many have alcohol and substance abuse issues. But we never criticize or judge. We just ask, “Wanna play football?” and welcome them in.

Once they start coming to practice, they naturally open up about themselves and start to build self-respect. Homeless people don't believe they will succeed at anything. Even world-class athletes lose sometimes. What makes them great is that they learn from defeat about how to win next time. Losing is part of life. That's something we need homeless people to grasp; learning to lose.

We give every participant a medal. The point is not about creating a wonderful football competition, nor about winning or losing. It's about changing people's lives. In fact, 70% of our participants say the program has dramatically changed their lives. They are going to work, returning to school and finding new meaning in their lives.

Using the power of soccer, I want to make as big an impact as possible

imageOur participation has grown to 100,000 men and women a year, in 74 countries. Our goal is 10 million players. Participants are only allowed to compete in the world cup once, because the purpose is to get them off the street. But a lot of our alumni not only return to society but also come back to us as team managers, serving as important leaders and role models.

I aim to increase the number of countries participating, and to expand our world cup venues in Asia. We have also started an important new initiative, the Homeless World Cup Supporters Club. Similar to a football fan club, membership fees will be used to support homeless people.

Anyone can play soccer anywhere. It is truly a world sport. That's why I believe football has the power to improve life for homeless people.

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PROFILE

Portrait of Mel Young

Mel Young

Published “The Big Issue” in Scotland, a street paper sold by homeless people around the world; then organized the Homeless World Cup in 2003. From a start of 18 countries, the event now attracts participation from 74 countries. Luminaries from the international sports world, including world-class athletes and elite soccer clubs, serve as partners and sponsors. During his flights, Mel's affable personality often wins him new world cup supporters from among his fellow passengers.

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ANA BLUE WING
2018.02.10
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Border crossing Remember Mel's Ugandan Homeless World Cup team stranded in Nairobi? Mel says: “Luckily, a wonderful man from the airline arrived and said: ‘I am personally taking responsibility, they come with me.’ He just walked them straight through the passport gate in Nairobi and put them on the plane. Sanity prevailed and we made the competition. We have these moments...” https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/mel_young/ #mel #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.02.05
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Crossing borders Mel tells a story of homeless Ugandan footballers flying to the Homeless World Cup in Rio via Nairobi and Johannesburg. “There stood an official in Nairobi saying you need transit visas in Johannesburg, and without them you can't get on the plane, even though you won't be leaving the airport. We offered to pay for the visas there and then, but he insisted we had to do this at the office in town, and that the process would take three days. We'd miss the flight and the competition. This guy was immovable.” Did they make it to the tournament? And how? To be continued…. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/mel_young/ #mel #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.01.30
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Becoming Homeless Captain: Kelly’s Story Meet Steven Kelly, Scotland's captain at this year's Homeless World Cup in Oslo. "I started using drugs when I was 15, and had no idea where they would take me or the downward spiral they would send me on. After 13 years of usage, prison and mental illness, eventually rehab and the Homeless World Cup helped me to get clean again. I couldn't believe it when the Scotland team manager called me over and asked me to be captain - I though he was going to tell me off!" Support ANA BLUE WING and help Mel help more homeless people from crisis to captaincy. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/mel_young/ #mel #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2017.12.04
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Everyone Makes Mistakes. They are accepted in the Homeless World Cup: the point is to overcome and move on from them. Mel says: "In a really litigious atmosphere, people won't admit to mistakes in case they get sued. In my opinion this just encourages dishonesty. It's no way to run an organization." Donate your Wings miles to ANA BLUE WING and help everyone move on from their mistakes, especially the homeless. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/mel_young/ #mel #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2017.11.24
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Mel’s Favourite Book “Talent Lab”, Owen Slott Not an actual laboratory, but the title of Mel's favourite book written by Owen Slot. Subtitled 'The secret to finding, creating and sustaining success', it describes how, at the Rio Olympics, Team GB and ParalympicsGB managed to surpass their fantastic achievements in the 2012 London Games. "It describes the ideas and techniques behind this great team success, and how ordinary individuals and businesses can use these techniques themselves. It's incredibly inspiring; we put it to good use in the Homeless World Cup." https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/mel_young/ #mel #ANABLUEWING

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