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2006.11.16
The football field at the Zheng Zhou Street Children Protection Centre has yet to be built; and none of these children are properly dressed to play a sport that attracts millions of fans across the globe.But still, they are happy to be out there. Not long ago, many of them were wandering the streets. Surviving was a daily struggle, and playing any kind of sports – was an impossible dream.16-year-old Zhang Kai had many dreams, but after the divorce of his parents, he found himself alone and helpless amid this city of 7 million people. Soundbite (Chinese), Zhang Kai, 16, former street child:“I came here with my mom. She treated me bad, so I left her and started wandering on the streets.” Although escaped from abuse, but like all street children, he had to find a way to support himself. Soundbite (Chinese), Zhang Kai, 16, former street child: “I found a job at a little restaurant. They treated me pretty well - offered me food and a place to stay. I even got paid.” Life took a turn for the better after he arrived at this UNICEF-supported Street Children Protection Centre. It’s a safe place where children like Zhang Kai can grow, learn, and have fun.While studying to become a computer operator, he also discovered the power of football. Soundbite (Chinese), Zhang Kai, 16, former street child: “I love football. First, it can make me stronger; second, it helps me make many friends. I hope when David Beckham retires, I will be the new Beckham.” During the past 10 years, the centre has helped more than 8,000 street children, helping them acquire useful skills while finding families for the younger ones. Soundbite (Chinese), Xie Xiaowei, Deputy Director of Zheng Zhou Street Children Protection Centre:“What we are trying to do is to help these children return to mainstream society one day. We wish for them to grow up healthy and become useful.” For Zhang Kai and his friends, the misery of a street life has been left far behind. They now spend their days looking ahead to a much brighter future. Ends *** Asset Name : UNICEF: China Youth Football Profile Asset Duration: 02 min 19 secs Shoot City: N/A Shoot Country: N/A Shoot Date: N/A
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