Dan’s World Cup

June 23, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
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Journalist and TV documentary-maker Dan Goldberg is on his way to South Africa to film the Soccer World  Cup…but not the one keeping bleary-eyed Australians up each night.

Teresa and Yom Photo: Harbour City Films

The Festival for Hope is a FIFA sponsored event which will take place in Johannesburg coinciding with the last week of soccer World Cup. 32 teams made up from underprivileged teenagers from around the world will participate in a tournament in which there will be no referees.

Dan Goldberg

Goldberg told J-Wire: “It’s FIFA’s way of proving the power of the world game to affect positive social change.”

North One Australia will produce the documentary being made for Foxtel with finance coming from corporate, charitable and government funds.

Australia will be represented by eight members of Football United, established in 2006 at the University of New South Wales by Anne Bunde-Birouste. Goldberg said: “There are hundreds of kids enrolled in the program in NSW and now Football Federation Australia has added their support which will see Football United rolled out across the country.”

Goldberg gave J-Wire background into some of the players. He said: ” The kids are remarkable:

Teresa, 17, is an orphan from Sudan who grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya.

There she met another 17-yr-old girl, Yom, and they became close friends. They were separated but, years later, reunited … in Australia at Football United.

Another kid, Mekhaled, is from a Kuwaiti Bedouin family. They were ordered to leave during the 1991 Gulf war. They went to Iraq but were not accepted there either. Then to Jordan, where they found no refuge. Onwards to Syria where the kid grew up until, finally, Australia offered them refugee status.

There’s a girl from Bhutan, Hemantha, but she has never set foot in her homeland. She grew up in Nepal with thousands of other Bhutanese exiled by the king.

And so it goes. What these kids have endured is harrowing. Now they are representing Australia at the World Cup – it’s a remarkable story…made possible by the foresight and fortitude of Anne Bunde-Birouste.

It’s been truly inspirational filming these kids; it’s a privilege to do this under the guise of “work” and it’s remarkable to see the real power the world game has to change lives. It’s also timely in that refugees and asylum-seekers are back in the headlines and these kids are testament to the fact that Australian society is richer because of them.”

Last year, Goldberg made “Outback United”, a documentary on how football is impacting on the lives of Australian indigenous children.

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