For those who can't wait for the soccer World Cup in 2010 in South Africa, there's a different type of World Cup going on this year Down Under.
This year, Melbourne is hosting the annual the Homeless World Cup, an international event featuring 500 footy players from 48 countries. The catch? Every one of the competitors is homeless.
The Homeless World Cup began in 2003, when The Big Issue magazine founder Mel Young decided it was time to take action and change the lives of homeless people worldwide through an internationally loved sport. According to Young, 75 percent of homeless participants give up drug and alcohol dependence and find jobs or go to school after the competitions are over. About 25,000 homeless people participate in soccer events around the world before the top teams are invited in attend the annual World Cup.
Voluntour group Hands Up Holidays offers a 17-day trip (November 29-December 15) that combines sightseeing on Australia's east coast with volunteering at the Homeless World Cup. From November 29 to December 7, participants will work at the World Cup, doing various projects ranging from coordinating the media and catering to working in the locker rooms. After the World Cup is over, participants will get one day to enjoy Melbourne before flying to Sydney for a few days and then on to Cairns (to see the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest). The voluntour adventure officially ends on December 15, with options to extend your stay (about $3,200).
Hands Up Tours offers plenty of other voluntour trips around the world, like teaching English in China or Romania, helping AIDS/HIV relief in Ghana, and even combining honeymoons with volunteer projects!
For more information visit HandsUpHolidays.com.
Photo: Homeless World Cup