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UK Entrepreneur saves South African Team

Homeless World Cup: UK Entrepreneur saves South African Team

Penny Streeter OBE stepped in and paid for the air travel for the South African football team today when their government funding was suddenly withdrawn for the flight of the 10-man squad to the Homeless World Cup in Italy next week. Once homeless herself, UK entrepreneur Penny Streeter's company Ambition 24hours is a major investor in South Africa.

The Homeless World Cup, Milan 2009, runs from 6th to 13th September, with 500 players from 48 nations. An estimated 100 million people worldwide are homeless.

Penny Streeter lived in a homeless refuge with her three children before starting her company in 1996. She is founder and managing director of Ambition 24hours, a medical staffing agency with a turnover of 70 million (year to June 2009), and no loans or external investors. The company opened offices in South Africa in 2004 and launched an 11 million investment programme.

" I read that funding by the City of Cape Town stopped because of huge demands on their budgets in the recession, so I felt I had to step in. Homelessness is a terrible waste of good people, usually overtaken by events with which they just can't cope - in the UK, one in four of the homeless are ex-military. It's a problem which should get more attention, given British involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq," said Penny Streeter.

South Africa hosted the Homeless World Cup in Cape Town 2006. The domestic league now involves 100 volunteers and activities in various communities of Cape Town and the Western Cape focusing on education, social support and HIV awareness for street children. The league has grown to involve over 700 players in 55 teams: 50 per cent of the players are currently living on the street, a number of them are in drug rehabilitation programmes and others in institutions for street people.

SAHSS (South African Homeless Street Soccer) has successfully used football to foster healthy individual development, teach positive values and life skills, strengthen education, and prevent disease through education - particularly HIV/AIDS.

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