The Backpacker Intern

New internship: Conquer Rio’s 3 Peaks for Street Children

Via my friend and street soccer legend Rocky Hehakaija (Favela Street Girls) I got in touch with Street Child World Cup. SCWC provides a global platform for the voices of street children to be heard so that they receive the protection and opportunities that all children deserve. Through football, the arts and an international summit for street children’s rights they challenge the negative perceptions and treatment of street children. I immediately loved the initiative and offered them my help.

Header Street Child World Cup - The Backpacker Intern

After reaching out to the team, they really liked my project and offered me an internship. And what kind of internship…Next Saturday I’ll fly from Amsterdam via Houston to Rio. I have a few hours to get used to the new time-zone and climate and then get up reeeeaaaallly early for one of the biggest encounters in my life: The Rio 3 Peaks Challenge.

In 12 hours we will climb the relentless Pedra da Gavea at 840m, the Dois Irmaos at 500m, walk through the Vidigal community and after that our eyes are set on Corcovado at 710m. Our finish line will be at one of the 7 wonders of the world; Cristo Redentor, overlooking Rio city. I will be documenting the trip with my camera, so hopefully the weather is on our side #followthesun.

This is definitely not a walk in the park and I hope I can manage, but knowing why we’re doing it will give me strength. We’re raising money to support the millions of children who live and work on the streets every day.

Here’s what David Beckham has to say about Street Child World Cup:

“I know from personal experience just what power football can have to inspire and change young people’s lives whatever their background or nationality. This is what the Street Child World Cup is all about and I give it my full support.”

If you’d like to support the cause too and feel like donating, please contact Elisa Lamego on  Every little donation will make a big difference for those kids. Let’s give some kuddo’s to them kiddos. Obrigado!

See you next week Brazil!

2 thoughts on “New internship: Conquer Rio’s 3 Peaks for Street Children

  1. Daniela Martinez

    Hi Mark,

    I had the great pleasure of working with SCWC for their Rio tournament and it was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. I am happy you were able to experience the great work that they continue to do to bring attention to children living on the streets.

    Best of luck to you! Such an inspiring life you are living.



    1. Mark van der Heijden Post author

      Hey Daniela,
      You are right, they are just wonderful people. I’m very thankful for being with them and to help with this important cause.
      The look on the faces of the kids when we were playing football with them was just priceless.

      All the best to you!

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