INSP co-founder Mel Young becomes Ashoka Fellow

Chile Men’s team win Homeless World Cup.
Photo: Elaine Livingstone

INSP and Big Issue in Scotland co-founder Mel Young has been elected to the prestigious position of Ashoka Fellow.

Ashoka is the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs. Nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries are currently putting their system-changing ideas into practice on a global scale.

Young was nominated for the prestigious position by thanks to his ongoing innovative work on the Homeless World Cup.

First dreamed up at the INSP conference in Cape Town in 2001, the Homeless World Cup uses the universal language of football to bring together homeless people from around the world each year for a tournament that breaks down barriers and smashes stereotypes.

Mel Young & Dominicus Hangara
Photo: Danielle Batist

It uses the power of football to energise homeless people so they can change their own lives.

The first event in 2003 saw 17 countries compete, sourcing teams from wherever they could.

Now, Young works with partners in 73 countries across a network that has initiated, supported and catalysed a wave of professionalised homeless leagues around the world. Finalists are then selected to represent their countries.

Through these many partners, the lives of some 250,000 homeless football players are touched each year.

This year’s tournament was held in Santiago, Chile in October and saw 432 players come together for an exciting week-long tournament. Both the women’s and men’s competitions were eventually won by the home nation.