Two talented girls’ football teams will go head-to-head at Pymble Ladies’ College this Sunday – but this will be a game with a difference, with more than 20 recently-arrived Afghan schoolgirls taking to the pitch in mixed teams with Pymble students in the friendly match.
The Her Village Championship and Afghan Cultural Festival will give newly arrived Afghan refugees an opportunity to share their rich culture with their new neighbours through storytelling, music, food and other activities.
Her Village founder and partner at KPMG Tim Thomas stated that he, as well as many other Australians, were moved by the plight of Afghan citizens who were affected by the resurgence of the Taliban.
“This is where Her Village Foundation steps in,” Mr Thomas said.
“Her Village Foundation is a movement of the younger generations of our community to solve a really complex problem in our social structure today. So many in our community want to make a difference but don’t know how to. We have a potential microcosm of global change at our doorsteps with the brave stories of these recently arrived refugees. And now a platform to make a real change – through something as simple as football.”
The Village Championship is the first of many such planned initiatives of Her Village Foundation to bring the Australian community closer together to support refugees through wellbeing services, enabling new bonds of friendship through sport and cultural exchange, and offering mentorship and professional support to inspire a new generation of female leaders.
Pymble Ladies’ College student Tahmara Thomas, a key organiser of the event, said The Village Championship was the culmination of hard work and the urge to make a difference in the community.
“The support that we have received from Pymble, KPMG and our other sponsors and well-wishers have warmed our hearts and signify the importance of this day. We want people to attend, to engage with the activities, as well as the players and families they meet, be open-minded to learning and come with an open heart.
“I wanted to do something, use the education that I’ve been blessed with, to bring about change. Through this day, my team and I hope to spread a greater awareness for the crisis in Afghanistan and more generally, the human rights issues people face across the world. Even though we are geographically removed from these hotspots in Afghanistan, we can still contribute in our small ways by taking action, raising awareness, and empowering people who have been victims to various misfortunes.”
Pymble’s Principal, Dr Kate Hadwen said the College didn’t hesitate to support the initiative, which exemplifies the College’s intent to nurture compassionate and influential young women who have the academic, emotional, social and digital intelligence to make the world a better place for all.
“When I look at the work our Pymble girls are doing in terms of breaking bias, creating opportunities for equality and lifting up other girls and women who need support, I see great hope for the future,” said Dr Hadwen.
“Tahmara’s passion and commitment to extending the hand of friendship to newly-arrived refugees from Afghanistan and honouring their stories of courage and sacrifice is a testament to the power of one. It may take a village to raise a child but it takes one person to stand up, speak out and enlist others to make a difference in the world. We look forward to welcoming our new friends from Afghanistan to our community on Sunday,” Dr Hadwen said.
All parents, students and community members are warmly invited to support the event.
“We have had tremendous support from students, parents and teachers – who all see this as a unique opportunity to make a genuine and purposeful difference,” Mr Thomas said.
“I am confident that the game will be the first of many as the momentum builds and support continues, and I urge parents to really get behind and support their kids to be a part of this initiative and come along on the day – it can be life-changing on so many levels.”
The Village Championship runs over three days. Day 3, 27 March 2022, is open to the public and will feature the football match between the girls, as well as traditional Afghan activities such as kite making and tea making. Food trucks will serve Afghan food.
The day will begin with an opening ceremony featuring inspiring speakers and live traditional Afghan music at Pymble Ladies’ College Theatre at 1.45pm, followed by the match at 2.30pm.
Tickets for the event are $20 and can be purchased here.
Funds raised will go towards supporting Her Village Foundation.
Her Village Foundation is proudly supported by Pymble Ladies’ College and KPMG.