KPMG supports community soccer event for Afghan schoolgirls

24 March 2022 3 min. read
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This Sunday will see two football teams come head-to-head for the very first time, in what could be described as the true meaning of a ‘friendly’. Those in Sydney are invited to come along and support.

Many football fans across Australia will have been eagerly awaiting the latest round of World Cup qualifying fixtures, but the anticipation for one group of young players for an upcoming match will be astronomical. No, not the Socceroos – but a group of more than 20 recently-arrived Afghan schoolgirls who are set to take the pitch this Sunday for an intraschool friendly alongside teammates from Pymble Ladies’ College in Sydney.

With support from Pymble and professional services firm KPMG, the Village Championship and Afghan Cultural Festival is an initiative of Her Village Foundation, founded by KPMG partner Tim Thomas.

KPMG supports community soccer event for Afghan schoolgirls

In addition to the match, the day will feature an opening ceremony from 1pm with inspiring speeches and live Afghan music, along with traditional Afghan activities such as kite making and food trucks serving up local cuisine.

“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,” 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.”

Thomas described the Her Village Foundation as a movement of the younger generations in the community to solve a really complex problem in our social structure. “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, and the opportunity it gives the refugees to share their rich culture with the local community, is according to Thomas just the first in many such planned Her Village initiatives to bring people together to provide support, with the aim of enabling new bonds of friendship through sport and cultural exchange and by offering mentorship and professional assistance to inspire a new generation of female leaders.

“We want people to attend, to engage with the activities as well as the players and families they meet, to be open-minded to learning and come with an open heart,” said Pymble Ladies’ College student Tahmara Thomas, who helped to initiate and organise the event. “The support that we have received from Pymble, KPMG and our other sponsors and well-wishers have warmed our hearts and signifies the importance of this day.”

Thomas’s enthusiasm and commitment easily swayed the college to get on board with the initiative, with principal Kate Hadwen stating, “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. We look forward to welcoming our new friends from Afghanistan to our community on Sunday.”