“I wanted to raise awareness for everything that’s going on back home.”

South East Parakeets FC take on the ultimate football challenge to raise money for a cause close to their hearts.

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© UNHCR/Aristophane Ngargoune

South East Parakeets FC, a women’s football club based in southeast London, are no ordinary football club. On Sunday 26th September they held a monstrous 5-hour 5 a-side football challenge to raise money for UK for UNHCR to support refugees and displaced families from Afghanistan. 

The Parakeets’ players watched the heartbreaking scenes in Afghanistan unfold on the news, and saw images of desperate families across social media. But for the club the crisis hit closer to home, given that two of their players grew up and have family there. 

“We all saw the devastating footage of Afghanistan in the news recently, and with two of our players actually growing up in Afghanistan, it was a cause that was really important to us,” said Amy Doyle, SE Parakeets FC Captain and co-founder. 

As a club that provides opportunities for women of all ages and abilities to play football, they pride themselves on their values of positivity, inclusivity and diversity. As women and LGTBQ+ people are particularly vulnerable in Afghanistan, groups which are close to the hearts of the team, they knew they wanted to do something to help.  

“It’s something that’s really close to our hearts as a community and football team. I think sometimes it’s so hard to figure out how to do something, how to make a difference, so we thought, ‘Right! Football!’” 

Ayesha, a Parakeets FC player who grew up in Afghanistan said: 

“The reason why I wanted this match to actually happen was because I wanted to raise enough money, donations and awareness for everything that’s going on back home. Anything to get the word out there so people know what’s going on.” 

The team, their family, friends and members of the local community came together and smashed their original fundraising target, sensationally raising over £2,500 for displaced Afghans.  

You can still support the Parakeets 5-hour challenge by visiting their JustGiving page. 

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