On Saturday 10th June, FURD is hosting a fundraising women's football tournament - and one of the participating teams is coming all the way from Bethlehem.
The Diyar team was founded by players at Bethlehem University in 2008. It is one of the West Bank's leading teams and many of their players are in the Palestine national women's team. They are coming on tour to the UK with support from Liverpool Friends of Diyar.
In 2014, two women's football teams, Easton Cowgirls from Bristol and Republica Internationale from Leeds, toured the West Bank area of Palestine to play against Diyar and other women's teams.
They saw what life was like in towns and villages under Israel's military occupation. In particular they found out some of the issues facing women wanting to play football in Palestine.
On their return they made a film, 'Balls, Barriers and Bulldozers' about their experience. The film was shown by FURD in March 2016 as part of our Female Football Festival, and the DVD can be borrowed from FURD's Resources and Information Centre.
Inspired by the film, Liverpool Friends of Palestine took on the daunting task of organising and fundraising for this groundbreaking tour. The team will visit and play matches in Bristol, Bath, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and London on the tour.
After playing in Leeds on Friday 9th June, Diyar will join women's teams from FURD, AFC Unity, Republica Internationale and others in a friendly 5-a-side tournament at the U-Mix Centre between 1pm and 4pm on Saturday 10th June. Supporters are welcome. The teams are working together to plan and organise the tournament. Any funds raised will be donated to children's charities in Palestine and to FURD.
We are also linking up with Small Park, BIG RUN, a 24-hour non-stop group run being held in nearby Meersbrook Park to raise money for Palestinian women's and children's charities from 10th-11th June. Follow the link below for more information. The Diyar team is set to open the run in Meersbrook Park at 11.30am on 10th June, then to take part in a penalty shoot-out in Meersbrook Park to mark the end of the run at about 10.30am on Sunday 11th.
Please consider supporting the tour, the tournament or the run in whatever way you can. The links below provide more information on how you can help or get involved. The tournament flyer can be seen at the Twitter and Facebook links below.