Empowering Nepalese women through sport – Letchworth-based James Harpur Player Support Fund makes a generous donation

Some of the footballers in Nepal that the fundraising is supporting. Picture: Girl Power Futsal Tour

Some of the footballers in Nepal that the fundraising is supporting. Picture: Girl Power Futsal Tournament - Credit: Archant

A push to help empower young Nepalese women through sport has received a handy boost from a Letchworth-based football support fund.

Two of the footballers in Nepal that the fundraising is supporting. Picture: Girl Power Futsal Tourn

Two of the footballers in Nepal that the fundraising is supporting. Picture: Girl Power Futsal Tournament - Credit: Archant

The James Harpur Player Support Fund – named after a Letchworth 18-year-old who died after a car crash in 2012 – has donated $250 towards a futsal tournament set to be held by Girls Empowered by Travel in the capital city Kathmandu on Saturday, June 17.

The fund usually helps families from less privileged backgrounds to meet the cost of things such as training fees and match subsidies so their children can play for James’ old club – Letchworth Garden City Eagles FC.

But James’ sister Laura, one of the fund’s trustees, said the initiative was doing important work to help empower women in Nepal, where sports have traditionally been assumed to be only for boys.

“I believe that giving girls the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge through football is essential,” said Laura.

“It allows them to gain a level of self-worth and an understanding of what they can eventually achieve, while also communicating with others on a regular basis and making friends.

“We’ve never done this for girls before, so it’s a first for us as well. It’s quite hard to support girls’ football here, let alone in a different country.

Most Read

“I think to give those girls something different to do outside of their normal structure and realise it’s not just a one-way street, that’s really cool. I think that’s what they’ll get out of it.”

Futsal is a five-a-side variant of football played on a hard court or indoors, with a heavier ball.

Saturday’s Girl Power Futsal Tournament is a one-day event, but the organisers plan to hold monthly meet-ups and practices.

The project is also supported by Mark Goddard, from Bygrave, who last year donated Letchworth Garden City Eagles and Baldock Town kits to children in the earthquake-hit Nepalese village of Changunarayan.

Mark has put up $250 to support the girls’ futsal programme.

There are 10 all-girl teams set to take part in the tournament, with some 100 participants in all.

The winning team will get a one-day hiking trip in the Sindhupalchowk district, which will include an educational volunteering segment working with local girls and women.

To find out more or make a donation, have a look at youcaring.com/girlsempoweredbytravelnepal-815709.