Soccer fans hit the field to raise awareness, funds for Yemen famine crisis

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Soccer fans hit the field to raise awareness, funds for Yemen famine crisis

Dozens of soccer fans laced up on Sunday afternoon to raise funds for the dire humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

A seven-a-side soccer tournament, Goals 4 Yemen brought out around 150 people to the Oakville Soccer Club to raise awareness about the conditions in the impoverished Arab nation — and raise money for milk powder and food that will be distributed directly to Yemenis through the Islamic Humanitarian Service.

"This started out as a conversation between friends to try and help the civilian Yemeni population, especially the women and children who are suffering malnutrition on a wide scale today," said organizer Imtiaz Kermali.

"We know about 68 to 70 per cent of the country is food insecure."

According to the United Nations, two-thirds of the country's population — 18.8 million people — need aid, and more than seven million people are hungry and don't know where their next meal will come from. 

Engulfed in conflict, the coastal country south of Saudi Arabia has seen more than 48,000 people flee from fighting in the past two months alone.

$8K raised so far

Kermali said Goals 4 Yemen has raised more than $7,000 in funding so far, thanks to the contributions of diverse participants from all walks of life, and will be fund raising for four more weeks.

"We've tried to make it a microcosm of the Canadian population... It's not about the colour of your skin or the sect of your religion," he said.

"We have people coming from the east and the west in the GTA, a lot of youth, people of different backgrounds — coming here with one purpose, one goal: To give back to humanity," echoed participant Ahmad Al Abid.