The ‘Stand with Palestine’ initiative, led by students of Qatar Academy Doha (QAD), raised QR20m following a highly successful event at the Education City Stadium yesterday.
The initiative, aimed at raising funds to support Palestinian people, was attended by more than 27,000 people at the Qatar 2022 venue, which also saw a number of celebrities and students in action during a friendly match between Qatar and Palestine.
The event was attended by Minister of Sports and Youth H E Salah bin Ghanim Al Ali, Vice-Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation (QF) H E Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, and other dignitaries.
Spectators hold Palestinian flags during the match at Education City Stadium, yesterday.
The fundraising initiative, launched by students of Qatar Academy Doha (QAD), part of QF’s Pre-University Education, aimed to involve the local community and give them the opportunity to show their solidarity with the people of Palestine.
Proceeds from the ticket sales of the football match will go towards supporting relief efforts for Palestinians. And for those who wished to donate more than the ticket price, the initiative in collaboration with Qatar Charity, released a special online link where people could donate directly to the official channels dedicated to relief efforts in Palestine.
The initiative’s flagship football showdown featured QAD and Palestinian school students play alongside local and international players, media personalities, and social media influencers including Rodrigo Tabata, Yaqub Bushahri, Mohammed Saadoun Al Kuwari, Ali Al Habsi, and Yassin Ibrahimi who were divided into two teams — Qatar and Palestine.
Over 100 students from QAD volunteered at the event under the supervision of school teachers. The Asian Football Confederation provided the volunteers with training, like the one received by World Cup volunteers.
Among the audience who attended the initiative was Wafa Hosni Jaber, a Palestinian from the city of Tulkarm who has lived in Qatar for more than 20 years.
“It is not strange for Qatar to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in all ways, and this charitable event takes us back to last year’s World Cup, with the same atmosphere, in which Palestine had a strong presence and we saw our country’s flag in the stands of the matches.”
She added: “Our presence here today sends a clear message to our people in Palestine — expressing our solidarity with them, and that we will never abandon the Palestinian cause and that it is our priority.”
Mustafa Khatib, who was also in attendance, said: “We are living in a very difficult time due to the brutal aggression against our people in Palestine, and our participation in such an initiative is the least we can do to support the Palestinian people. And we thank all those in charge of this initiative, especially since it is a student and youth-led initiative which reflects what we have always known — unconditional support from the Qatari people.”
The initiative included a variety of events, activities, and performances. It began with a musical act with a Palestinian theme performed by artists Nasser Al Kubaisi, Dana Al Meer, Nesma Emad, and Hala Al Imadi, presenting the songs “Palestine is Arab” and “My Homeland.” It also featured a display of illuminated drones, and prize draws during half time of the match.
The initial half of the match, spanning 30 minutes, concluded with both teams deadlocked at 2-2. Qatar seized an early lead in the fourth minute, courtesy of former national team captain Rodrigo Tabata, only for the Palestine team to level the score at 12 minutes through the efforts of Ecuadorian player Carlos Tenorio.
Tabata unintentionally scored an own goal in the 22nd minute, granting Palestine a 2-1 advantage. However, the Qatar team managed to restore parity with a goal by Saud, a student who took part in the match.
Both teams failed to score in the second half. Consequently, the teams proceeded to settle the match through penalty kicks, resulting in Palestine emerging victorious with a 4-3 scoreline.