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Sport comes to the aid of refugees as NOCs make use of IOC’s USD 2 million fund

Sport comes to the aid of refugees as NOCs make use of IOC’s USD 2 million fund

27/10/2015

A number of important projects are already making use of the USD 2 million emergency fund the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made available last month to National Olympic Committees (NOCs) organising programmes to help refugees, with more projects expected to receive financing in the coming weeks.

Funding has so far been provided to NOCs in the following five countries:

· Austria: Sustainable sports programme for refugees

· Belgium: Sports activities in 30 holding centres

· Bulgaria: Sport for all children

· Denmark: Cooperation with local sports clubs to invite refugees to practise sports activities and provide equipment

· Slovenia: Humanitarian aid for refugees and improvement of quality of life

The NOC of Austria is working with its five Olympic Centres across the country to initiate sports projects and programmes in refugee camps and homes hosting refugees. The aim is to foster development, aid integration and create an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding among communities. There are currently 50,000 people seeking asylum in Austria.

In Belgium the NOC has teamed up with the Red Cross to supply sports equipment to 30 refugee holding centres across the country. The goal is to use sport to help the refugees normalise their lives while promoting health, social inclusion, education and positive social values. The NOC has also proposed to the sports ministers of the Flemish, German-speaking and Walloon areas of Belgium that they collaborate with the project.

Under the patronage of the NOC of Bulgaria, regional sports tournaments will be held for children deprived of parental care in the Blagoevgrad and Vratsa regions. Participants will include children from local refugee camps and local communities. The event, whose motto is “Let's give every child a chance to feel the joy of sport,” will offer the children a chance to play mini football, basketball, athletics, badminton and table tennis. The winners of the regional tournaments will take part in national championships for children at risk at the beginning of December.

The Danish NOC has initiated a project named “get2sport for all”. In cooperation with local sports clubs, centres and municipalities that house refugees, the goal is to ensure that the refugees take part in local sports activities at the 16,000 local clubs across Denmark. Funds will be used primarily for sports equipment and social activities that bring the refugees together with the local populations.

In Slovenia, the project has two main thrusts. The first is to provide immediate humanitarian aid (food, water, blankets, etc.) to refugees in collaboration with the government and a national humanitarian organisation. The second is to improve the quality of life and integration of refugees in the country. To do this, educational sports events and activities are being organised in refugee centres throughout Slovenia, including mini Olympiads, for all ages. The NOC also hopes to facilitate integration of the refugees into various sports clubs and programmes close to the refugee centres.

Some USD 500,000 has been allocated for refugee-centred projects so far. Meetings with other interested NOCs are scheduled to be held next week at the ANOC General Assembly in Washington DC. The remaining USD 1.5 million is still available to NOCs and other parties, which are asked to submit their proposals to the IOC for consideration (contact Pamela Vipond, Deputy Director of Olympic Solidarity, at pamela.vipond@olympic.org). The USD 2 million fund is made up of USD 1 million from the IOC and USD 1 million from Olympic Solidarity. 

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