IOC, UNHCR and LOCOG team up to help refugees
The Giving is Winning campaign, which aims to collect at least 100,000 items of sports and casual clothes for refugees and displaced people in UNHCR camps in various parts of the world, was launched today at the 123rd IOC Session in Durban, South Africa, by IOC President Jacques Rogge. As a joint initiative by the IOC, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the London 2012 Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOCOG) in the run-up to next year’s Olympic Games in London, “Giving is Winning” aims to bring hope and joy through sport to refugees and displaced people, especially the young. Jacques Rogge and Sir Keith Mills, LOCOG Deputy Chair, started the ball rolling by handing over a parcel of sports clothes to UNHCR representative Joyce Mends-Cole during today’s official launch ceremony.
This campaign follows two successful editions during the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. In Athens, 30,000 items of clothing, and in Beijing, 75,000 were donated by members and supporters of the Olympic family, such as athletes, National Olympic Committees, International Federations and sponsors. This positive trend is expected to continue for London 2012.
On launching the initiative, Jacques Rogge said:
“This campaign is an excellent example of how sport can bring joy to people living very difficult lives, as well as to people who give. Let’s make a difference to the lives of thousands of men, women and children, just like sport has made a difference to our lives.”
Mario Pescante, Executive Board member and Chairman of the IOC’s International Relations Commission, under which the initiative is run, said:
“Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 were great successes. The London 2012 edition will raise the bar even higher. There is no simpler an action than to give. We know the positive effects that the donations will create in refugee camps.”
Sir Keith Mills said during today’s ceremony:
"This is a fantastic programme and I am very proud that London 2012 will play its part in making Giving is Winning a real success. I have seen for myself the impact that sport can have on people's lives and it's fantastic that everyone involved in the Olympic Games, from athletes to sponsors, can help spread the Olympic spirit to people around the world."
UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said about the campaign:
“For many young refugees the gift of sportswear associated with famous athletes from across the Olympic spectrum is a tremendous morale booster – a sign that the outside world does still care.”
First organisations on board
There is good reason for optimism among the project partners. For instance, the British Olympic Association (BOA) has already committed to joining the campaign, and many others have expressed their wish to be involved. Every item counts and will make a difference.
Learn more about the new Giving is Winning campaign: www.olympic.org/givingiswinning
Read more about the UNHCR: www.unhcr.org
Check out LOCOG’s website: www.london2012.com