3 August 2008 :Athletes participating in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will donate sporting clothes for refugees in Asia. The IOC and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have just launched their successful "Giving is Winning" campaign in the Olympic Village to find as many supporters as possible for their joint project.
Strong support so far
"Giving is Winning" was activated last year in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to maximise the donations; and the initial objective of collecting 50,000 items by the Olympic Family was already nearly met ahead of the Beijing Games. "I am thrilled by this success and the strong support of the Olympic Family so far. Of course we want to go much further now – the bigger impact we can make with this campaign, the better. I am convinced that with our common efforts we can collect many more items," said IOC President Rogge in the Olympic Village.
With more than 10,000 athletes in Beijing, as well as many delegation members, his expectations are likely to be met. Sergey Bubka, IOC member and Chairman of the IOC Athletes’ Commission said: "I am confident that many of my colleagues will recognise the value of this project and be eager to contribute. It really is so easy to participate. Sport has given a lot to all of us and it is great to be able to give a little back by bringing joy to refugees".
The athletes can donate the items in the IOC Corner in the Olympic Village.
Morale-booster for young refugees
Its simple concept makes the campaign’s success: members and supporters of the Olympic Movement donate clothes which are then distributed by the UNHCR to various refugee camps across the globe. The donations will also be used to facilitate sports activities in the camps. For refugees, sport can provide a semblance of normality and structure to lives that are in disarray as António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees explains: "Refugee youth have often suffered terribly and witnessed war first hand. Some refugees are born in camps, others grow up in camps, which can mean a lifetime with little or no access to sport or recreation. The gift of sportswear from Olympic athletes around the globe inspires refugees and connects them to the world of sports. Beyond happiness it brings them hope."
BOCOG President Liu Qi, Jacques Rogge, Sergey Bubka and Veerapong Vongvarotai, UNHCR regional representative for China and Mongolia, were among the first to put their donations in the dedicated containers in the Olympic Village – the starting signal for the athletes and their entourage to lift "Giving is Winning" to new heights.
Learn more about "Giving is Winning": www.olympic.org/givingiswinning