The International Rugby Board, in collaboration with its kit distribution partner LV= SOS KIT AID, was proud to support the latest edition of the Giving is Winning campaign during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Giving is Winning is a world-wide solidarity campaign of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Organising Committee of the London 2012 Olympic Games (LOCOG) which was held in the run-up to this year’s Summer Games.
International Federations, National Olympic Committees, sponsors, recognised organisations and members and supporters of the Olympic Movement were encouraged to donate sports and casual clothes, which will be distributed by the UNHCR to women, men, girls and boys from refugee camps in South Sudan, Ethiopia and Bangladesh, three of the main destinations of the collection campaign at Games time, as well as to other camps and countries.
The IRB donation of used and unwanted kit consisted of over 1,250 pieces of gear including Rugby shirts, shorts, socks, tracksuits, boots and balls.
Speaking in London to mark the donation, IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The IRB is delighted to respond to the IOC’s request for unwanted kit and in partnership with LV= SOS KIT AID, the Rugby family has made a gesture which we hope will go some way towards alleviating the daily hardships faced by those living in refugee camps around the world. One of Rugby’s core values is solidarity and through this donation, we are acting in solidarity with those whose lives have been turned upside down be it through conflict, drought or natural disaster.”
John Broadfoot, Joint CEO of LV=SOS KIT AID, added: “Many of us are fortunate to have the opportunity to practice sport, be it for leisure or competition. These opportunities are often taken for granted but through the provision of good quality used and unwanted kit, we can help bring the joy of sport into the lives of others.
“We’ve been proud to work with the IRB for 10 years to help redistribute unwanted Rugby kit and as Rugby will feature in the Olympic Games once more from 2016, we are delighted to play our part along with other members of the Olympic family in supporting the Giving is Winning campaign.”
The IRB’s support and that of other donors was recognised during a ceremony held at the Olympic Village in London in the presence of IOC member and IOC Permanent Observer at the United Nations, Mario Pescante, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres.
Speaking on behalf of the IOC President, Pescante observed that: “Giving is Winning is a perfect example of how Olympic solidarity materialises and how simple actions can make a difference to people’s lives.”
Sport has the power to generate hope and joy among people, and with over 30 million refugees and internally displaced people in the world, every item of sports clothing collected will count.
Since the 2004 Athens Games, the IOC has partnered with UNHCR and the Games Organising Committees to run this campaign, thus recognising the value of sport for human development.
Guterres thanked the donors, reminding them: “You cannot imagine the joy of the people who get these sports clothes, 100,000 of them will have the chance to dream. For many young refugees the gift of sportswear from across the Olympic spectrum is a tremendous morale booster – a sign that the outside world does still care.
“They are refugees today but will one day be citizens in their community, and sport is a key to make this link.”
For more about LV=SOS KIT AID, visit www.lvsoskitaid.com