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The Olympic Refuge Foundation’s Annual Report provides hope amidst mass displacement


30 Jun 2023 – The Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) has made its 2022 Annual Activity Report available and is highlighting its work to create a society where everyone belongs, through sport.

As the world deals with the largest ever numbers of displaced people, the Olympic Refuge Foundation provides hope, offering opportunity and refuge to those forcibly displaced from their homes. Its Annual Report 2022 highlights its significant achievements and the impact that the Foundation continues to make, shaping a movement where young people affected by displacement thrive through sport. This impact was recognised by Her Royal Highness Leonor, the Princess of Asturias, when she presented the 2022 Princess of Asturias Award for Sports to the IOC President and ORF Chair Thomas Bach alongside Tokyo 2020 Refugee Olympic Team members Eldric Sella and Masomah Ali Zada.

By the end of 2022, the Olympic Refuge Foundation had invested more than USD 18 million in safe sports programmes for refugees and displaced people, and reached more than 100,000 young people across 14 programmes in 10 countries. By reaching thousands of individuals, the Foundation has empowered them to rebuild their lives, improve their mental health, develop new skills and regain a sense of purpose and belonging through sport.

Key achievements of the Olympic Refuge Foundation in 2022 included:

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Reaching more than 100,000 displaced people through its work and launching three new programmes in Bangladesh, France and Türkiye;The Uganda programme – Game Connect – showing a more than 90% decrease in young people reporting symptoms of depression and anxiety;Responding to the mental health needs of Ukrainian refugees through work seeded in the Olympic Refuge Foundation Think Tank; andOnboarding more than 50 athletes onto the Refugee Athlete Support programme.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the Foundation is particularly focused on working with the co-convenors of the Sport for Refugees Coalition – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Scort Foundation – to mobilise support for the Sport Pledge, which is currently being created and which is hoped will form a central part of the Global Refugee Forum in December 2023.

There are also plans to scale up a regional approach to the mental health programme supporting Ukrainian refugees, as well as work which has commenced in Bangladesh and Burkina Faso – countries where the Olympic Refuge Foundation has not previously worked.  Furthermore, support of elite refugee athletes will continue through the Refugee Athlete Scholarship programme, as the athletes begin to look ahead to Paris 2024.

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