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Giving is winning collects 30,000 items from the Beijing Olympics


Giving is winning collects 30,000 items from the Beijing Olympics

28 August 2008 Also available in:
In a warehouse in Beijing's Olympic village, UNHCR volunteers pack donated sports clothes for refugees in Asia. @UNHCR/K.McKinsey

Press Release
Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Giving is winning collects 30,000 items from the Beijing Olympics

Beijing – The Olympic flame has now been put out in the Chinese capital, but for many refugees in Asia, the Olympic spirit will continue to live on: Thanks to the generosity of Olympic athletes, tens of thousands of refugees will have new clothes to wear.

Under the “Giving is Winning” campaign, the UN Refugee Agency and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) collected more than 30,000 items of sports clothing during the Beijing Olympics for distribution to refugees in Asia. Significant contributions came from the Olympic Committees of Australia, Japan, New Zealand and host China.

This is in addition to 52,000 items collected in the year-long run-up to the Beijing Olympics, far exceeding the original goal of 50,000 items. National Olympic Committees from many countries made large-scale donations.

During the Games, held in Beijing from 08-24 August, biodegradable plastic bags and information leaflets were placed in the room of every athlete in the Olympic Village so that athletes could make individual donations. Competitors from such diverse countries as Andorra, Armenia, Costa Rica, Mauritius and Turkmenistan responded, in addition to athletes from medal powerhouses.

“It is really wonderful to see Olympic athletes expressing solidarity with refugees who often spend years languishing in bleak camps around the world,” said Veerapong Vongvarotai, UNHCR’s Regional Representative for China and Mongolia. “For the refugees, these are not only useful items of clothing, but a symbol that people in the world beyond the refugee camps – especially famous athletes from the Olympics – care about them.”

The collection of sports clothing from National Olympic Committees will continue until the end of the year, so the total donation from the “Giving is Winning” campaign could greatly exceed the goal. The items collected before the Olympics opened were distributed to refugees in Rwanda, Tanzania, Chad, Moldova, Georgia and Panama.

The “Giving is Winning” initiative was first established at the Athens Olympics in 2004 when more than 30,000 items were collected to support sports among young refugees in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Kosovo and Tanzania.


UNHCR media contacts:
Beijing: Song Jing, 8610 65324961
Bangkok (Regional PI Officer): Kitty Mckinsey, 662 288 1846

UNHCR HK office
Donation hotline: 852 2388 3278
Email: [email protected]
1/F, Eaton House
380 Nathan Road
Kowloon, Hong Kong

Link to International Olympic Committee



The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on 14 December 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee issues. It strives to ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to voluntarily return home when conditions are conducive for return, integrate locally or resettle to a third country. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1954 for its ground-breaking work in helping the refugees of Europe, and in 1981 for its worldwide assistance to refugees.