IOC starts $2 million fund to help refugees

IOC starts $2 million fund to help refugees
IOC President Thomas Bach. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP
The Lausanne-based International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced a two million dollar fund on Friday that will be made available to National Olympic Committees for programmes focused on refugees.

In a statement, the IOC President Thomas Bach said: “We have all been touched by the terrible news and the heartbreaking stories in the past few days. With this terrible crisis unfolding across the Middle East, Africa and Europe, sport and the Olympic Movement wanted to play its part in bringing humanitarian help to the refugees.

“We made a quick decision that we needed to take action and to make this fund available immediately.”

NOCs and other interested parties will be asked to submit projects to the IOC for funding. The fund itself is made up of one million dollars from the IOC and a further one million from Olympic Solidarity.

President Bach added that “because of the nature of the crisis the assessment of projects and the distribution of funds will be carried out extremely quickly.

“We are able to work on the ground with our partners in the National Olympic Committees and the expert agencies to get help to where it is needed most urgently.”

The IOC already works with a number of United Nations agencies to help refugees around the world.  In April 2014 the two organizations signed an agreement aimed at strengthening collaboration.

The IOC has been working with the UNHCR for two decades and has already seen thousands of refugees benefit from sports programmes and equipment donated by the IOC.

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