ISAF marked World Refugee Day by demonstrating its support of the IOC's 'Giving Is Winning' campaign with a donation of clothing items which were allocated to refugees in Georgia.
Giving is Winning is a joint project of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with a simple concept: members and supporters of the Olympic Movement donate sports and casual clothes which will then be distributed by the UNHCR to various refugee camps.
The International Sailing Federation supported the Giving Is Winning campaign with a donation of clothing which was delivered to refugees in Georgia. The donated clothing items were handed out on the 17-18 of June 2008, just a couple of days before World Refugee Day on 20 June.
The clothes are mostly used to facilitate sports activities in the camps, providing a semblance of normality, hope and structure to lives that are in disarray. It's a project where every item really does count: a new global survey says there were 11.4 million refugees outside their countries and 26 million others displaced internally by conflict or persecution at the end of 2007, contributing to an unprecedented number of uprooted people under the care of the UN refugee agency.
Ornella LARDARUCCIO, from the IOC's Department of International Cooperation & Development, reported on the success of the project in Georgia:
'The benefiting towns were Duisi, Jokolo, Tsinubani and Omalo located in the Pankisi Valley where mainly Chechen and Kist refugees reside.
'These families live in impoverished conditions and new clothing is a rarity. Most families rely upon second hand clothing, the quality of which is often very poor, to dress themselves. So, as one can imagine, women, children and men alike were ecstatic to receive the white shirts with the blue collar from your foundation. With this charitable contribution your organization has benefited over 380 families in the Pankisi Valley, all of who were grateful for the help and support from abroad.
'The shirts were also given out during the World Refugee Day on 20 June, 2008. They were distributed to all participants of the sports events such as volleyball, soccer, chess and table tennis. The children were excited to receive new t-shirts and expressed their gratefulness towards the donors.
'During the distribution of the donations many refugees were in awe of the t-shirt from your foundation. They particularly liked the fact that the t-shirts had collars. One particular example was the Isaeva family. The head of the household is Mrs Malika Isaeva. She is taking care of her eight children alone, as her husband passed away fighting in the second Chechen war. She now lives with her children in the Collective Center Kantora, in Duisi. She came to the UNHCR truck for the distribution on the 17 July to collect enough t-shirt for her children, so that she could spend her monthly income on food and other utensils to send her children to school. Mrs Isaeva was pleased to be supported by your foundation and is in high spirits of the new shirts she can bring home.'