UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, havelaunched a powerful social media campaign calling for the world to support the Refugee Olympic and Paralympic Teams. At the centre of the global campaign is ‘The Journey’ – a social video dramatically depicting the extraordinary stories of the refugee Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls.
Released on 6 April, to mark the UN’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, ‘The Journey’ tells the dramatized story of a refugee who is forced to flee her home on foot escaping conflict and persecution. Travelling by land and sea, she eventually reaches safety, reestablishes her life and starts running towards a new goal: a medal. Created in collaboration with two IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holders, the social video highlights the power of sport to bring hope and change for all those forced to flee.
There are currently over 60 refugee athletes and Para athletes training in the hope of competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. UNHCR is working closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC), to support the current refugee athletes who – despite the challenges of displacement and the Covid 19 pandemic – continue to train to keep their dreams of competing in Tokyo alive.
As the world’s leading agency protecting people who’ve been forced to flee their homes, UNHCR knows that sport is more than just a leisure activity; it has the power to bring hope, heal and help refugees reclaim their futures. With over 80 million people now displaced worldwide, UNHCR is working together with governments, the sporting world, civil society and refugees everywhere to build a better world in which every person forced to flee – including those with disabilities – can access and participate in sport, at all levels.
‘The Journey’ was created for UNHCR, in partnership with the IOC and IPC, by award winning agency Don’t Panic, and directed by Pantera through Anonymous Content.
Rose Nathike Lokonyen, member of the Refugee Olympic Team Rio 2016 and a High Profile Supporter for UNHCR collaborated on the video’s production: “The story of ‘The Journey’ is similar to my own and that of my fellow refugee athletes. I’m training hard in the hope to get to Tokyo. I want to help people everywhere better understand the lives of refugees and the power sport can have to change lives. I hope people will support to the Refugee Olympic and Paralympic Teams.” (Rose is a UNHCR HPS and a South Sudanese refugee living in Kenya).
UNHCR’s Director of External Relations Dominique Hyde: “We at UNHCR are so proud to support the refugee athletes training for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Against the odds, these extraordinary athletes have kept their dreams alive to represent millions of refugees around the world. Together with our partners the IOC and IPC we’re dedicated to a world in which all those who have been forced to flee – including those with disabilities – can access their right to sport and play at all levels.”