Olympic committee launches campaign to help refugees Article icon


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has launched a new campaign that uses the central tenets of ‘Olympism’ to provide sustainable solar-powered light to refugees in Rwanda.

The Become the Light campaign encourages people to embody the Olympic spirit and ‘donate’ their physical activity, linking up their fitness apps with the Olympic+ channel, which then records these contributions as ‘sparks’.

 These ‘sparks’ will be tallied up and once an unspecified goal is achieved, the IOC  will make a donation to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to light up streets, households and sports areas at the Mahama Refugee Camp in Rwanda, assisting more than 55,000 refugees.

 Become the Light’s launch has been timed to coincide with the beginning of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea and continues the theme of ‘light’ as embodied by the Olympic Torch.

 The ‘light’ represents the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. Three videos have been produced for the campaign, each one ending with a call to action for audience members to sign up through the Olympic channel campaign hub.

 The videos demonstrate how the ‘inspirational achievements of athletes and the Olympic spirit can motivate people around the world to ‘Become The Light’ and act as beacons of positivity’.

 Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said: ‘Sport is about building bridges, bringing people together in the spirit of friendship and respect. In a world of uncertainties, the message that our shared humanity is greater than the forces that divide us is more relevant than ever before. Athletes carry the light and inspire us, giving us all hope that a better world is possible. We are pleased to be able to continue our close cooperation with UNHCR and our support for refugees as part of this campaign.’

 The campaign follows the adoption of the Olympic Truce Resolution by all UN Member States on 13 November, which commits to supporting the safe passage of athletes and all participants to the Winter Games and promoting diplomatic solutions to conflicts around the world, in line with the ancient Greek tradition of the Olympic Truce, ‘Ekecheiria’.