Sport For Humanity Celebrates #Inclusion For World Refugee Day 2021

Inclusion is one of the three pillars of Sport at the Service of Humanity, along with Inspiration and Involvement.  Sport for Humanity believes that “SPORT IS FOR ALL” and advocates for inclusion, unity and equal access to sport – regardless of race, gender, ability, status, education and creed.

On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2021 (June 20th), Sport for Humanity shines a light on the rights, needs and dreams of refugees, understanding their plight and advocating for their rights, not only to survive but to thrive. We also highlight the important work of the UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – and supports its call for greater inclusion of refugees, in health systems, schools and sport. The theme for World Refugee Day 2021 is:

Together #withrefugees

Together we can achieve anything

Together we heal, learn and shine

As part of UNHCR’s works to protect refugees, they use sport as one of the platforms to create safe and protective environments where everyone can discover their potential. They recognize the power of Sport to enrich the lives of people forced to flee their homes – boosting mental health and helping refugees gain confidence, forge new friendships and feel welcome.


With the Tokyo Olympics set to begin in July, the UNHCR celebrates the announcement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of the Tokyo 2020 Refugee Olympic Team. After years of training, 29 refugee athletes will compete in 12 Olympic events in Tokyo, sending a powerful message of solidarity and hope, and bringing further awareness to the plight of over 80 million displaced people worldwide.


“I am thrilled to congratulate each of the athletes who have been named in the Tokyo 2020 Refugee Olympic Team. They are an exceptional group of people who inspire the world.

UNHCR is incredibly proud to support them as they compete at the Tokyo Olympics. Surviving war, persecution and the anxiety of exile already makes them extraordinary people, but the fact that they now also excel as athletes on the world stage fills me with immense pride.

It shows what is possible when refugees are given the opportunity to make the most of their potential. These athletes embody the hopes and aspirations of the more than 80 million people around the world who have been uprooted by war and persecution. They serve as a reminder that everyone deserves the chance to succeed in life.”

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Vice Chairman of the Olympic Refuge Foundation

This will be the second time a Refugee Team has participated in the Olympic Games, following the first at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

As part of its more than 25-year partnership with the IOC, UNHCR works with the IOC and the ORF to harness the power of sport to help create a world where every person forced to flee can build a better future. Together with the IOC, the ORF, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and other partners, UNHCR is  leading the global call for a world in which all displaced people, including those with disabilities, can equally access and participate in sport.

To learn more about these incredible athletes, click here to watch The Journey, a video produced by the UNHCR in cooperation with the IOC and IPC, in support of the refugee athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sport for Humanity is thrilled to cheer on one of our own young leaders, Anjelina Nadai Lohalith, who is one of the 29 refugee athletes who will be competing as part of the Tokyo 2020 Refugee Olympic Team.

Anjelina arrived in Kakuma with her aunt in 2002 after escaping South Sudan because of the war. While in high school, she participated in many running competitions. In 2015, one of her teachers suggested that she should participate in a 10km run organised by the Tegla Loroupe Foundation. Based on her promising results, she was selected and has been training with the Foundation ever since. Anjelina was a member of the 2016 Refugee Olympic Team that competed in Rio.

In 2018, Anjelina was selected to join other young people from around the world in the first ever “Sport at the Service of Humanity – Young Leaders Mentoring Programme” presented by ISPS Handa, ahead of the International Olympic Committee’s Olympism in Action Forum and the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Good luck Anjelina and the rest of the Tokyo 2020 Refugee Olympic Team, headed by Chef de Mission, Tegla Loroupe! Click here to check out the individual team member’s bios.

Our shared COVID-19 experience showed us that we can only succeed if we stand together. We have all had to do our part to keep each other safe and despite the challenges, refugees and displaced people have stepped up. Given the chance, refugees will continue to contribute to a stronger, safer and more vibrant world.


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