It is the Olympic season and consequently a lot of families will gather around the television sets in their homes to enjoy their favorite sports and enjoy each other’s company while cheering as their Olympic heroes compete live.
What happens to people who have been displaced from their countries; refugees who are a long way away from home and are sometimes surviving in the most difficult conditions?
Will they only have the memory of past Olympic games, which will be made sad in the light of their new circumstances?
This year’s Rio 2016 Olympics is shaping up to be an Olympics of firsts and with the first ever refugee Olympic team featured, there is a lot of inspiration and people to root for.
Volunteer efforts have made it possible for one of the world’s largest refugee camps to have access to live stream of the games and watch their Olympic heroes compete live.
The International Olympic Committee teamed up with FilmAid, which is a nonprofit that uses the power of film to help refugees. The two are broadcasting the Rio de Janeiro Games in the Kakuma refugee camp, where five of the athletes on the refugee Olympic team hail from.
This means that some 200,000 refugees now have the opportunity to watch their Olympic heroes compete live.
It may seem like a small sliver of light for most of the refugees in Kakuma who have been forced to escape the strife in South Sudan but anyone who has been inspired by the stories of individuals participating in the Games will understand the power they have to ignite hope.
FilmAid tweeted some beautiful shots of refugees gathered to watch the live stream:
— Refugee Olympic Team (@RefugeesOlympic) August 9, 2016
The camp’s population continues to swell, which had led the United Nations refugee agency to announce in June that it would be expanding it to mitigate overcrowding. Kakuma has been in operation since 1992.
The five Olympians from Kakuma are runners and they will be competing in 800meter and 1,500meter races. Rose Nathike Lokonyen, one of the Kakuma ‘natives’ in question was the flag bearer for the refugee team that was greeted with a standing ovation on Friday night.