The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Museum have joined hands with the Reliance Foundation to build on the success of the Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP) and foster the promotion of Olympic values through sports among the youth.
The partnership was formalized during a visit to the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) football academy in Mumbai, where IOC President Thomas Bach and Nita Ambani, IOC Member in India and Founder Chairperson of the Reliance Foundation, exchanged commitments. They exchanged pennants symbolizing OVEP and Reliance Foundation and left their handprints on a newly inaugurated Olympic Values Pledge Wall. This symbolic act signified their commitment to serving as positive role models, both in sports and daily life.
President Bach emphasized the transformative power of sports on young lives, stating, “Sport has the ability to transform lives of young people.” He expressed his eagerness to expand the reach of Olympic values, initially in the Mumbai area and eventually across the state of Maharashtra. “Respect, friendship, fair play, and solidarity are values that young people can benefit from and imbibe for life,” he added.
Nita Ambani shared her excitement about the partnership, saying, “Reliance Foundation is delighted to partner with the IOC for OVEP, bringing sports and education together.” She also highlighted the program’s potential to positively impact the lives of 250 million school-going children in India, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds, by offering them opportunities for a healthier, more disciplined lifestyle.
As part of the collaboration, around 80 RFYC students engaged in sports activities alongside over 100 children from Reliance Foundation schools and various NGO partners. This gathering showcased the integration of Olympic values into both modern and traditional Indian sports, such as kho-kho, gully cricket, and malkhamb.
OVEP, an initiative led by the Olympic Museum, aligns with the IOC’s Olympism365 strategy, aimed at increasing access to sports and promoting the health and societal benefits of physical activity worldwide. Launched in India in 2022 with the Abhinav Bindra Foundation in the state of Odisha, OVEP has made significant strides in its short existence. Within six months of its introduction, schools reported a notable increase in attendance and sports participation, particularly among girls. The program, now in its second year, has expanded to reach over 700 teachers and 250,000 children in 350 schools and has extended its reach to the state of Assam. When fully operational, OVEP is expected to engage with around 29 million Indian children.