For over 75 years, the IRC has been responding to the world's worst crises. Meet some of our extended family: dedicated IRC staff members who tackle enormous challenges to change lives; courageous refugees we've led through their journeys from harm to home; and committed leaders, thinkers and supporters who help us protect human freedom and dignity.
"Having served in Vietnam, I felt I owed something to the Vietnamese people," says Bob Montgomery, executive director of US Programs in San Diego, explaining his decision to start working at the IRC thirty-two years ago. To Bob, the IRC means a new opportunity for people who have lost everything. He discusses IRC San Diego's micro-enterprise program, which has helped refugees open more than 100 businesses and strengthened another 100. "That's success," says Bob.
Selflessness and dedication, even amidst overwhelming obstacles these are two of the qualities exhibited by IRC staff that made a lasting impression on Aaron Rippenkroeger, currently IRC's deputy vice president of US Programs. In this week's IRC Voices, Aaron recalls the year he spent working in South Darfur, and says that despite the challenges of working in overcrowded conditions, it turned out to be the most fulfilling work experience of my entire life.
Alyoscia D'Onofrio, International Rescue Committee regional director for the Great Lakes region of Africa, calls the IRC a beacon of hope. Its also a home for Alyoscia, who is now in his eleventh year at the organization. He recalls working in eastern Congo during an insurgent uprising and helping demobilized children who had fought with militia groups. Most of all, Alyoscia remembers the tenacity and courage IRC Congolese staff displayed during difficult time.
Michael Kocher, the International Rescue Committee's VP of International Programs, ruminates on his experiences in Aceh, Indonesia post-tsunami. Michael's moving words, coupled with dramatic photos, capture the cataclysmic damage of the tsunami. What Michael remembers most vividly, however, is the commitment and grace of his national staff colleagues, one in particular who insisted on coming to work immediately after losing his family.
International Rescue Commmitte regional director in Boise, Idaho Leslye Moore has been doing humanitarian work her whole life. "Nothing else has made sense to me," she says. In this interview, Leslye describes the IRC as an organization that doesn't sleep, and shares a sobering story about a refugee whose struggle continues to haunt her. (Posted April 13,2009)
After the fall of Saigon in 1975, Vu Dang, the former International Rescue Committee regional director for Washington D.C., fled Vietnam with his family. His was one of thousands of families that did so. They arrived at California's Camp Pendleton and, Vu remembers, The IRC was there to really lead the largest refugee resettlement in U.S. history.
In this IRC Voices interview, Vu speaks about refugees as heroes and their journeys in search for something better.