Meet our volunteers

Volunteers play a critical role in our work at the IRC in Los Angeles. They donate their time, energy, and skills to help welcome our newest neigbors and ensure that all refugees, asylees, and immigrants have the necessary tools and support to thrive in their new communities. We are so grateful to our IRC-LA Volunteers, and could not do our work without them! 

One of the great things about the IRC is that its mission brings people together from all backgrounds, professions, and walks of life. Get to know some of these inspiring, dedicated, and compassionate humanitarians in our new monthly Volunteer Spotlight Series!

Zahra Khalili


Zahra has always been deeply connected to Afghanistan, as well as the refugee experience. She arrived in the United States at the age of 6 as a child of refugees herself, and while in the US, her father started a non-profit to help individuals in Afghanistan. He held fundraisers, assisted charities in order to send funds to those in need, and then twenty years ago, he even started a school. She credits her father’s resilience and compassion to be of service for her global perspective of the world.  

“Back in August of last year when civilians were evacuating Kabul, it was a difficult time for me to watch the news knowing my own father was there. After the fall of Kabul, I started to do research on what I can do to help Afghans in my own community, here in Los Angeles.” 

This research led Zahra to volunteering with the International Rescue Committee in Los Angeles. Zahra immediately began helping IRC's Reception and Placement Caseworkers by assisting newly arrived refugee families, providing translation, case management support, and helping to coordinate in-kind donations. She has swiftly become an invaluable member of the resettlement team at the IRC in Los Angeles, and there is no shortage of gratitude to Zahra from our staff and families alike.

When asked about what advice she has for future volunteers, she states: "Never underestimate the difference you can make in the lives of others. Step forward, reach out and help with an open heart."

Thank you, Zahra jan!

Author: Summer Ly, Community Relations Intern