The International Rescue Committee provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants to thrive in America. Each year, thousands of people, forced to flee violence and persecution, are welcomed by the people of the United States into the safety and freedom of America. These individuals have survived against incredible odds. The IRC works with government bodies, civil society actors, and local volunteers to help them translate their past experiences into assets that are valuable to their new communities. In Louisville and other offices across the country, the IRC helps them to rebuild their lives.
Refugees are people fleeing violence and persecution—in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and other countries in crisis. They are seeking safety and the chance to move their lives forward
The United States has a long tradition of sheltering those fleeing conflict and persecution. Once refugees have been identified by the United Nations refugee agency and cleared for resettlement, the U.S. government works with the IRC and eight other national resettlement agencies to help them restart their lives in America. Out of the 25 million refugees in the world, fewer than 1 percent are considered for resettlement worldwide.
Refugees may be placed in a city where they have relatives or friends, or where there’s an established community that shares their language or culture. Other considerations include the cost of living and a community’s ability to provide medical services; however, as legal U.S. residents, refugees may live in any city and state they choose.
IRC’s staff, volunteers, and community partners work together to empower refugees to restore their dignity and self-reliance and participate in their new communities.
- Reception and Placement: Meeting critical needs in the early months after arriving in the United States. IRC staff and community partners ensure newly arrived refugees are greeted at the airport; have a furnished home; receive time-limited rental assistance; have access to nutritious food, healthcare and education; and are given appropriate social services referrals.
- Employment Services: Early self-sufficiency through employment is the foundation of the US Refugee Program. IRC staff and volunteers provide job readiness training, vocational counseling, resume preparation, job search and placement services, and financial assistance for basic needs with the goal of helping refugees find their first job in America. Employment services are provided to refugees for up to five years from their date of arrival.
- English as a Second Language: IRC provides refugees the opportunity to learn ESL through beginner and intermediate ESL classes. IRC Louisville will be partnering with a local organization to support ESL classes. Volunteer instructors and classroom aids play a key role in helping refugees improve their language skills to qualify for better jobs and help integrate more quickly into their new communities.
- Intensive Case Management: Some refugees face barriers that make rapid employment difficult. Others face cultural barriers that require additional training and orientation support to learn to navigate American systems independently. Still others face crisis after an initial period of stability. For those refugees, IRC provides intensive case management services for up to five years after arrival.
- Health: The IRC in Louisville's health liaison assesses medical needs, connects families to suitable health care providers, and assists refugee clients with securing health insurance when necessary.
IRC has broadened its community engagement and now offers immigration, youth, and English-language programs to members of the community.
There are many ways that you can get involved with the IRC’s work in Louisville. You can:
Donate Money: Money raised in Louisville stays in Louisville. Local donations allow IRC to meet emergency needs of clients and support our programs in many ways.
Volunteer or Intern: Volunteers support all facets of our work! Community volunteers make the difference between a refugee transitioning from surviving to thriving with the skills and knowledge to be a full participant in their new community.
Donate New or Gently Used Items: From gently used furniture and household goods to set-up apartments to old computers, bikes or TVs, the IRC seeks to provide refugees with items that will help them get restarted here in the US.
Host a DIY Fundraiser: Have fun hosting a fundraiser with IRC designated as your beneficiary. Work with IRC staff to develop and implement your concept, including establishing your own donation page linked to the IRC’s website.
Hold a Donation Drive: Help IRC meet critical needs of refugees by gathering new and gently used items from your friends, relatives, or community group.
Other Ways to Get Involved:
- Sponsor a refugee through a community sponsorship program
- Hire a refugee
- Rent a home to a refugee family
- Name an IRC Classroom
- “Like” us on Facebook!
Once they acclimate to their new environment, refugees often thrive and contribute to their communities, building careers, purchasing homes, starting businesses, and gaining citizenship.
Our Louisville team is so excited to be the newest member of the International Rescue Committee (“IRC”) network. The IRC’s motto is “From Harm to Home.” It is our mission to guide and support those who have survived conflict and persecution as they embark on their journey to rebuild their lives here in our great city—their new home. We strive to empower our clients through our programs to understand their rights, choose their own path, and thrive; we look forward to integrating our services within the broader Louisville community to do just that.
As the new Executive Director, I am both honored and humbled to lead such transformative work in our city. Our refugee and immigrant communities have made Louisville that much better, more beautiful, and more invested in our collective wellbeing and future. I am thrilled that the IRC in Louisville will continue in Kentucky’s rich tradition of resettlement alongside the great local agencies that started it all.Darryl Young Jr.Executive Director - Louisville, KY
people in the U.S. received asylum and protection support.
IRC offices across the U.S. provide immediate aid--including food, housing and medical attention—among other support.Learn about resettlement and asylum