What is the IRC?


The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives.  Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-saving assistance to refugees forced to flee from persecution, war, famine, disaster, and other life-threatening global events. 

According to the United Nations, refugees are those fleeing persecution based on their "race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion". Currently at work in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities to restore safety, dignity and hope, the IRC leads the way from harm to home for millions of refugees each year.  

Global Impact

In 2012 alone, the IRC restored hope and opportunity for millions of conflict-affected people around the world. Here's a look at some of their recent achievements:
  • IRC doctors, nurses and community health workers provided 14 million people with primary and reproductive health care.
  • Gave 1.4 million people access to clean drinking water and sanitation
  • Vaccinated over 292,000 children against disease and IRC-supported clinics and hospitals helped151,000 deliver healthy babies.
  • Provided schooling or child-friendly spaces for 589,000 girls and boys, and trained over 15,000 educators
  • Treated or vaccinated over 477,000 head of livestock
  • Counseled and cared for over 22,000 survivors of sexual violence and educated and mobilized over982,000 men, women, and children to lead prevention efforts in their communities.
  • Counseled or cared for over 19,000 vulnerable children and provided skills training or access to financial services to over 3,000 youth entrepreneurs.
  • In the United States, the IRC helped resettle some 7,600 newly arrived refugees and provided services to over24,500 refugees, asylees and victims of human trafficking. 
  • Makes sure newly arrived refugees in the US receive
    • A furnished home
    • Help with rent
    • Health care
    • Nutritious, affordable food
    • English language classes
    • Help building job, computer & financial literacy skills
    • Education for their children
    • Social services and community support
    • Legal services toward residency & citizenship


We are a vibrant student organization on campus based at I-House in ERC, open to all students from all colleges and of all majors. Our goal is to facilitate volunteerism among UCSD students and help you start working with refugees here in San Diego.  There are a variety of ways we achieve this:
  • Volunteering - The IRC relies on hundreds of volunteers and interns to provide basic, essential services to the vulnerable refugee population in San Diego. We help UCSD students find and apply for positions that fit their schedules and interests, and coordinate carpooling to facilitate easier transportation to volunteer locations. 
  • Service - Additionally, the IRC at UCSD puts on numerous hands-on service projects each quarter (usually on the weekend). We work for and alongside refugees in construction, agriculture, cleaning/organizing, irrigation development, and general assistance. Some of these are in conjunction with UCSD Habitat for Humanity and have included farm days at the City Heights Aqua Farm and Pauma Valley REAP Training Center. 
  • Raising Awareness - The IRC at UCSD hosts and promotes a variety of educational events aimed at raising awareness of international and domestic refugee struggles. We hold quarterly info sessions, table with other on-campus and student organizations, partner with the Programs Abroad Office, and have brought refugees to campus to share their unique stories with UCSD students.