International Rescue Committee - About
International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.
- In 2016, more than 26 million people benefited from IRC programs and those of its partner organizations.
- In 2016, the IRC and its partner organizations:
- Helped more than 24 million people gain access to primary and reproductive health care.
- Vaccinated more than 173,000 children under the age of one against measles.
- Supported 2,507 clinics and health facilities that helped 171,000 women deliver healthy babies.
- Supported more than 21,000 community health workers to treat communicable diseases in children under age 5 and treated more than 186,000 children under the age of five for acute malnutrition.
- Gave 3.8 million people access to clean drinking water or sanitation.
- Provided schooling and educational opportunities to more than 1.5 million children; trained more than 33,000 educators and supported more than 11,000 schools.
- Provided counseling, care and support to more than 42,000 vulnerable children and trained more than 2,200 child protection workers.
- Created or supported 2,000 village savings and loan associations that benefited more than 58,000 members who saved more than $2.4 million.
- Helped more than 4,000 people access financial services.
- Trained some 15,000 farmers in agriculture and agribusiness, and provided almost 40,000 farmers with access to markets and farm resources including seeds and fertilizers.
- Provided job-related skills training to more than 53,000 people.
- Helped create or support 40,000 businesses.
- Provided cash and asset transfers to more than 227,000 individuals and displaced households, 46 percent of whom were women.
- Provided counseling and health, social and legal services to more than 14,400 survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) and reached some 1.8 million people with community-based gender-based violence prevention efforts.
- Offered legal assistance to more than 37,000 people; trained 27,394 people in the principles of human rights and protection; offered information on preventing and responding to human rights abuses to more than 267,000 people.
- Trained over 31,300 people in the principles of governance (improving government accountability) and provided information on governance to more than 156,400 people.
- Through the Resettlement Support Center in Thailand assisted more than 13,000 refugees from East Asia to resettle in the United States.
- In the United States, helped resettle 13,400 newly arrived refugees
Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Lebanon has taken in over 1 million refugees. Syrians now constitute almost a third of the country’s population.
With no formal refugee camps in Lebanon, Syrians are living in cramped apartments, unfinished buildings and tents. Currently, humanitarian services are unable to keep up with needs as refugees deplete their resources.
What are the main humanitarian challenges in Lebanon?
Seven out of 10 Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in extreme poverty. Meanwhile, host communities, many of them already poor, have seen living conditions deteriorate in their neighborhoods.
Approximately 200,000 Syrian children in Lebanon do not attend school. Those who do make it back into the classroom often need extra support because of years of lost education. Many children have experienced trauma and require emotional support.
Women and girls, specifically, are at risk of violence and exploitation in daily life, and many cannot access the services and support they need.
How does the IRC help in Lebanon?
The IRC’s mission is to provide emergency aid and other support to refugees living in unsafe conditions. The IRC also assists vulnerable communities that host refugees.
We began our work in Lebanon in 2012 as Syrian refugees began fleeing the civil war. We have been providing economic support, legal services, education and protection for the most vulnerable, including the elderly and people with disabilities. The IRC is working in all areas of the country to support refugee and host communities by:
- operating classrooms and teacher training programs for thousands of Syrian children;
- providing Syrian refugees with cash assistance for basic needs;
- providing safe spaces for women and girls to gather, share information and receive emotional support, crisis counseling and social worker assistance;
- providing children with creative learning and therapeutic activities to help them recover from trauma and avoid working out in the streets;
- providing refugees and local communities with skills training, small business development and job placement;
- providing legal and information to refugees to help them access services and exercise their right to international protection.
What still needs to be done?
As the crisis pushes thousands of refugees into poverty and threatens their long-term social and economic health, the IRC’s work in Lebanon is more critical than ever. We pledge to put the needs of those most affected by crisis at the forefront of our efforts and to achieve measurable improvements in safety, empowerment, education, and economic well-being. Here’s a closer look at some of the work we will be doing over the next few years to achieve our goals.
We will continue to support Syrians who have been forced from their homes, as well as underserved Lebanese. The IRC will also open and expand sites across Lebanon according to greatest need.
IRC teams and partners currently reach almost 60,000 people in Lebanon with lifesaving support. Over the next several years, we will focus on the following areas:
As a leader in protection, the IRC will strengthen our efforts to stop child labor, identify violations of refugee rights, and provide legal services to those in need. We will also address the special needs of street children and women and girls at risk for abuse and isolation.
The IRC will increase our efforts to empower refugees and improve their quality of life. We will work to strengthen relationships between host and refugee communities through dialogue and problem solving. We will also improve local capacity to provide social services by building local and national systems in case management and in family and labor law.
The IRC will launch early childhood education services to help refugee children succeed in Lebanese public schools.
The IRC will provide more skills training and create new partnerships with businesses that hire refugees.
We will also help women and girls achieve equality with men and boys.