International Rescue Committee

and Work of Becky Chandler

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More than 1,000 children have been registered by a network of aid agencies working to identify separated children, trace relatives and reunite family members in Haiti. The International Rescue Committee is one of the coordinators of the effort, which began with an extensive training session for caseworkers who were recruited in the days and weeks after the earthquake.  In the photo above taken by Melissa Winkler of the International Rescue Committee, IRC child protection coordinator Rebecca Chandler, of Maine,  and database specialist Clavens Jean-Marie go through the steps of family tracing during a February training session:  identification, registration, tracing, verification, mediation, reunification and follow-up. (information and photo posted with permission of Melissa Winkler of the International Rescue Committee)

Aisha Bain (left), IRC deputy director in Haiti, distributes emergency aid to earthquake survivors. Photo: Ezra Millstein, courtesy of the International Relief Committee

What is the International Rescue Committee?

The International Rescue Committee 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-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.

At work today in over 40 countries and in 22 U.S. cities, the IRC restores safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure. The IRC leads the way from harm to home.

What Is The Impact Of The International Rescue Committee?

In 2009, 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: 

Their doctors, nurses and community health workers served over 12 million people with primary and reproductive health care. They vaccinated 390,000 children for measles and other childhood diseases and their IRC-supported clinics and hospitals helped 145,000 women deliver healthy babies.

They trained some 9,000 educators and supported schools attended by 440,000 children, over half of them girls.  They reunited over 1,400 separated children with their families and supported skills training for over 13,000 young people.

 They counseled and cared for nearly 11,000 survivors of sexual violence and educated and trained nearly 570,000 men, women and children in ways to prevent sexual violence.

In the United States, they helped resettle 12,000 newly arrived refugees and provided services to over 37,000 refugees, asylees and victims of human trafficking.

Their ratings

    1. The American Institute of Philanthropy gives the IRC an A+. 

    2. Forbes gives the IRC high ratings for program efficiency and fundraising efficiency. 

    3. The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance notes the IRC meets all 20 of its standards. 

    4. Charity Navigator awards them four stars, its highest rating.

  1. Their efficiency

    Of every $1 the IRC spends, 90¢ goes to programs and services that directly benefit refugees and communities affected by war or disaster.

Volunteer Opportunities

The International Rescue Committee thanks you for your interest in volunteering.  Learn more about opportunities to help in the United States and around the world — and even online:

In the United States

The IRC’s U.S. offices rely on volunteers to support their work helping refugees adjust to a new life in the U.S

Volunteers work closely with IRC staff members to:

  1. Tutor refugees in basic English skills

  2. Help refugees write resumes and prepare for job interviews

  3. Contact potential employers on behalf of refugees

  4. Assist IRC staff with cultural orientations

  5. Accompany refugees to various appointments

  6. Pick up donated furniture and goods and deliver them to refugees’ new homes

  7. Provide basic office support

  8. Help staff write grants and maintain a grants database

  9. Help staff with media relations and publications such as newsletters, brochures and annual reports

  10. Mentor refugee families or individuals

They look for volunteers with:

  1. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

  2. Flexibility, patience and the ability to work in a multi-cultural environment

  3. The ability to work well in team as well as independently

         Helpful, but not essential:

  1. Prior experience working with refugees, asylees or immigrants

  2. Fluency in another language (French, Arabic, Somali, Vietnamese, Bosnian, Russian, etc.)

For more information or to volunteer, please contact the IRC office in your area.

Global Programs

They also periodically post volunteer opportunities with programs worldwide. Please visit their Job Search page and select "Volunteer" from the "Work Schedule" menu.

Online Volunteers

Help spread the word about humanitarian issues and the work that they do. If you have a blog or Web site, please link to them!  More ways to help:

  1. Become a fan of the IRC on their official Facebook Fan Page and join their official Facebook cause 

  2. Follow them on Twitter

  3. Promote their stories on social news sites such as Digg and Reddit. (Look for the handy icons on their stories and blogs.)

  4. Tell your friends about them


How To Donate:

Donate by Mail or Phone

Call or mail your contribution.

Please call 1-877-REFUGEE (1-877-733-8433).

To give by mail, please send your check to
International Rescue Committee
P.O. Box 96651
Washington, DC  20090-6651.

Work of Becky Chandler in Haiti

Becky Chandler was born at Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway Maine, and grew up in a log cabin in Woodstock, Maine (near Bethel).  She went to Telstar High School and attended Brandeis University in Boston where she earned a degree in Sociology. After graduation she joined the Peace Corps and lived in Mongolia for 2 ½ years. When she returned she went to graduate school at Columbia University in New York where she received a Masters degree in social work and a Masters degree in public health. After that  she worked as a social worker in New York and then started working for the International Rescue Committee. She has worked for the International Rescue Committee for almost 5 ½ years now. She works as an Emergency Response Child Protection Coordinator so now she sets up programs for children and youth around the world.  She has worked in 8 different countries (Guinea, Liberia, Chad, Sudan, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Haiti). Working in many different countries, she explained that she has learned to work with good translators, to learn basic communications in the countries in which she works, and she relies a lot more on body language to communicate.


When asked what she felt Mainers could do to help Haiti, Becky responded:  “I think the best thing that the people of Maine can do is to support agencies who have a long history of working with people who have been displaced. Hurricane season is coming and we are very worried about this second emergency that may be coming. IRC also has a long history in working with refugee resettlement and our Miami program has worked hard to resettle many Haitians in America over the years.”


International Rescue Committee
122 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10168 USA
Phone: (212) 551-3000
Donate: 877-REFUGEE


Every day, IRC caseworkers hit the streets of earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince to talk to children who have lost their families and to search for parents looking for missing children. Photo: Gerald Martone/The IRC

To read Melissa Winkler’s article which features the work of Becky Chandler entiteld  “Bringing Families Together Again in Haiti,” go to:


Special thanks to Becky Chandler, Gerry Martone, Ezra Millstein, Melissa Winkler, and The International Rescue Committee for providing the information and photos found on this webpage.

Photo courtesy of Gerry Martone of International Rescue Committee

Photo courtesy of Gerry Martone of International Rescue Committee