The Work of the International Rescue Committee is Pure Brilliance

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Our Pure Brilliance Campaign

Every year our Pure Brilliance initiative recognizes organizations and individuals that are doing meaningful, creative and world-changing work. We donate to our Brilliant awardee brewing supplies and free coffee every week for a year and we highlight the work and the needs of the organization.

Our 2016 Award goes to International Rescue Committee of Charlottesville

For our first recipient we didn’t have to look far to find one of the most brilliant and effective organizations doing humanitarian work during one of the world’s worst refugee crises.

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic well being, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster.

IRC teams provide health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in more than 40 countries, with special programs designed for women and children.

Another important part of their work is to resettle thousands of refugees each year in 26 U.S. cities, of which our home city of Charlottesville is one.

Since opening its doors in June 1998, the International Rescue Committee in Charlottesville has helped more than 3,000 refugees achieve economic self-sufficiency, a sense of security, and social integration into the larger community.  Among those currently being resettled in Charlottesville are refugees from places such as Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Colombia.

With a staff of 20, the IRC in Charlottesville receives funding from the U.S. government and private donations to provide initial food, housing, health and wellness programming, cultural orientation, English classes, and employment services to more than 200 refugees a year.

Charlottesville was chosen as a prime location for an IRC resettlement because of its excellent schools, job market, medical capacity, public transportation, and the welcoming nature of our community. Charlottesville’s office is distinguished by a robust interpreter services program which offers live interpretation to community agencies in some 20 languages.

Refugees who end up resettling in Charlottesville sometimes have family or friends here, although many must leave family behind when they come to the U.S. They are rigorously screened by the U.S. government for 1-2 years before coming to the states. The IRC helps refugees apply for green cards, citizenship, and family reunifications.

With the recent refugee crisis in the Middle East, the IRC has witnessed a compassionate increase of community support. Volunteer & Donations Coordinator Katie Bercegeay reports a notable increase in volunteer inquiries and donations. The majority of financial donations go towards providing housing subsidies, medical expenses and other unexpected expenses that arise for refugee families.

We asked Katie what Charlottesville citizens can do to help beyond financial contributions.  She says they always need:

  • Housing relationships with landlords whose properties are on or near bus lines. Note: IRC policy specifies that refugees may not be housed temporarily or otherwise Charlottesville citizens’ residences but may live in separate apartments on their property, provided they are near bus lines
  • Job leads for anything from housekeeping to accounting. Refugees come with a wide variety of skills!
  • Bicycles, helmets, bike locks, front & rear lights
  • Domestic items, in particular: diapers, wipes, toiletries, kitchen implements, tea kettles, microwaves, coffeemakers, computers/laptops & flatscreen TVs, umbrellas, and pads
  • Donations of running vehicles with valid inspection stickers

Walkup donations are welcome anytime, but especially Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays. Visit rescue.org/charlottesville or contact charlottesville@rescue.org or 434-979-7772 ext. 114 for more information.