Personal Injury

Translating a Dream into Reality—Making the World a Better Place

Relieving Human Suffering: Worldwide Organizations Helping Youths and Their Families

CARE | International Rescue Committee | International Youth Foundation
Mercy Corps | Save the Children | Activities


CARE was begun in 1945 in response to World War II survivors' needs. Today, this agency not only provides immediate relief but also looks to poverty's underlying causes and attempts to implement long-range solutions.

CARE focuses its humanitarian efforts on four major priorities, including short- and longer-term emergency relief to survivors of conflicts and natural disasters. Its Web site describes its individual projects, including a major effort to provide emergency aid to Afghans. The agency has more than 450 staff in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, working with communities and local partners to develop sources of clean drinking water, educate tens of thousands of children, and distribute food and other emergency supplies to the community's most vulnerable members.

Involvement opportunities are described on the Web site. Youth Corps provides volunteer experiences for high-school students to participate in international development. A virtual tour, including diary entries and photos of a recent effort in Guatemala, features eight high-school students from Atlanta and Chicago working with local families to overcome poverty. The site also provides opportunities to chat with the students online and, afterward, to download a souvenir screensaver.

The Web site makes it easy to become part of CARE's advocacy efforts on the local, national, and international levels. Individuals can sign up for the agency newsletter and e-mail updates of developing issues. They can participate in CARE by hosting local fund-raising events and outreach projects that raise awareness and provide support for its work and by reviewing legislation and contacting government officials to influence policy decisions.

Activities related to CARE

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International Rescue Committee

The mission of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is to help people who are persecuted because of race, religion, or ethnicity, as well as those uprooted by war and violence. Working in more than 30 countries, the IRC provides both immediate relief and longer-term strategies to resettle refugees and help them become self-sufficient.

When a crisis first occurs, the agency provides safety, food, shelter, and medical care. As it stabilizes, the IRC operates programs to help refugees cope with life away from home, including training, education, and job skills. The agency also has a strong voice on policy issues, calling attention to refugee issues around the world.

The IRC reports that, at the start of the year 2002, there were an estimated 14.5 million refugees and over 20 million displaced persons (uprooted from their homes but still in their countries). From Afghanistan alone, over 2.5 million refugees have sought safety in neighboring countries.

The Web site describes concrete ways to help refugees. For example, the IRC furnishes those attempting to resettle within the United States with food, clothing, and shelter. People can select from many ways to welcome these refugees as new and valuable members of U.S. society. They can volunteer at a local resettlement agency (the Web site directs people to the nearest office); become an English tutor, a tour guide, or a family mentor; donate money, furniture, and household items; teach others about refugees; and employ or encourage local businesses to employ refugees.

The Web site describes limited internships and volunteer postings available, as well as desired job applicant qualities. Anyone considering a international development career will find the advice there useful.

Activities related to the International Rescue Committee

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International Youth Foundation

Over the last decade, the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and its partners have worked to improve young people's conditions and futures, helping over 23 million youths in over 60 countries acquire the life skills, education, job training, and opportunities critical to their success.

The IYF identifies effective programs already in place and strengthens and expands them so that more youths may benefit. At the same time, it gets the message out about issues affecting young people throughout the world, works to strengthen youth program leaders' skills, and encourages the use of best practices.

For example, YouthNet International identifies over 175 youth development programs around the world that embody best practices, such as the Boys and Girls Society of Sierra Leone, Africa, which helps the growing number of young people ages 8 to 18 who live on the streets of Freetown, the capital. YouthNet International helps with basic education, vocational and agricultural training, community-service activities, schoolwork and school fees, and temporary shelter. It is also strongly committed to youth participation in the planning, implementation, and governance of youth-serving organizations, seeking donations to support the foundation.

Activities related to the International Youth Foundation

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Mercy Corps

Since 1981, Mercy Corps has provided more than a half-billion dollars in aid to people in 73 countries, based on need without regard to religion or politics, using social entrepreneurship to alleviate poverty and build just communities in some of the world's more challenging regions. The agency provides humanitarian aid to individuals living in countries in conflict or disaster, whether the problem arises from civil, religious, or ethnic causes. At the same time, it builds strategies to identify and reduce these causes.

The Mercy Corps Web site highlights its projects, which today reach over 5 million persons in over 30 countries. One is in Indonesia's Maluku Province. The world's most populous country, Indonesia has been in tremendous turmoil for four years. Mercy Corps has promoted economic recovery, providing direct relief to individuals, helping to improve displaced persons' self-sufficiency, and working to increase chances for peaceful interactions among the bitterly divided religious and ethnic groups.

There are many ways to donate to Mercy Corps, including purchasing Mercy Kits that provide health care, education, or other basics to people in troubled parts of the world. Web site visitors can shop online, with sales benefiting Mercy Corps work, and they can apply to volunteer or serve as interns at the agency's Portland, Oregon, offices.

Activities related to Mercy Corps

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Save the Children

Save the Children operates in 45 countries. Consistently, its approach is to work with families to define and solve the problems their children and communities face, using strategies to ensure self-sufficiency. In the United States and in 40 other countries, the agency works with women and children in four major program areas including "Emergencies and Conflict"; it strongly focuses on helping children in war-torn areas.

Every May, Save the Children issues its "State of the World's Mothers Report," which ranks, from best to worst, the status of mothers and children in regions of war and conflict. In 2002, Afghanistan ranked last out of 165 countries on the condition of women and children. Save the Children is working there in response to horrific conditions such as these: 165 children out of every 1,000 die before reaching age 5; 1 in 7 mothers dies in childbirth; 71 percent of children are not enrolled in school; 88 percent of the population lacks safe water; and 25 percent of children suffer severe or moderate malnutrition.

Through its Web site, Save the Children makes getting involved very easy. Choices include sponsoring a child ($24 per month), making a donation, and taking action. The funds collected are used with other donations to support community-based programs that provide services to families and children in the sponsored child's community. Taking action can be as simple as signing a sample letter to a U.S. government official thanking him or her for a specific action.

Activities related to Save the Children

Student Central | Students in Action
Translating a Dream into Reality—Making the World a Better Place
Interview with Mary McClymont | Relieving Human Suffering (Organizations & Activities)