All too often there are headlines in the media showing people forced to leave their homes and become refugees because of natural disasters such as famine, floods and earthquakes or man-made disasters such as war or ethnic cleansing. Large relief agencies are quick to react. These organisations do a wonderful job, often in the most difficult of circumstances. However, in many cases when the media coverage has died down and the initial needs of the refugees are met, many of the big agencies move their resources on to tackle the next emergency.
International Refugee Trust (IRT) was founded 1989 to help improve the lives of refugees, internally displaced people and returnees around the world. We are there when the big agencies move on. We focus on small scale projects and are comitted to seeing the full project through.
We provide medical care, homes, food, education and training. We focus on income-generating projects as we believe that financial independence and a person’s dignity are crucial for rebuilding people’s lives. Countries where IRT is currently active include Uganda, South Sudan, Eritrea, Thailand, Jordan and Colombia.
Local initiatives, local ideas
What makes IRT special is that our projects are based on local initiatives and run by local people. IRT focuses on supporting small projects that address the most urgent needs of refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs) and returnees. However, we do not wish to create dependency and we always hope and believe that the people we work with will one day be able to return home. Small projects increasingly have difficulty finding funding, but as they are identified and managed by local people, they are capable of providing appropriate and well-targeted aid.
Self sufficiency is a priority
In 2007 we developed IRT's first strategic plan and decided to start placing more emphasis on projects that support primary education, nurture enterprise and develop self sufficiency, in order that refugees and IDPs don’t lose or miss out on the knowledge and skills they would otherwise have learnt, had they not been forced to leave their homes.
Our funds are raised by voluntary contributions which are crucial to the success of our projects. IRT are involved in organising events to help raise funds as well as encourage individuals and communities to raise funds and get involved.
All the projects we support are outside the UK and are run by our local partner organisations. We do not support individuals.