Recognizing the International Rescue Committee

Dimitris Glezos
November 25, 2015
4 min read

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Transifex team wanted to share the translation story of one of our open source users, the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Founded in 1933, the IRC is recognized as a global leader in emergency relief, rehabilitation, protection of human rights, post-conflict development, resettlement services, and advocacy for those uprooted or affected by conflict and oppression. And today, we’re sharing their inspirational story about helping those affected by the crisis in Syria.

Where It All Began

In March of 2011, anti-government demonstrations began in Syria, and the peaceful protests quickly escalated after the government’s violent crackdown. Today, the war continues, and according to reports by the United Nations, more than 215,000 people have lost their lives, with millions more displaced without basic necessities like food, water, and medical care.

Many of those displaced in the conflict, over 1 million Syrians in fact, have poured into Lebanon to find shelter and safety. Because there are no formal refugee camps in Lebanon, it has often been difficult for these displaced Syrians to find and access the lifesaving services they require. As a result, the International Rescue Committee started ServiceInfo, a project designed to link refugees with services in the host communities supporting them in Lebanon.

ServiceInfo Reaches a Broader Audience

ServiceInfo is a web-based information and feedback mechanism, similar to applications allowing users to search for hotels or restaurants and then rate their services, designed to link service providers in Lebanon and with the Syrian refugees who need their support. With the goal of reaching the largest audience possible, the IRC looked for a way to share information in multiple languages. That’s where the Transifex localization platform came in.

“Supporting multiple languages helped us reach out to a bigger audience, which was integral to the success of the project,” said ServiceInfo’s Project Manager, Omar Meksassi. “In our project we use three different languages: Arabic, English, and French. Arabic is a RTL language, which often makes automated translation more complex, but Transifex handled it perfectly.”

Making the World a Better Place

Making important information accessible to those displayed from the Syrian crisis is just one of the many projects the IRC is a part of. Their humanitarian efforts include:

  • Emergency response at the outset of a crisis (water, food, shelter, sanitation services, assistance for unaccompanied children, primary health care, sexual and gender-based violence prevention)
  • Post-conflict education, training, income generation, and health care
  • Post-conflict development
  • Refugee resettlement in the U.S.
  • Advocacy for the cause of refugees

And it doesn’t stop there. In 2014, the IRC:

  • Helped 17.6 million people whose lives and livelihoods were shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future
  • Provided 16 million people with primary and reproductive health care
  • Gave 3.3 million people access to clean drinking water and sanitation
  • Vaccinated over 364,000 children under the age of one against disease
  • Helped 331,000 women deliver healthy babies in IRC-supported clinics and hospitals
  • Treated 104,000 children under the age of five for acute malnutrition
  • Provided schooling and educational opportunities to more than 1 million girls and boys, and trained nearly 23,000 educators
  • Provided counseling or cared for 32,500 vulnerable children
  • Counseled and provided essential services to some 11,000 survivors of gender-based violence, and educated, and mobilized over 1.2 million men, women and children to lead prevention efforts in their communities
  • Created 1,530 village savings and loan associations (VSLAs) that benefited some 36,000 members in 8 countries
  • Provided 18,000 farmers with agricultural or agribusiness training
  • Provided job-related skills training (entrepreneurship, business and financial literacy, vocational training) to 18,000 people
  • Provided legal assistance to 22,000 people through IRC-supported legal centers
  • Helped resettle 10,900 newly arrived refugees and other immigrants in the United States

Show Your Support

We love the International Rescue Committee’s mission and are proud to call them a user of Transifex! It’s a true testament to the power of breaking global language barriers and connecting people with one another, no matter what language they speak. To learn more about how you can help, please visit their website or click here to make a donation.

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Dimitris Glezos
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