The International Relief Friendship Foundation, Inc. (IRFF) was first organized in 1975 and became legally registered in 1976. Founded under the principle of "living for the sake of others," IRFF was created for the purpose of providing humanitarian relief to those individuals and families devastated by poverty, illness, natural disasters, and conflict. IRFF has provided basic relief to any and all persons throughout the world since its founding. As IRFF entered the millennium, the organization has expanded its vision and work toward the arena of sustainable development and personal empowerment through the concept of people helping people.
IRFF's work has covered many areas of social concern. Major projects, though, have emphasized the areas of healthcare and nutrition, primary education (including general literacy, education, vocational and agricultural education), economic empowerment and disaster relief. IRFF also sponsors seminars, public information programs and training sessions to educate the public about humanitarian needs, the reality of relief work worldwide, and how to develop a service-minded program in one's own community.
A distinguishing point of IRFF is the development and use of service learning and volunteer training programs. Organizing adolescents and young adults in particular, IRFF has developed numerous service learning projects through which volunteers can both give of themselves to help others as well as develop their own character through a concerted learning component. In addition, volunteers begin to learn how to live responsibly in our global community through the understanding and relationships that are formed across cultural, racial, and religious boundaries. IRFF's strength has been the ability to work together with people as a means to empower all individuals - rich and poor - in order to create an ethos of living for the sake of others, regardless of one's circumstances. Recent service learning programs have also been developed on the family level, thus allowing families from around the globe the opportunity to serve and learn together through these special projects and demonstrating IRFF's commitment to the family and family values.
In 1986, IRFF joined with the International Religious Foundation (IRF) to support the formation of a new program called the Religious Youth Service (RYS). RYS is an interfaith service learning program for young adults and adults that offers a new paradigm for conflict resolution and international/intercultural/interfaith understanding and peace. Participants from diverse world religions work together on major volunteer projects during the day and spend time learning about each other in the late afternoons and evenings. Since its creation, RYS has successfully conducted hundreds of projects reaching throughout our world. Today, IRFF co-sponsors numerous projects with RYS.
In 1991, IRFF became affiliated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN NGO DPI). Through this affiliation, IRFF has not only been able to publicize and increase awareness of valuable programs sponsored by the United Nations and diverse NGOs, but to work together with many other organizations worldwide in order to more effectively serve the peoples of the world.
IRFF has also been a member organization of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD) since 1995. As a member organization, IRFF works cooperatively with other major relief and disaster-based agencies during times of disaster throughout the United States and has formed state level offices with representation in numerous state-wide NVOAD networks.
IRFF continues to embark on the Culture of Peace series of projects, begun in 2000, to coincide with the United Nation's efforts for a culture of peace. These projects in particular, seek to encourage the resolution of age-old conflicts and bring about reconciliation and friendship through the field of service work.
IRFF, together with a partner agency Christian Disaster Response, was there on the front-line of support during the World Trade Center tragedy in 2001 and 2002. During that time, IRFF provided spiritual care and counseling, food and support services for rescue workers, needs assessment for the victims and financial aid to families and individuals hardest hit by the tragedy.
IRFF has approximately 85 chapters and branches worldwide. In its 28 year history, IRFF has been able to touch the lives of millions of people through its diverse programs and activities. IRFF has also been able to encourage the development of new products and resources which may prove beneficial in the future. In addition, through public lectures, conferences, and training seminars IRFF personnel have been able to teach others about the joys and needs for all of us to make living for the sake of others a natural part of our lives.
We encourage all people, regardless of race, nationality, or creed to either contribute to one of our many valuable programs or to volunteer directly to take part in exciting and inspiring service projects. We also encourage each and every global citizen to reach out and experience the joy and fulfillment of living for the sake of others today!