Meet our volunteers
Refugee resettlement work is a public-private partnership, and would not be possible without the invaluable contribution of community members and the work of dedicated volunteers -- we are so grateful for their time, service, and support in helping provide a warm welcome to recently arrived refugees, and ensuring that refugees, asylees, and immigrants thrive in our communities.
One of the great things about the IRC is that its mission and the desire to serve brings people together from all backgrounds, professions, and walks of life. Get to know some of these inspiring, dedicated, and compassionate humanitarians in our new monthly IRC-LA Volunteer Spotlight series!
Zahra has always been deeply connected to Afghanistan, as well as the refugee experience. She arrived in the United States at the age of 6 as a child of refugees herself, and while in the US, her father started a non-profit to help individuals in Afghanistan. He held fundraisers, assisted charities in order to send funds to those in need, and then twenty years ago, he even started a school. She credits her father’s resilience and compassion to be of service for her global perspective of the world.
“Back in August of last year when civilians were evacuating Kabul, it was a difficult time for me to watch the news knowing my own father was there. After the fall of Kabul, I started to do research on what I can do to help Afghans in my own community, here in Los Angeles.”
This research led Zahra to volunteering with the International Rescue Committee in Los Angeles. Zahra immediately began helping IRC's Reception and Placement Caseworkers by assisting newly arrived refugee families, providing translation, case management support, and helping to coordinate in-kind donations. She has swiftly become an invaluable member of the resettlement team at the IRC in Los Angeles, and there is no shortage of gratitude to Zahra from our staff and families alike.
When asked about what advice she has for future volunteers, she states: “There are always ways to help. We live in a time where the world is going at such a fast pace and we are so busy but it is important to understand we are privileged and have access to things like clean water. There's still an influx of refugees that need help and the smallest things can make the biggest difference. Be prepared to help in any capacity."
Thank you, Zahra Jan!
Author: Summer Ly, Community Relations Intern