25 years of RI

Relief International established itself in Iran through response activities in the aftermath of the Manjil-Rudbar earthquake in June 1990.

In 2004, RI scaled up its operations in response to the devastation of the Bam earthquake,  in which approximately 26,000 people lost their lives and 90% of the city was destroyed. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, Relief International responded to families' basic needs by distributing essential food and non-food items such as milk for children, dietary staples, blankets, and hygiene kits for women. As the response transitioned from relief to rehabilitation and development, Relief International's response also evolved. By the end of 2005, Relief International had constructed permanent housing for 850 families, established two fully staffed health clinics, built schools and cultural centers, and implemented a microfinance program to serve the community.

Since Bam, RI has been the only INGO authorized to respond to emergency situations in the country, such as the 2012 East Azerbaijan earthquake.

Since its initial presence in Iran, Relief International's teams followed the organization's signature "short-term aid to long-term development" approach as efforts gradually shifted toward rehabilitation that enabled the improvement of Iranian livelihoods — especially for women and children.

In the wake of a series of tragic natural disasters, thousands of women are left without husbands, and have neither power nor income. Since 2004, RI has been working with Iranian communities through microfinance support for women’s initiatives in 8 villages in Bam and Bardsir. The Rural Women's Microcredit Program provides mothers, grandmothers, and daughters with the opportunity to generate income and achieve economic stability for themselves and their families.

In 2010, in partnership with the Vocational Training Organization of Iran and some local NGOs like Association for Protection of Refugee Women and Children (HAMI), RI started working with Afghan refugees, conducting literacy and life skills classes for women and children in Tehran and Mashhad, and vocational training for Afghan young adults in the Kerman province.

RI Today

  • Relief International recently built and furnished a school library for Afghan refugee children at the Shahid Naseri Camp in Markazi province.
  • In close cooperation with BAFIA and IRCS, RI is currently implementing a project focusing on strengthening Iranian NGOs through a comprehensive capacity building and grant implementation program.
  • RI is part of the regional policy framework, Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR), which advocates for sustainable solutions and aims to enhance the reintegration of refugee returnees.

RI Partnerships

  • Relief International has been active in Iran for 25 years implementing both emergency and development programs in close partnership with BAFIA (Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs of the Iranian Ministry of Interior), IRCS (Iranian Red Crescent Society), and local communities.
  • Registered as an emergency response and recovery-focused organization with BAFIA in Iran, RI has the unique privilege of being authorized to work with Iranian, refugee, and migrant communities.
  • RI has a privileged partnership with IRCS, Iran’s leading agency for emergency preparedness and response, for strengthening local NGO capacity and supporting disaster relief programs.

 To view testimonies from recipient families, please view this short video:


Iran - Current Programs

Rural Women's Microcredit Program
Relief International's Rural Women's Microcredit Program in some of the most rural and impoverished provinces facilitates women's empowerment and financial independence by providing loans of up to $250 per family. Learn More...