International Association for Refugees Helping people survive and recover from forced displacement


International Association for Refugees (IAFR) is a Christian missions agency helping people survive and recover from forced displacement.

We do this in partnership with the Church as she has a unique and critical role to play in the global refugee crisis.

We also strengthen regional and global networks that seek the welfare of refugees. Several of our staff serve in unpaid leadership roles with World Evangelical Alliance, the Global Diaspora Network of the Lausanne Movement and the Refugee Highway Partnership.

Photo: Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.

Psalm 107

Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.

They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress.

He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.

Let them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love.

Photo: Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.

From the President

Refugees are our fellow human beings, made in the image of God, spilling out of the deepest and darkest wounds in the world today. And while they are vulnerable, they are more than people in need.

IAFR partners with refugees in ways that affirm dignity and demonstrate respect while helping them survive and recover from forced displacement.

We partner with the Church in ways that break the isolation of refugees and extend hospitality, hope and healing.

I am most grateful for every prayer, donation, volunteer and missionary that joins with us in pursuing this urgent mission.

-Tom Albinson, IAFR Founder/President

Photo: Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.

Beyond Humanitarian Response

Solutions to forced displacement are hard to find. By no fault of their own, refugees are often dependent upon humanitarian agencies to meet their essential needs for shelter, water, food and medical care. Yet, even when these needs are met, they often feel that they've been stripped of dignity and struggle to keep hope alive.

Humanitarian agencies acknowledge that they are not well-equipped to restore dignity and strengthen hope. Yet these needs are as essential to life as the air we breathe. It is not easy to keep breathing without them.

IAFR has identified six outcomes that restore dignity, strengthen hope and help people recover from forced displacement. They include investing in supportive community, life-giving faith, emotional well-being, new capacities and supporting meaningful contribution.

These are the natural strengths of a healthy local church. We would be happy to talk these over in detail with you. Contact us at info@iafr.org today!

Biblical Perspective

From the divine banishment of Adam and Eve out of the Garden to the final book of the Bible penned by John while in exile on the island of Patmos, stories of forced displacement run throughout Scripture.

God's Word repeatedly calls us to love and care for refugees in tangible ways. We are to be sure that their needs for shelter, food, and clothing are met. We are to extend hospitality and seek justice on their behalf as well.

Jesus personally identifies with refugees and asylum seekers - and they can also identify with him - for it was political persecution that forced Jesus and his family to flee in the night to Egypt when he was a young child.

Followers of Jesus will do well to rediscover the God-given privilege and responsibility to seek the protection and welfare of forcibly displaced people in the world today.

For by serving them, we serve Jesus.

Photo: Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.

Refugee Realities

  • In 2009, there were 42 million forcibly displaced people worldwide.
  • In 2019, there were 71 million forcibly displaced people.
  • 1 in every 108 people alive is forcibly displaced today.
  • The majority of the world's refugees are women and children.
  • 4/5ths of the world's refugees are hosted by developing nations.

Photo: Dzaleka refugee camp, Malawi.

More Than People in Need

Pastor Gatera says he's from Burundi, but he's never lived there. His parents were refugees in Rwanda when he was born. He fled to DR Congo when the genocide broke out. War in Congo forced him to later flee to Tanzania. When threatened to be forcibly returned to Burundi, he fled to Kenya.

He spent 20 years of his life in Kakuma refugee camp (Kenya) before he and his family were resettled to the USA.

While in the camp, Gatera became a believer and then a pastor. His leadership was instrumental in the development of an association of over 160 churches in the camp that work together to help people survive and recover from forced displacement.

Pastor Gatera serves with IAFR today as Consultant for Refugee Churches.

Photo: Gatera family arrival in the USA.

The Refugee Church

Refugee churches play a critical role in helping people survive and recover from forced displacement.

These faith communities transcend their circumstances in worship together. Hope is strengthened as they remember that God hears our cries and promises to always be with us. They help people find meaning in loss and suffering. They work tirelessly to further the kingdom of God among their fellow refugees and in their surrounding host community.

It is our joy to partner with these brothers and sisters.

Photo: Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.

In Europe

Many people take long and dangerous journeys to seek refuge in Europe. Many are trying to escape violence and hatred in their homelands.

No one knows how many have died attempting to cross deserts, seas and mountains in their attempt to find safety and peace.

Few nations roll out the welcome mat for refugees. Conditions in Europe are often tough.

We are partnering with churches in Europe to meet asylum seekers and refugees in ways that restore dignity and strengthen hope.

Photo: Lille, France.

In the USA

Some assume that once an asylum seeker or refugee reaches the USA that their struggles are over. But the new challenges they face are as unexpected as they are overwhelming.

IAFR is partnering with local churches to extend a welcoming and supportive community to these weary friends.

We are also developing a network of houses that offer temporary shelter to asylum seekers as they are not permitted to work or access social services for their first 6-12 months in the USA.

Photo: Jonathan House in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In Africa

Life in a refugee camp is hard. The environments are often remote and harsh. Everything is in short supply. Everyone has suffered unspeakable loss and trauma. The future is uncertain. It's easy to feel forgotten by the rest of the world.

IAFR is partnering with refugee churches in ways that deepen faith, strengthen hope and affirm dignity. We know that these faith communities play a critical role in helping people survive and recover from forced displacement.

We get behind their ideas to care for others - including their initiatives to help the surrounding host community.

Photo: Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.

Projects & Programs

After 20 years of running their School of Mission (KISOM) out of abandoned and dilapidated buildings (including this one), our refugee church partner opened their new building in 2019 (next image).

The school is an essential part of equipping pastors and church leaders from the camp and surrounding host community.

IAFR counts it a joy to have enabled them to purchase the land and build this school.

This is but one example of how we are helping keep faith and hope alive in the harsh conditions of Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.

Photos: KISOM in Kakuma, Kenya.

Research & Advocacy

IAFR resources like this Map of the Refugee Highway (2019) are used internationally to offer an informed overview of refugee realities along with biblical perspective.

The Map and other tools are updated annually and made available at no cost from the IAFR online Toolbox.

See www.IAFR.org/toolbox

Training & Consulting

IAFR is a sought out ministry expert when it comes to missions in humanitarian space (i.e. refugee contexts).

We have trained and consulted with churches, missions and other agencies serving in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, as well as in North and South America.

Interested in learning about training and consulting opportunities? Contact us at training@iafr.org.

Photo: IAFR Training Event in the USA.


We are drilling a well, building shelters, churches and schools, housing asylum seekers, training church leaders, providing educational resources and scholarships, sponsoring youth camps, supporting youth ministries, opening welcome centers, catalyzing business start-ups, teaching English, providing medical care, assisting individuals with pressing needs, and most importantly, spending time visiting our uprooted friends - but we can't show up in these life-giving ways without our generous financial partners - people like you!

Photo: Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.

Thank You!

We are acutely aware of the fact that we can't accomplish the mission of helping people survive and recover from forced displacement without you!

It takes all of us - financial partners, intercessors, advocates, volunteers and full-time missionaries.

Thank you for your part in bringing hope to the refugee highway!

-Tom Albinson, Founder/President

Photo: Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.

10 Year Perspective: 2009 - 2019

The number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people increased by 29 million people between 2009 - 2019.

Solutions to forced displacement are failing as the population of uprooted people rises.

It is in this context that IAFR is helping people survive and recover from forced displacement

Photo: Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.

Financial Office:

IAFR | PO Box 1405 | Wheaton, IL 60187

Main Office:

IAFR | 1515 East 66th Street | Mpls. MN 55423

Email: info@iafr.org | Phone: 612-200-0321



All photos (c) copyright International Association for Refugees. All rights reserved.