The Audacious Project:
Expanding Our Impact

IRAP is equipping more displaced people in more countries than ever before with the legal resources necessary to secure refuge and reunite with loved ones. Watch IRAP’s Executive Director Becca Heller’s TED Talk at the TED2022 conference in Vancouver:

The Problem & Opportunity

More than 84 million people globally have been forced to leave their homes, fleeing war, persecution, and – increasingly – the effects of climate change. For displaced people seeking lasting refuge, legal representation dramatically increases the chances of safe resettlement, yet the legal resources available to refugees are often fragmented, outdated, and, in many locations, nonexistent. Without an expansion of legal aid globally and large-scale reforms to the way refugee and immigration systems work, many millions of forced migrants will continue to be trapped in protracted, unstable situations and subject to ongoing security threats, family separation, inhumane conditions, and lack of the legal resources necessary to pursue stable, permanent residency.

Our Audacious Idea

The responsibility to improve access to cross-border refugee rights sits outside the scope of any one government. This is the void that IRAP is purpose-built to fill. Over the next five years, we will scale our legal assistance to help 2.5 million displaced people worldwide access pathways to safe resettlement. At the core of IRAP’s approach is empowering forced migrants with the legal knowledge necessary to activate their legal rights and pursue pathways to safety with dignity and agency. Through multilingual, culturally-relevant, virtual legal resources, we connect displaced people and their advocates with clear, trustworthy information to help them identify and access available resettlement pathways. Through regional hubs and a global network of partners, we also provide direct legal aid to displaced people wherever they are, and challenge systemic problems identified in our casework through policy advocacy and impact litigation that can benefit migrant populations at scale.

Our Strategy

We will expand our programming to new populations, languages, and regions, helping more displaced people to understand their legal rights and the pathways to safety available to them. We will employ three interrelated strategies:

1) Expand our global presence and partnerships to regions hosting 75% of the world’s refugees.

2) Build out the world’s most robust and accessible virtual legal information platform for refugees, so that displaced people can activate their legal rights no matter where they are located.

3) Leverage the power of systemic advocacy and impact litigation to remove existing barriers and create more pathways to safety.

Mother and child holding hands and walking through an airport.

“It looked like I was stuck in a very well-dug hole that was so dark, that no matter how loud I screamed for help no one would help me [and] IRAP was the only one that came to help me.”

Masooma Hussaini, IRAP Client

Client Story

Aaron* and Miriam* were separated from their mother when she was forced to flee their home in Eritrea. Their mother was able to safely resettle in Germany, and the children stayed in a refugee camp in Sudan. Staff inside the camp had been trained by IRAP to identify cases eligible for family reunification, and Aaron and Miriam became IRAP clients.

The German government initially denied the children’s application because they did not have passports. IRAP challenged the denial in German court, explaining the dangers of requesting passports from the Eritrean government. IRAP won the case, and Aaron and Miriam were reunited with their mother in Germany in June 2021. We also established a precedent to ease the passport requirement for thousands of refugee children in similar situations.

*Name changed to protect client identity.

Each year, The Audacious Project – a collaborative funding initiative housed at TED – selects a small number of organizations with big, bold solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges and connects them with renowned leaders in philanthropy. IRAP was chosen for the 2021-2022 cohort.

IRAP’s funding through The Audacious Project is made possible thanks to the partnership of 16 inspiring and forward-thinking donors and social entrepreneurs, including Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Galaxy Gives, Joe Gebbia and Isabelle Boemeke, Laura and Gary Lauder and Family, Lyna Lam and Chris Larsen, MacKenzie Scott, Pivotal Ventures, Rippleworks, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The Patchwork Collective, Valhalla Foundation, and other anonymous funders.

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