Operation USA
Operation USA is an international relief agency that focuses on working with grass-roots groups to help alleviate the effects of natural and man-made disasters worldwide. The Los Angeles-based group was a co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its work on the “International Campaign to Ban Landmines.”

These are ten important facts about it:

  1. Since it was founded in 1979, the Operation has delivered over $350 million for relief and development projects.
  2. Operation USA was the first Western aid agency to become active in Phnom Penh after Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime lost power.
  3. Through its innovative use of 747 cargo jets, it revolutionized aid delivery to Ethiopia during the 1984 famine.
  4. Operation USA was the first American non-governmental organization licensed to work in Cambodia and Vietnam after the Vietnam War ended.
  5. In June 2013, Operation USA, through its partnership with Honeywell Hometown Solutions, opened the Honeywell Ibasho House in Ofunato, Japan. Ibasho roughly translates as “a place where one feels at home.” The house will serve as a gathering place for the local community devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
  6. Operation USA is completely privately funded.
  7. In 2008, the Operation began working with L’Athletique d’Haiti, a Haitian NGO focused on after-school sports programs for children living in the slums of Part-au-Prince. After the 2010 earthquake, the program’s soccer fields were turned into make-shift camps, housing around 500 families. It continues to work with the evolving needs of the people of Port-au-Prince through food aid and expanded organized sport opportunities for children.
  8. During its 33 years, it has worked in 99 different countries.
  9. Through multiple partner organizations, Operations USA is supporting education, livelihood, and health programs in Sri Lanka as the country’s population tries to rebuild from its recent civil war.
  10. 10. Operation USA has a stated focus on education, believing it to be the most cost-effective aid. Accordingly, the group has education projects in China, New Orleans, Nicaragua, and Haiti.

Bonus Fact: Julie Andrews is a founding Board Member, and Rosario Dawson also currently serves on the Board of Directors.

– Lauren Brown

Sources: ICBL, Operation USA
Photo: Food For The Poor