South Sudan: Healing Hands
13 March 2017
I am Mariam Luma, one of the thirteeen (13) home visitors for JRS Maban (South Sudan) whose work is to visit and accompany persons with disabilities in Doro Refugee Camp and in the host community in their homes.
Read more >>

Uganda: Understanding their needs, ensuring their education
11 January 2017
Kampala, 11 January 2017 - Isaac Ijjo's life always straddled a border. Once a refugee in former Sudan in the 1980's, he later returned to Uganda to assist in the JRS response to Sudanese refugees in the 2000s.
Read more >>

Kakuma: psychosocial care for vulnerable children
17 November 2016
Kakuma, 17 November – Children in the context of a refugee camp, an urban setting, or any other location around the world fall into a category of individuals who are extremely vulnerable. Simply looking at their status in the world will identify that.
Read more >>

Ugandan sister shares her tale of triumph on World Humanitarian Day
18 August 2016
Kampala, 19 August – This World Humanitarian Day, the Jesuit Refugee Service honors Sister Hellen. As a child she suffered the consequence of conflict in northern Uganda and lived as a refugee throughout her childhood. Today she prepares thousands of refugees to start their lives over in Kampala, Uganda by teaching them English.
Read more >>

Kenya: to whom shall we go?
08 April 2016
Kakuma, 8 April 2016 – "Even though I cannot see, I know more than many of you who can see, and that is what is important for me." Rhoda Atong Majok is a South Sudanese refugee who lives in Kenya’s enormous and remote Kakuma camp. She is blind but nonetheless managed to score good marks in primary school, enabling her to continue to secondary level.
Read more >>

Year of Mercy: advancing education for refugees
29 March 2016
Nairobi, 29 March 2016 – In recent days, the world has witnessed increased displacement of thousands of people due to conflict going on in various countries. And while disruption to normal life, deaths and massive suffering are the most noticeable consequences of conflict, equally grave is the loss of education opportunities for affected populations.
Read more >>

Uganda: urban refugees face special challenges
10 March 2016
Washington DC, 29 February 2016 – Despite popular believe that most refugees are confined in rural camps, the reality is that more than half the world’s displaced people live in cities. And for many urban refugees, the experience can be frightening, as they’re often cut-off from family and support networks, have no money and lack jobs skills.
Read more >>

Uganda: gazes from Kampala
08 January 2016
Kampala, 8 January 2016 - For more than one year, I have worked for the Jesuit Refugee Service in Kampala, Uganda. I have observed multiple realities faced by refugees and tried to comprehend the many gazes of those I work with –sometimes those gazes are sweet and kind, other times bitter and inquiring. I have come to the conclusion, however, that these gazes do not bring one single reality or single story, but rather they bring complex layers of reality. Their stories have reminded me that what we see is not always what is real.
Read more >>

South Sudan: finding God in the forcibly displaced
19 December 2015
Maban, 19 November 2015 – After having worked with the Jesuit Refugee Service for years in Liberia, Nogales (USA-México border), Kakuma (Kenya) and now Maban(South Sudan), Pau Vidal SJ reflects on the meaning of JRS in his life through the words of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, the founder of JRS.
Read more >>

JRS anniversary: nourishing the JRS mission
16 November 2015
Yambio, 16 November 2015 – My story with refugees dates back to 2004, when I joined the Jesuit Refugee Service in Adjumani, northern Uganda to support the then-Sudanese refugees who fled the long historic civil war. This experience turned out to be the biggest risk, but also the most significant turning point in my life.
Read more >>

Anniversary reflection: my journey across three countries with refugees
10 November 2015
Darfur, 10 November 2015 – Hezekiah Ronald Ombiro, JRS Darfur Project Director and Acting JRS Sudan Director, narrates his journey with refugees through Kenya, South Sudan and Sudan.
Read more >>

Uganda: early childhood education encourages integration
08 June 2015
Kampala, 8 June 2015 – Despite the importance of early education to their cognitive, social and emotional development, extreme poverty and discrimination hinders the full development of millions of children. This is especially true for refugee children. Yet the reality is, when made accessible, early education can work wonders.
Read more >>

Hotter than fire: the deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean
21 May 2015
Nairobi, 21 May 2015 – The repeated tragedy of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea, 'conjures up an eerie spectre of the transatlantic slave trade', says Nigerian Jesuit Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator. The revulsion with which we now react to the slave trade should also apply to this modern-day crisis, and must inform our thinking and action in response to it.
Read more >>

Eastern Africa: child protection streamlined through projects
05 May 2015
Nairobi, 5 May 2015 – Ayaan* is the top student in her class. Born to Somali refugees in Nairobi, she hopes to be a surgeon one day. However, for months last year she had to suspend her studies after being intimidated, threatened and beaten by young men in her community.
Read more >>

Waiting and serving in hope: a Christmas reflection
19 December 2014
Nairobi, 19 December 2014 – In preparation for the birth of Jesus, Deogratias M Rwezaura SJ, JRS Eastern Africa Director, reflects on the meaning of the Advent season, a season of waiting, for the displaced persons served by the Jesuit Refugee Service throughout Eastern Africa.
Read more >>

Eastern Africa: if the People of God moves, the Church moves
10 December 2014
Nairobi, 10 December 2014 – The church has always been close to people on the move in different ways. For the early Christian community, hospitality was a fundamental attitude and way of life. Throughout the centuries, hostels offered shelter to travellers and pilgrims, with special concern for the vulnerable. Today, ministry to refugees is a key missionary field, where the Good News of Jesus' love and compassion is proclaimed. Recalling the insightful comment of JRS founder Pedro Arrupe, "If the People of God moves, the Church moves", Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator highlights the close relationship between the church and displaced people. God does not abandon his people: even in exile, he is present, accompanying them all the way.
Read more >>

Africa: accompanying refugees in the Eucharist
03 December 2014
Agulupi, Kakuma, Makhado, 3 December 2014 – Drawn from his years of pastoral work in Uganda, South Africa and Kenya, Gary Smith’s reflection vividly describes how celebrating the Eucharist can be an act of accompaniment for Christian refugees. Celebrating Mass in refugee settings – with song and dance, drama and dialogue – the Good News of the Gospel is broken open, faith is expressed, and God’s people are accompanied. Likewise, Christian members of JRS find in the Eucharist the accompaniment needed to continue being present to and supporting the refugee communities they serve.
Read more >>

South Sudan: pastoral accompaniment as a sign of God's presence
19 November 2014
Lobone, 19 November 2014 – Faith plays a pivotal role in the experience of refugees. Ignoring this reality would be tantamount to ignoring the huge potential of faith to help refugees cope resiliently with the hardships they face, and to look beyond the present to a future of hope. While respecting the faith of all refugees, JRS offers pastoral services for Catholic refugees in response to need, distinctly from other services. Richard Dwyer says that for many refugees, the presence of a priest is a symbol and a practical sign of God's presence.
Read more >>

Ethiopia: serving refugees in the Horn of Africa
13 November 2014
Dollo Ado, 13 November 2014 –The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) noted that during 2013 the "population of concern" in Ethiopia rose from about 379,000 to 436,000. Most of these refugees live in camps in the Dollo Ado region, a desert area near the southeastern border with Somalia and Kenya. Most struggle to get by in the camps, even risking their lives. Yet with improved educational and livelihood, much can be done to offer young refugees the hope of a brighter future.
Read more >>

Eastern Africa: friends in the Lord
12 November 2014
Nairobi, 12 November 2014 – Atsu Andre Agbogan reflects concretely on his own experience with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) teams in the field and, from his perspective as a human resources officer, highlights the importance of accompaniment within JRS teams. He challenges all in JRS – team members and leaders alike – to understand accompaniment as a process of working together as a team, one complementing the other, striving to identify solutions to problems and offering mutual support in order to achieve the JRS mission.
Read more >>

South Sudan: Working with vulnerable girls
28 February 2014
Yambio, 28 February 2014 - I am Sr. Elizabeth Waraga, a South Sudanese native of Western Equatoria State and a Missionary Sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary (MSBVM). I was born during war and my lifetime is an experience of war. I have been a refugee in Central Africa Republic (CAR) on different occasions. But my life as a refugee gave me an opportunity to learn and have a great desire to become a teacher especially to work with girls.
Read more >>

Uganda: Giving a shoulder to lean on and a comforting hand
28 February 2014
Kampala, 28 February 2014 - Many of the students that join the JRS Kampala vocational training classes bear many emotional scars that need to be delicately healed. The accompaniment of such students continues even after they have finished their studies. Such was the case of Marie*, a student of the JRS hairdressing class last year who had joined this course on 8th April 2013. Marie, who is 28 years old and married with three children, had fled to Uganda from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2011.
Read more >>

Uganda: Acquiring skills for life
27 November 2013
Kampala, 27 November 2013 - In March 2013 JRS Kampala started its first Hair dressing class to promote refugees sustain themselves in an urban setup. The Hair Dressing class is a pilot project, but already has been a great success. The 19 students are very excited to see how they make a profit out of their skills without even having finished the course! Some work in saloons over the weekend in Kampala, others even work from the JRS compound after class.
Read more >>

Uganda: JRS Kampala fashion designers prepare for graduation showcase
27 November 2013
Kampala, 27 November 2013 - I am so grateful to JRS as an organization for giving me this opportunity to practice my career as a designer. It is a chance for me to work and share my experience with refugees from different countries, such as from DR Congo or Rwanda - especially as I have been a displaced person myself in 2003 due to the actions of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Read more >>

Kenya: Charting the way forward
11 November 2013
Nairobi, 11 November 2013 - Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has been described as a purpose driven organization that serves refugees and other displaced persons in areas where there is greatest need. Addressing JRS-EA Country Directors in Nairobi, the JRS Eastern Africa Regional Director Fr. Deogratias Rwezaura, SJ pointed out that the organisation works where there are gaps in humanitarian assistance, often in difficult and challenging locations such as Syria.
Read more >>

Kenya: A day well spent at the Jehovah Jireh’s Children Home
31 October 2013
Nairobi, 31 October 2013 - Part of the mandate of the Education department of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Nairobi Urban Project is to provide scholarships to individuals, mainly refugees, who want to pursue a secondary school education. The beneficiaries of these scholarships in return are expected to be involved in community service and other activities that are usually planned for during the school holidays.
Read more >>

Kenya: A learning experience
12 September 2013
Kakuma, 12 September 2013 - I have been working for Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Kakuma for slightly over two years now, with the Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM) programme for the entire time. I came to Kakuma a month after finishing my master’s degree to work as a facilitator for a community development and organization track that was about to be started.
Read more >>

Kenya: Opening opportunities through education
30 July 2013
Kakuma, 30 July 2013 - If you had asked me a month ago, what I was walking into when I interned with Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), specifically with their Jesuit Commons Higher Education at the Margins (JC-HEM) programme here at Kakuma, I honestly could not tell you what I expected. Maybe small classes, some online programmes and a couple of dedicated students.
Read more >>

Kenya: The quest for upholding human dignity
29 July 2013
Nairobi, 29 July 2013 - In my life, I have heard about refugees, met refugees and even covered a unit course on refugees in my studies. However, none of this measures up to the experience of being with the refugees and sharing their experiences over some duration of time. My 2-month internship experience at Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has been an amazing one.
Read more >>

Kenya: Accompaniment amidst challenges – A reflection of the times in Kakuma
06 July 2013
Kakuma, 6 July, 2013 - “They have taken away my home but they cannot take away my future.” These were words on a T-Shirt very often worn by one of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Scholarship beneficiaries who used to visit my office while I was working in Kakuma. These words spoke volumes to me as I came to the end of my two and a half years of working with and accompanying refugees in Kakuma.
Read more >>

Uganda: Joy comes in small packages
10 June 2013
Kampala, 10 June 2013 - Listening is a very powerful communication tool that is usually skipped in many settings. Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) through one of its core values emphasizes accompaniment and in doing so, its staff members are usually urged not to depart from the habit of offering a listening ear to its beneficiaries, especially listening to their stories of flight from country of origin, struggles in country of asylum, future aspirations and how they find joy and happiness in a seemingly hopeless situation.
Read more >>

Kenya: Young people holding each other’s hand in adversity
07 June 2013
Kakuma, 7 June 2013 - I was just one and half month old in my job in the Kakuma Refugee Camp when I met Tony, a young man probably in his early 20s. It was one of the JRS priests who introduced me to him and little did I know that I would soon be boasting of a good refugee friend. Tony had fled their Eastern DRC home due to armed conflict and by the time we met he was just four months old in the camp, single and with no other relative living in the camp.
Read more >>

Uganda: JRS Kindergarten gives children a chance to enjoy childhood
06 June 2013
Kampala, 6 June 2013 - In a refugee situation, children are by far the most affected. They are deprived of parental love, care, a chance to learn, play and more importantly, the opportunity to enjoy their childhood. Owing to this background, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Kampala opened up an early childhood development center in 2012, accommodating 50 refugee children ranging between 4 to 10years, majority being Congolese.
Read more >>

South Sudan: JRS accompanies nursery school teachers in Yambio
20 May 2013
Yambio, 20 May 2013 - The Bishop Abanginte Nursery School is a school run by the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio. The school offers education services to 300 children from the age of three to six years. The school has six teachers who take care of the children. The Bishop Abanginte Nursery school was initiated to give an opportunity to pre-scholars prepare for primary school.
Read more >>

South Sudan: Passion for teaching despite the odds
16 April 2013
Yambio, South Sudan 16 April 2013 - My name is Elizabeth, a teacher at St Mary’s Primary School in Western Equatoria -Yambio County. I have taught children in several schools in Western and Central Equatoria. My experience has shown that, there are very few female teachers. This seems to be a common problem of schools in Equatoria states.
Read more >>

Kenya: Celebrating the refugee woman
05 April 2013
Nairobi, 20 March 2013 – There was a palpable sense of excitement at the St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Kangemi, Nairobi as women dressed in colourful outfits filed into the hall. The date was Friday 15th March 2013 and although the morning was overcast, the women’s colourful outfits brightened the day. The women were from different nationalities including Congolese, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Rwandese, Somalis and some Kenyans. They had gathered to celebrate their day, which is the International Women’s Day.
Read more >>

South Sudan: The puzzle of science practical lessons for secondary schools
11 March 2013
Yambio, 11 March 2013 – Secondary schools in Western Equatoria, South Sudan are grappling with a recent government directive to make science lessons more practical. Secondary schools in Western Equatoria have been conducting theoretical science lessons that exclude practicals because the curriculum they had before South Sudan gained independence emphasized on general science.
Read more >>

Ethiopia: How context shaped my perspective
17 February 2013
Dollo Ado, 17 February 2013 - About eight years ago, I started learning about urban refugees through questioning, participatory observation and listening to their stories. In 2012, I passionately started learning new experiences with Somali refugees in Dollo Ado refugee camp complex, Ethiopia.
Read more >>

Uganda: Creative farming by JRS urban refugee farmers club
15 February 2013
Kampala, 15 February 2013 – A refugee farmers’ club, the first of its kind, has been initiated in Kampala, Uganda. The club that has 40 members made up of refugees and asylum seekers was started in December 2012 and includes some JRS staff members.
Read more >>

South Sudan: JRS extends to Western Equatoria
11 February 2013
Yambio, 4 February 2013 - Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has extended its services to Western Equatoria in South Sudan. The hospitality and the needs of the people of Western Equatorial moved JRS in joining them and assist find solutions to their pressing needs. The people of Western Equatoria were displaced due to a long civil war in the Sudan as well an invasion by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Read more >>

Uganda: The amazing experience of 2012 JRS Kampala English class
11 February 2013
Kampala, 11 January 2013 - There is so much in the world that requires human attention, understanding and patience. The English class of 2012, which was run by the JRS Urban Emergency Project (UEP) in Kampala, Uganda had 166 learners including children and adults. One could see the eagerness on their faces and the anxiety of learning a new language.
Read more >>

Kenya: Counselling in the refugee community
11 February 2013
Nairobi, 1 February 2013 - Counselling is a process of relating and responding between a therapist and a counsellee so that s/he maybe in a position to explore her thoughts, feelings and behaviour in a healthy and relaxed way so as to reach a clearer self-understanding. It also helps a counsellee find and use his or her strengths, weaknesses so that they may cope effectively with life by making appropriate decisions or taking relevant action.
Read more >>

Kenya: Ubuntu – Compassion for humanity
02 January 2013
Kakuma, December 2012 - When many people hear about refugees, their first image is that of ‘vulnerable’, ‘traumatised’ and ‘incapable’ people who only depend on external support to survive. The reality of things is that what many people think is not true.
Read more >>

Kenya: I have discovered myself by accompanying refugees
26 November 2012
Kakuma, 26 November 2012 – On my first arrival in Lodwar I was met with a culture shock. The hot weather made my first experience even worse; but then I saw people waving and I thought “thank God there are people here for us”. The welcome I got made it slightly easier for me to cope, “this would be an interesting and a strong team to work with”, I thought.
Read more >>

Ethiopia: Dollo Ado, one year on
11 October 2012
Dollo Ado, 11 October 2012 -; The deeper we travelled towards the south-eastern Ethiopian/Somali border close to Kenya, the hotter it became. Initially it was very difficult to cope with the weather conditions.
Read more >>

Kenya: A song from Eastleigh
24 September 2012
Nairobi, 24 September 2012 – While I can appreciate the humility that abounds within the traditional internship of coffee brewing and photocopying, I was thankfully handed a different job description when I arrived with Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). I was given the autonomy to use my social work skills, working as part of the Urban Emergency Programme team in Nairobi, Kenya. JRS exposed me to an intriguing tune of praise that after having heard the rhythm, I have now begun to understand the lyrics.
Read more >>

Kenya: Refugees helping each other
21 August 2012
Kakuma, 21 August 2012 – In Kakuma refugee camp, the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) staff in their delivery of the psychosocial and education programmes would not be nearly so effective without the invaluable help of refugee volunteers, known as 'incentive staff’. More than 200 volunteers have been trained by JRS to provide support to their fellow refugees in education, counselling and alternative healing, in return for a small monthly stipend. As a tribute to their dedication to JRS, despite their own problems and challenges, we asked three refugee incentive staff to share their thoughts on their experiences working in Kakuma.
Read more >>

Kenya: a renewed sense of belonging
19 August 2012
Nairobi, 19 August 2012 – One and a half years after starting my work with urban refugees in Nairobi, Kenya, I can look back and say it has been a privilege. I feel blessed that the Lord has granted me the opportunity to share my experiences as a pastoral worker with Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).
Read more >>

Eastern Africa: in the service of humanity
18 August 2012
Nairobi 18 August – As we drove along the two-hour stretch of rocky gravel road from Dollo Ado Town to Melkadida refugee camp, one of the five camps in the southeastern part of Ethiopia hosting Somali refugees, one thought kept hounding me. ''It is impossible to be indifferent or lethargic as thousands of people starve to death or are at risk of being killed. In spite of the hardships we face, we have to act! Throughout my three-week visit to our projects in Ethiopia, this thought continued to strengthen in my mind.”
Read more >>

Ethiopia: Playing, dancing, laughing and learning in Dollo Ado
07 March 2012
Dollo Ado, 7 March 2012 – Last year, in August 2011, the children in Melkadida Refugee Camp, Dollo Ado were struggling to survive. They were on the verge of death. I witnessed their agony and I saw the many pits in graveyards prepared in advance. Now, six months later, life is different and I am happy to watch them playing, dancing, laughing and learning.
Read more >>

Uganda: Exploring issues of forced migration at the IASFM 13 conference
07 July 2011
Kampala, 7 July 2011 – For the past three days a colleague from JRS Uganda and I have been attending a conference on forced migration organised for the 13th time by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
Read more >>

Kenya: Reflections on my first school visit
01 July 2011
Kakuma, 1 July 2011 – Sr Margret Mwarili, a JRS worker in Kakuma refugee camp, has recently returned from visiting 13 schools across Kenya where JRS-sponsored refugees students pursue their education. The JRS team visits them three times in a year to offer support and follow up on their social and academic progress. This is a major undertaking given that Kakuma is located in a remote part of Kenya with poor infrastructure and schools are located in various parts of the country.
Read more >>

Kenya: Reflections on pastoral care among refugees in Kakuma
06 June 2011
Kakuma, 6 June 2011 – We slipped into the dirt-floor tukul, five men, five women and myself. In one corner sit six wide-eyed children, listening to their elders. One of the women participants, holding her two-month old baby, leads us in an enthusiastic hymn. The leader reads from the Gospel of John in the Sudanese mother tongue.
Read more >>

Eastern Africa: Our way of proceeding
14 December 2010
Lobone, 14 December 2010 – The Jesuits, gathered in the 34th General Congregation and reflecting on their mission, formulated eight characteristics of the Jesuit way of proceeding. JRS as a work of the Society of Jesus is widely influenced by the Jesuit world-view and the manners of doing their work. Therefore, these principles can also be a helpful guideline and inspiration for JRS workers.
Read more >>

Jesuit Refugee Service: A reflection on the 30th anniversary of its foundation
14 November 2010
Rome, 14 November 2010 – Thirty years ago, shocked by the plight of thousands of refugees driven from their homes in Vietnam, Father Pedro Arrupe founded the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), drawing the attention of the Society of Jesus to the enormous spiritual and material needs of refugees worldwide.
Read more >>