Jesuit Refugee Service Celebrates 30 Years
Tags: Jesuit, Jesuit Refugee Service, jesuits, JRS, refugees, Society of Jesus
On November, 14, 1980, Jesuits moved to meet the humanitarian and education needs of the Vietnamese boat people, and Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) was born. Today, the number of forcibly displaced persons worldwide has increased from 16 to 45 million.
Thirty years have passed since the initial vision of Jesuit Father Pedro Arrupe (pictured below)—JRS’s founding father and the former superior general of the Society of Jesus—and JRS has grown into an international humanitarian organization. JRS has projects in 51 countries worldwide and has dramatically increased the scale and scope of its services to include education, emergency assistance, health care and human rights protection, serving more than half a million refugees.
“Accompaniment is the heart of this approach. Our place is close to refugees, being touched by their reality: in camps, conflict zones, detention center … on the margins of society. This closeness teaches us how best to serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and promote justice and reconciliation,” explained JRS International Director, Jesuit Father Peter Balleis.
JRS places the highest priority on ensuring a future for refugees by investing in education and training. Worldwide, JRS provides primary, secondary, third level and vocational education services to approximately 280,000 children, young people and adults each year.
In partnership with refugees and based on solid research, JRS tries to address the root causes of forced displacement. JRS works to empower refugees and host communities to defend their human rights, promoting harmony and dignity. [Jesuit Refugee Service]