Jesuit Refugee Service to Help Somali Refugee Children
Tags: Africa, Jesuit, Jesuit Refugee Service, jesuits, Society of Jesus, Somalia
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Eastern Africa Regional Director Jesuit Father Frido Pflueger visited the Dollo Ado refugee camps in southeast Ethiopia in August and found that JRS must focus on the children there.
“What impressed me most and what is really very sad and touching, is the huge number of children in every camp,” said Pflueger of the refugees who are fleeing drought and conflict in Somalia.
He said more than 80 percent of the 120,000 refugees in the Dollo Ado area are children below the age of 18.
“JRS has to act very soon, because it is our obligation to help the poorest of the poor,” Pflueger said. “And I have seen them in these camps.”
After seeing the situation on the ground, Pflueger said that because of the number of children, building schools would be the best direction for JRS there.
“When they are in school, they have something meaningful to do and are secure. It also gives them a perspective for their future,” he said.
Pflueger also said JRS should also start providing other activities, such as sports and theater, so that young refugees have something meaningful to do during the day.
He said that within the next few weeks they need to send in a team that will do an in-depth assessment and start setting up some of the buildings and activities.
“It is heartbreaking to see all these thousands and thousands of children doing nothing,” Pflueger said. “Therefore, we have to start doing something. It is our moral obligation. We cannot ignore this situation. And I think the plan we now have in mind gives us a good starting point.”
JRS/USA is accepting donations to support their efforts to help refugees at www.jrsusa.org/donate.