Archive for the ‘Refugee’ Category

Jesuit Refugee Service Director Reflects on Accompanying the Most Vulnerable

The Kakuma Refugee Camp on the Kenyan border of southern Sudan was founded in 1991 for approximately 25,000 former child soldiers from Sudan, often known as the “lost boys.” Within this city of refugees sits the Safe Haven, an initiative of the Jesuit Refugee Service.

Currently beyond capacity, the Safe Haven serves a vulnerable population – unaccompanied women and children, many of whom are victims of sexual and gender-based violence. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA director Jesuit Father Michael Evans, visited this work in March 2010, reflecting on his visit and experiences for Jesuit Refugee Service’s Voices.

“The camp is now bursting with 85,000 refugees living there, and a Kakuma II is being planned — and the JRS extended team has grown to sixteen. Along with continued pastoral care, dozens of trauma counselors have been trained over the years. However, the new work now includes a safe house for vulnerable women and children; the care of refugees with physical, mental, and emotional challenges; and outreach to those who cannot make it to the JRS Centers.”

Safe Haven in Kakuma from Jesuit Refugee Service | USA on Vimeo.

To read Father Evans’ full reflection, click here. Or to learn more about Jesuit Refugee Service, please visit their website.

Jesuits in Japan Grateful for Prayers, Encourage Donations to Help Disaster Relief

A woman who fled from the vicinity of the Fukushima nuclear power plant sits at an evacuation center in Kawamata, Japan, March 14. Japanese officials were fighting to contain two reactors at the plant and avoid a nuclear disaster in the area of the country hardest hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (CNS photo/Yuriko Nakao, Reuters)

A woman who fled from the vicinity of the Fukushima nuclear power plant sits at an evacuation center in Kawamata, Japan, March 14. Japanese officials were fighting to contain two reactors at the plant and avoid a nuclear disaster in the area of the country hardest hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (CNS photo/Yuriko Nakao, Reuters)

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While the world looked on in horror, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck Japan on March 11, triggering a huge tsunami that flooded villages and and wiped coastal towns off the map. Even as Japan struggles to recover, the worst is not over as the nation battles to prevent a nuclear catastrophe and to care for millions of people without power or water in the country’s worst crisis since World War II.

Yesterday, the Jesuits in the U.S. received word from the head of the Jesuits in Japan, Jesuit Father Kajiyama Yoshio, that the Jesuit men and their works there were not seriously affected. The Jesuits here and across the globe continue to pray for the victims of this disaster and for all those providing rescue, relief and support to those impacted by this crisis. For the Jesuits in Japan, they “hope for the best but prepare for the worst”, said Fr. Yoshio in his letter.

The Jesuits in Japan have received many emails from Jesuits and friends around the world offering condolences and asking for updates and how they can help. They have advised that donations should be directed to Caritas International, the social service arm of the Church that responds with food and other assistance. Here in the United States, Catholic Relief Services is organizing donations which will be directly funneled to Caritas. CRS also stands poised to assist Caritas Japan with disaster relief.

The Jesuits’ prayers remain with the people of Japan as they struggle through this difficult time.

Jesuit Brother Boynton Experiences in Haiti Featured in This Month’s NJN Podcast

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton stands amid the remains of the Eglise Sacre Coeur in Downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton stands amid the remains of the Eglise Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Church) in Downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton was missioned in late 2009 to Haiti to serve refugees through the Jesuit-founded Foi et Joie (Faith and Joy) school system. When the devastating earthquake hit the small Caribbean island nation on January 12, 2010, Br. Boyton answered the call to lead an emergency medical response team in the weeks following in Port-au-Prince.  Today, Jesuits continue to provide support in the dire situation that is Haiti a year after the natural disaster struck and continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti during their time of need.

National Jesuit News spoke with Boynton about his experiences in Haiti during its monthly podcast series. You can listen to the interview with Boynton below:

Jesuit Brother Boynton Experiences in Haiti Featured in This Month’s NJN Podcast

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton stands amid the remains of the Eglise Sacre Coeur in Downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton stands amid the remains of the Eglise Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Church) in Downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton was missioned in late 2009 to Haiti to serve refugees through the Jesuit-founded Foi et Joie (Faith and Joy) school system. When the devastating earthquake hit the small Caribbean island nation on January 12, 2010, Br. Boyton answered the call to lead an emergency medical response team in the weeks following in Port-au-Prince.  Today, Jesuits continue to provide support in the dire situation that is Haiti a year after the natural disaster struck and continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti during their time of need.

National Jesuit News spoke with Boynton about his experiences in Haiti during its monthly podcast series. You can listen to the interview with Boynton below:

Jesuit Helps Build Much Needed University in War Ravaged Sudan

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With over four decades on the continent, Jesuit Father Mike Schultheis has devoted himself to providing Catholic higher education across Africa including stints in Uganda and  Tanzania. In the 1990s, he taught economics at the Catholic University of Mozambique, established its first graduate degree and founded a research and documentation center. He also was  the first president of the Catholic University of Ghana. All of his previous educational apostolic work led him to his latest initiative of opening the Catholic University of the Sudan two years ago.

With educational opportunities in Sudan being among the worst in the world and adult literacy below 30 percent, Schultheis realizes that the Catholic University of the Sudan is a critical component in moving the country forward after almost 25 years of civil war. The founding of the university also comes at a critical time for the nation as it prepares for a historic vote in 2011 to decide if Sudan stays united or becomes two countries.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference established the Catholic University of the Sudan as a centerpiece of their national program to help the country recover from decades of violence, famine and mass displacement of people. The vision for the university and its development goes back even farther, to half a century ago, soon after Sudan’s independence from Britain in 1956. The idea for the university was discussed again when former Sudanese president Jafaar Nimeiry met with Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1983, just months before a civil war broke out in the county and dashed the university project yet again.

“The Catholic University of the Sudan, as a national institution, is a dream long deferred,” explains Schultheis. “

You can read more about the new Catholic University of the Sudan here. You can also watch the interview with Fr. Schultheis on the progress of the Catholic University of the Sudan produced by National Jesuit News last year when the school launched its second faculty of agricultural and environmental sciences in Wau.