Welcome to the website of JRS Southern Africa



Malawi: From Almost Dying in the Forest to Being a Medical Doctor; A Refugee’s Inspirational Story
Her diminutive size and stature belies her maturity and immense achievements she has accomplished. Listening to Mirreille Twayigira’s story now, it is difficult to believe that she almost lost her life as a child as a result of malnutrition and exhaustion, in the forests of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia and Angola.
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Southern Africa: JRS Southern Africa Welcomes a New Regional Director as it bids Farewell to Father David Holdcroft SJ
After six years of selfless service, Father David Holdcroft SJ has moved on as Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Southern Africa Regional Director. His skills and talent will be applied elsewhere within JRS, at the International Office level. Staff, refugees, asylum seekers and many other people he has come into contact with, will most certainly miss him dearly.

However, with the sad news of his departure, there is a silver lining to the dark cloud, his replacement, the newly appointed Regional Director, Tim Smith, is certainly a competent and worthy replacement.
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Zimbabwe: The Grinding Mill, Making a Positive Difference in the Lives of all at Tongogara
Maize meal, cooked into a porridge, is a Southern African staple and forms an essential part of the diet of the people of Tongogara. It is nutritious and cheap and can be turned into large, filling meals. To stretch their dollars, the refugees and asylum seekers in the camp- like many of the locals in the surrounding areas - have opted to buy maize instead of maize meal. Maize on the cob is cheaper than the already processed maize and so the people of Tongogara had to venture into the surrounding communities and pay for the services of grinding mills.
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Malawi: It all started at Kapise
As of December 2015, a number of asylum seekers from Mozambique crossed into neighbouring Malawi. Kapise, in the Mwanza District of Malawi, lies adjacent to Mozambique and is a community of small villages scattered throughout the hills. No fence, river or any such impediment divides the two countries and so by January 2016, approximately 11 000 refugees had made their way into Malawi, along a dirt road that disappears over the horizon. These asylum seekers sought safety, on the hills of Kapise as a result of renewed fighting in the rural villages of Mozambique.
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South Africa: Making a Positive Difference in the Lives of Women, This Women’s Month
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), South Africa recognises that what gives meaning to the month of women in South Africa is practical, real opportunities that give women an opportunity to be self-reliant and financially independent. Through the office based in Pretoria, JRS provides livelihood’s skills training for refugee and asylum seeking women at the Arrupe Women’s Centre.
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Zimbabwe: The Life of a Refugee, Testament to the Prevailing Human Spirit
Today, Rose Kabela-Thumba is sharing her expertise with other refugees through Jesuit Refugee Service’s (JRS) Vocational Skills Training (VST) Programme as a refugee volunteer, cosmetology teacher. Her life away from the country of her birth, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), now in Tongogara Refugee Camp in Zimbabwe is not ideal, however she is now able to make a life for herself and her family.
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South Africa: JRS South Africa Commemorates Mandela Day, Giving More to Society
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) South Africa Country Office commemorated Mandela Day by paying Little Eden, a home for children with intellectual disabilities, a visit. Last year, JRS South Africa, in collaboration with members of the refugee and asylum seeker community along with a number of schools, collected tinned food and other essentials for refugees. Material goods such as food and clothing is essential for many people in need, but this year JRS South Africa brought our global mission of accompaniment to life and chose to spend time with people, tragically neglected by the rest of society.
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Malawi: A Day of Celebration, Secondary School Celebrations
June 2016 was not only the month of World Refugee Day commemorations, but also a memorable month in the life of the Dzaleka Community Day Secondary School Form 4 students. On Friday 17th June 2016, 160 students, 100 boys and 60 girls, graduated from the Secondary School.
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South Africa: Youth Taking the Lead in Social Cohesion and Educational Support
A group of Somali tertiary students, understanding the difficulties they faced while completing their primary and secondary education in South Africa, realised that an intervention was needed to assist school learners to cope at school. The Somali Student Association then began to organise tutoring for Somali school learners in various subjects. Sibongile Nkosi, an intern at the JRS South Africa, Country Office and Social Work student at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, after hearing many laments from refugee and asylum seeker parents about their children’s difficulties at school, decided to pool resources with the Somali Student Association to find tutors and increase the academic capacity for the help the group provides.
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Malawi: Sustainable Farming, A JRS-JC:HEM Student Tells His Success Story
In November 2015, Anderson applied to study the Sustainable Agriculture and Community Nutrition course, through the JRS-JC:HEM Community Service Learning Tracks (CSLTs). Today he is applying these very same skills he learnt through the CSLT. Now he is applying intercropping – the mixing of crops -, irrigation, steps for soil improvement such as organic manure to improve soil fertility, preparing land and soil for planting by making beds in the garden, pit beds, ridging the soil, mulch to cover the soil with grass for water retention, composting and the use of pest repelling herbs and plants.
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Recent stories
Zimbabwe: Single Women becoming Diversified and Sustainable Small Scale Farmers in Tongogara
JRS has designed the project in such a way that it is scaled to accommodate teams to work in co-operative units, yet sufficient enough to provide these women and their families with additional income and nutrition. Not only have the pig and chicken projects been a huge success in Tongogara Refugee Camp for the widows and single mothers, but it has grown into a rabbit project for another 12 women. With the addition of this project to complement the existing projects, the total number of income generating projects for the women has grown to 3, within less than a year.
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World Refugee Day: Celebrations in Dzaleka Refugee Camp - Malawi
On the 20th June 2016, guests from various organisations arrived early in the morning at Dzaleka Refugee Camp. Among the high profile guests was the Minister of Information, Communication, Technology and Civic Education, Patricia Kaliati.
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World Refugee Day: A Refugees Testimony
Marcelline’s journey to being an invaluable member of JRS South Africa’s homebased care team, was a long, arduous one, filled with tragedy and loss. She however, is the most outstanding example of how refugees, despite the litany of challenges they face, create a life for themselves and thereby contribute to the rest of society.
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South Africa: Refugee protection: The good news and the serious questions
Earlier this week, at an event hosted by the Department of Home Affairs, Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba explained his vision for refugee protection in South Africa. Some serious questions were raised, but a new optimism was injected into the discourse.
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World Refugee Day: Open minds, Unlock Potential And We Stand Together #WithRefugees
The Minister of the Department of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, gave the keynote address at the World Refugee Day commemorations, on the 20th June 2016 at the Catholic Archdiocese of Johannesburg . The importance of the event was that it was not just another celebration or commemoration of a day filled with pleasantries, but it was a day that raised conversation around the state of refugees globally and what protections they have and will continue to have in South Africa.
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World Refugee Day 2016: Open minds, Unlock Potential
This World Refugee Day, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) calls upon all of us not only to provide refugees with a safe place to stay, but with opportunities to grow and contribute to society. To truly protect means keeping people safe from all evils, including poverty, isolation, exploitation, misconception and neglect. For this reason, this year JRS is using the theme Open minds, unlock potential.
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Italy: Forging Partnerships at a Global Level in Assisting Refugees

With both JRS and SSVP dedicated to assisting people at the
margins have a better life, it is clear that in a world where people movement is
fluid, with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants being forced to flee their
homes due to conflict persecution and economic inequality, efforts need to be
pooled to strengthen the efficacy of our work. 


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Southern Africa: The Massive Project in JRS Malawi, Dzaleka, Kapise and Mwanza in Focus
The conversation with Seva was extremely rich as he has a long and interesting history with JRS. Originally from the Phillipines, Seva has worked with JRS in South Asia, South Africa and is now in Malawi. He worked in both an urban refugee as well as within a camp environment. He expanded on the mass volume of work JRS is doing in Malawi, both within the established setting of Dzaleka Refugee Camp, approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Malawi’s Capital city, Lilongwe to the new refugee intake in Mwanza and Kapise.
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Southern Africa: Working Under Unique Circumstances in Angola
Luamonazo (Mona) Panda, JRS Angola, Country Director, was heard on the 23rd May 2016, on the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), half an hour slot, that is part of the afternoon, drive time radio show on Radio Veritas, at 16:30 PM. Johan Viljoen, JRS South Africa Country Director, assisted with translation as Mona speaks Portuguese as a first language. Mona gave great insight into the unique nature of the work we do in Angola.
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Southern Africa: Comment on Pope Francis' Visit to Lesbos
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), South Africa Country Office, Senior Social Worker, Dan Mhlongo, spoke to Father Brian Mhlanga, on South Africa’s premiere Catholic radio station, Radio Veritas, about the significance of Pope Francis taking three Syrian refugee families, including six children, back with him to the Vatican after a visit to the Greek island of Lesbos.
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