Newsroom

With a global staff of more than 1,500 worldwide, the Jesuit Refugee Service is a key source for journalists who seek information on the latest issues on forced displacement in the world. Journalists visiting this site have access to press releases, latest news affecting refugees and other forcibly displaced persons, updates from JRS projects and activities, speeches, special features and more.

JRS programmes are implemented through more than 50 country offices and a large network of partners, and annually benefit more than 900,000 people worldwide.

Our global network of regional communications officers, based throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, can provide updates in emergencies and access to field staff.

Regional staff can lend insight into JRS programmes and advocacy priorities and provide detailed information on current global crises.

For media inquiries or to arrange an interview, please contact our communications staff.

For all other inquiries, please call +39 06 689 77609

Global: bringing light to the child migrants in our midst
Rome, 17 November 2016 – On the occasion of Universal Children's Day on November 20th, we echo Pope Francis' appeal "to adopt every possible measure to guarantee the protection and safety of child migrants." In this time of epic human displacement, "children constitute the most vulnerable group, because as they face the life ahead of them, they are invisible and voiceless".
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JRS South Africa host U.S. State Department officials
(Johannesburg) November 8, 2016 — Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, visited Jesuit Refugee Service South Africa's Urban Refugee Program November 1, to listen to and learn about the challenges faced by vulnerable refugees — survivors of SGBV and refugees from the LGBTI community.
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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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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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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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South Africa: Refugees ripped off at state hospitals
This is the third and final instalment of Ina Skosana’s - from the Mail and Guardian Centre for Health Journalism, Bhekisisa – coverage about the difficulties faced by urban refugees with the health system in South Africa. We return to the story of Yvette Mbayo-Ndaya (Mama Yvette) as she battles multiple chronic ailments. Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), through its two professional homebased caregivers, Marcelline Sangara and Janine Kukasheta, has supported her and her family throughout her battles with her health and societal discrimination.
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South Africa: 'The baby fell, but I just kept running'
Ina Skosana, from the Mail and Guardian Centre for Health Journalism, Bhekisisa, continues her coverage in this second part of a three part series about the difficulties faced by urban refugees with the health system in South Africa. She covered the story of Antoinette*, her husband Emmanuel Muamba* and their family as they were forced to flee the country of their birth, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the difficulties they now face in South Africa. Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), through its two professional homebased caregivers, Marcelline Sangara and Janine Kukasheta, is the only support the family has. The article, published on the 5th May2016, via the Mail and Guardian, follows below:
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Southern Africa: Passionate Work with Refugees in Zimbabwe
A number of interviews were conducted with the JRS team across the Southern Africa Region, a series of interviews that will be broadcast each Monday for the next few weeks. The first person we spoke to was Tendai Makoni, the JRS Zimbabwe Country Co-ordinator. She is extremely passionate about the work she does with refugees in Zimbabwe and the impact it has on the lives of those in Tongogara Refugee Camp in Zimbabwe.
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News archive
Malawi: JRS, Working with the Community Toward a Green Environment
As you enter Dzaleka Refugee Camp from the road leading to Dowa District, the most notable aspect of the landscape is the lack of foliage. Apart from the young trees near the compound that houses the various Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) offices, Dzaleka is covered in red soil that is renowned for blanketing everything in a bothersome layer of dust at the slightest hint of a breeze. In an effort to reverse this, for the first time since its presence at the Camp, JRS has been tasked with the responsibility of planting approximately 23000 trees at Dzaleka Refugee Camp.
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South Africa: War’s favoured tactic follows rape survivors to SA
Ina Skosana, from the Mail and Guardian Centre for Health Journalism, Bhekisisa, covered the tragic story of Yvette Mbayo-Ndaya (Mama Yvette). It chronicles her need for a desperate escape from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the difficulties she has faced trying to feed six hungry mouths as she struggles with debilitating health problems. Jesuit Refugee Service, through its two professional homebased caregivers, Marcelline Sangara and Janine Kukasheta, is the only support she receives. Extracts of the article, published on the 29th April 2016, via the Mail and Guradian.
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South Africa: Arrupe Women’s Centre Graduates Celebrate Their Success, New Courses and Opportunities
Arrupe Women’s Centre in Johannesburg, held its first graduation for 2016 on the 22nd April. As always, the occasion was marked by optimistic festivity, with this group of graduating women fully appreciating that this extension on their education, is but one step toward financial independence, either through employment or entrepreneurship. Through the support of the Fidel Goetz Foundation, JRS in South Africa was able to expand the programme to include other essential and innovative courses.
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Zimbabwe: Education, A window of hope, putting Mercy in Motion
This year, has been declared as the year of Mercy by Pope Francis. This mercy has been extended, not only to the individual, but to include what an individual can do for his/her fellow man, “to extend the mercy of God to those in need”. This declaration has seen companies and individuals alike donating toward the cause of refugees in Tongogara Refugee Camp. Thanks to a talk given by Zerene Haddad - based at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) International Office in Rome - at St George’s College in Harare on Mercy in Motion, and how the campaign aims to get over 220 000 children into school by 2020.
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Malawi: Mercy in Motion, Bridging Understanding Between Refugee Communities and the Rest of the World
As part of collecting material showcasing the work Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) does in providing education to refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people, JRS Southern Africa received two visitors from the JRS International Office in Rome. This article, compiled by three community journalist volunteers in Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, gives us a brief glimpse into how we, at JRS, work with refugees and how, in all our efforts, we wish to include refugees in recognising their innate human dignity, whilst recognising and fostering their skills and talents.
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Malawi: The World Famous Guitar Maker of Dzaleka
Patron Palushang Bin Kilangana, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, (DRC), is talented as a carpenter and craftsman, as well as a musician. However, his true success emanates from the fact that despite the fact that he is limited to the confines of a refugee camp and has access to limited resources, he has managed to set up a global guitar making and selling business.
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Malawi: A Refugee Dance Group Place Second in the National Kajive Dance Competition in Blantyre
The dance group placed second in the national competition’s final round, but their performance was not solely for the purpose of competing and entertaining the audience, but to convey a powerful message, their performance told the story of the people of Dzaleka, talking about the shortage of hospitals, the violence that brought some to Dzaleka, freedom, education and many other socially relevant themes. This was all achieved as a result of what Farini had learnt and applied through his understanding of how to express oneself through Interdisciplinary Art. This is the value Farini gained in being a young community leader through his course with the JRS-JC:HEM programme.
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Southern Africa: Speaking about JRS South Africa's Social Assistance Programme
Samson spoke about the wide ranging assistance the Social Assistance Programme provides, from the immediate emergency assistance provided through to more long term and sustained assistance it provides in the form of education and home-based healthcare.
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Southern Africa: Speaking about JRS South Africa's Livelihood Programme
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in South Africa, as part of accompanying, serving and advocating on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers, have recognised that we need to empower displaced people to provide for themselves and their families. This requires two important criteria to be met; education and the provision of resources that will enable these refugees and asylum seekers to start their own small businesses and provide for themselves and their families.
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Southern Africa: Speaking to a Refugee who has Beaten all the Odds!
Today, Pie-Pacifique is a successful, content man, with an infectious smile. He is authoring his biography entitled, “Beyond Forgiveness”, and has a tragic yet redemptive tale of overcoming the odds to tell. He shared the intricate detail of the tragedy he witnessed, lived through as well as the intimacy of the relationship he shares with his mother.
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South Africa: Refugees and Asylum Seekers our Greatest Ally in Establishing Strong Community Bonds
Today, Ismail is part of this community, the cordial exchanges of greetings and chit-chat from the local community is a welcome sight despite previous incidents of blatant xenophobia in the past. His shop is a sprawling supermarket, a far cry from the business that was left with nothing following the looting of all those years back.
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Zimbabwe: A Stitch in Time
The smiles on the faces of the tailors in the dressmaking group tells its story, a story of contentment and appreciation. This is the first group that benefited from the Julia Taft Refugee Fund and received start up kits to start their own small business. They received industrial sewing machines, overlocking machines, tape measures, scissors, patterns as well as materials and threads. Upon graduation, the group received start-up kits that would enable them to start their own micro enterprises within the camp.
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Southern Africa: Speaking to JRS Southern Africa’s Regional Director - Radio Veritas Radio Slot
Father Holdcroft SJ, gave a broad description of the work JRS does across the Region in Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe. He spoke passionately about the work JRS does in the Region, what the plight is of displaced people in Southern Africa and what our efforts are at responding to this need.
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Malawi: JRS-JC:HEM Community Health CSLT Makes a Positive Difference!
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) along with Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM), has since 2010, been offering tertiary education in the form of - amongst others - a Diploma in Liberal Studies as well as Community Service Learning Tracks (CSLTs) for refugees in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, in Malawi. Tthe JRS-JC:HEM CSLTs aim to foster community leaders that are truly empowered through education. Young women in particular benefit from this opportunity as they receive both an education as well as a sense of empowerment as they form part of a broader community leadership.
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Southern Africa: JRS Southern Africa’s Maiden Radio Slot Has Aired; Further Great Content to Come
Johan Viljoen shed light on the unique circumstances faced by urban refugees in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Viljoen gave great insight into how projects relating to homebased healthcare, education, vocational skills training for adults, livelihoods assistance as well as emergency assistance for newly arrived refugees impacts on the refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people we assist.
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South Africa: Refugees and Blind in Johannesburg; Hope Amidst the Struggle
JRS has assisted the family, but it is their tenacity, their will to survive and their unending search for happiness that saw to them escaping their persecution and being able to raise their children in a healthy environment. The children, despite their disability are happy, having many friends to lead them about as the children play games in the courtyard of their apartment block.
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South Africa: JRS Southern Africa has its own Weekly Radio Slot!
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), Southern Africa Region is fortunate to have a weekly, half an hour long slot on South Africa’s premiere Catholic Radio station, Radio Veritas! The show will be aired live every Monday afternoon, and the JRS Southern Africa feature starts at 16:30 PM. The slot will be available as a podcast via the Radio Veritas website and can be listened to online or is available for download. The podcasts will be shared weekly, via this website.
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Zimbabwe: An egg a day…
The smile on the faces of the single mothers says it all. Following the success of the piggery project, JRS enrolled 30 women to start the chicken project. Thanks to funding from Julia Taft, this was made possible for this group of women and a fowl run was built in November 2015. The first lot of 200 Boschveld Chickens were purchased in November, as well 100 Quails (gamebirds).
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Angola: The People We Advocated for in Lunda Norte Province
Prior to December 2015, JRS in Angola also provided legal, administrative and advocacy assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in the North Eastern province of Lunda Norte, in Angola, but this aspect of the programme has closed since. However, the people they worked on behalf of, refugees and asylum seekers, have not only had their rights protected by JRS, but managed to claim back their agency and take action in protecting their rights themselves.
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Vatican City: Pope Francis speaks out for World Day of Migrants and Refugees
Vatican City, 12 January 2016 – Yesterday, Pope Francis spoke out for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees to be celebrated on 17 January. In his speech, "Migrants and Refugees Challenge Us. The Response of the Gospel of Mercy," the Pope says that refugees and migrants are "people whose dignity is to be protected and who are capable of contributing to progress and the general welfare."
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South Africa: Homebased Care, Accompanying Refugees with Ill-Health into the New Year
Johannesburg, 7 January 2016 – Johannesburg is only now emerging out of its quiet slumber as the holiday season is winding down and work, trade and industry commences into the New Year. The customary hustle and bustle that defines Johannesburg has not been fully re-ignited as many are still enjoying their extended break emerging from the Christmas season and the New Year. However, the Jesuit Refugee Service’s (JRS) two professional homebased caregivers, Marcelline Sangara and Janine Kukasheta, selflessly continued their mission of accompanying refugees and asylum seekers with chronic medical ailments, while most were enjoying their leisure time.
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Southern Africa: Reflecting on 2015
I wish to express my deepest gratitude to every one of you who shared this year in some manner in our work, displaced people, staff, funders and volunteers. I look forward next year with you to continue building this new world together.
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Southern Africa: Mercy in Motion – Providing Hope Through Education
Whether in the urban setting of Johannesburg and Pretoria in South Africa or Luanda and Nzaji in Angola, or the camp setting of Tongogara Refugee Camp in Zimbabwe or Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in the Southern Africa Region has brought education to refugees and asylum seekers.
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Malawi: Arts and Culture in Dzaleka
The talent amongst the refugee community is immense at Dzaleka Refugee Camp and thus it is the perfect setting for a musical festival of the scale of the Tumaini Arts Festival. Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), in accompanying the nearly 25 000 people resident at the Camp, are fortunate enough to be able to see talented young people showcase their artistic, musical and dramatic prowess on a regular basis.
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Zimbabwe: The Restaurant at Tongogara, a Story of Hope in the Face of Hopelessness
Nestled in the heart of Tongogara Refugee Camp, the restaurant business consists of Congolese, Burundian and Rwandese nationals. They chose the name “One Family”, as they decided at inception, that nationality, ethnicity and culture would not be a dividing factor amongst those that ran the business. As the chairman of the group, Mama Tshilanda, says: “We are One Family, we do not look at a person’s culture, race, tribe or religious beliefs. We are all refugees here in this camp, so we are all One Family”.
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Angola: Conversations with Urban Refugees in Luanda
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), in its approach to the work we do with refugees and asylum seekers, takes the time to listen and we always strive to understand the circumstances and the needs of those we accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of. We offer a listening ear and a safe haven that allows displaced people an opportunity to share with us the challenges they escaped and the challenges they still have to deal with, in an effort to craft a way forward.
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South Africa: A Better Life with the Assistance of JRS
The cases of Cynthia Razawu and Denny Magama are testimony to the fact that a combined eagerness from refugees and asylum seekers that we work with, and our concerted efforts to give people an opportunity to earn their own livelihoods, yield results.
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South Africa: Vocational Skills Training – Arrupe and Loyola Graduations End the Year in style!
The Vocational Skills Training Centres (VST) at Arrupe and Loyola, based in Johannesburg and Pretoria respectively, ended the year with two stylish graduation ceremonies. The ladies from both classes, the final class of 2015, designed, sewed and wore their beautiful outfits to the graduation ceremonies and exuded nothing but well deserved pride at their creations.
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South Africa: JRS Southern Africa and South Africa Mark the Beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy
The 8th of December 2015, marks the first day of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. In conjunction with this, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), launched the Mercy in Motion advocacy and fundraising campaign to expand and strengthen our education programmes. Our goal is to provide educational services to 100,000 more refugees than we currently do by the year 2020. The day holds even greater significance for Catholics as it is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception which celebrates the solemn belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This most auspicious day was marked with a celebration of Mass with Father David Holdcroft SJ, JRS Southern Africa Regional Director.
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Malawi: The Talented Amahoro Drummers
The Guardian published a story on the 17th November, about the inspirational and wonderfully put together The Tumaini Arts Festival, held at Dzaleka Refugee camp in Malawi. As a sister event to the famous Lake of Stars event, The Tumaini Arts Festival is reported to have attracted 3000 attendees this year! Amongst the fabulous acts that entertained crowds was the Amahoro Drummers, and this video features their talented and riveting performance.
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South Africa: From Asylum Seekers to Professional Teachers, Sharing Their Skills with Locals
The accounts of these two phenomenal gentlemen reinforce one important fact JRS has collected volumes of anecdotal evidence on and that has been confirmed via academic study over the years. Refugees and asylum seekers redouble their efforts to rebuild their lives through hard work and education. Through this process they positively add to the skills that are needed in their host countries. We see it as our responsibility to provide the support to people like Mr Maposa and Rungwe, to not only reach their potential, but to empower others.
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Malawi: The Malawi Music Festival bringing Hope to its Refugee Residents
This story was originally published by The Guardian on the 17th November 2015. This story illustrates the great potential and willpower the people Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) work with in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, in the Dowa District of Malawi. The Tumaini arts festival’s Congolese founder, Menes La Plume, is clear in his ambitions: he wants to change the way refugees are perceived across the world, and he’s doing so by showcasing their creative talent.
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Malawi: Pastoral Care, Furthering JRS’s Mission of Accompanying Refugees
As a Faith-Based Organisation (FBO), JRS’s ethos is based on a faith-based system of beliefs. It is faith that moves us in fulfilling our mission. However, JRS deeply respects the fact that different people, from different cultures, nationalities, traditions and faiths – or lack of belief in faith – equally require our assistance without favour or prejudice. For those that through their own volition approach JRS to provide them with spiritual sustenance we have setup a programme through Pastoral Care.
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South Africa: Refugees and asylum-seekers add value to South African society
Corruption not only has allowed people to enter and stay in the country illegally, it has created the unfortunate situation whereby those who genuinely need South Africa’s help. The genuine refugees and asylum seekers who, normally do not have the resources to compete, are moved to the back of the queue, or may be deported and got rid of altogether.
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Angola: Educating Children in Lunda Norte despite the Challenges
JRS, in building the school in this poor community, has answered a need that not only affects refugee children, but the children of locals as well. This is advocacy and social cohesion at its best! In the rare instance where JRS, though its core purpose of assisting refugees, is able to assist local communities as well, we create an opportunity for local and displaced communities to benefit jointly from our initiatives, it creates a sense of social cohesion and it facilitates cross cultural exchanges that lead to respect and peaceful co-existence.
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Malawi: The Mechanic of Dzaleka
In recognising his hard work, talent and commitment to passing his skills on to others, JRS has joined forces with John to formalise the programme he runs in educating others to become mechanics. JRS has equipped his classroom with spare parts, tools, a blackboard and a range of other essential equipment so that he can teach all that there is to know about automotive repair. The practical and theoretic components of the automotive course he runs at Dzaleka Refugee Camp is a three year course where he teaches his students mechanical repairs, auto-electric repairs and panel beating.
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Zimbabwe: Saint Michael’s Secondary School, The History Behind a Beacon of Light at Tongogara Refugee Camp

Situated on the outskirts of the refugee camp, Saint Michael’s Secondary School is a welcoming beacon of light at Tongogara Refugee Camp, the first set of buildings one sees as you arrive at the camp. With 473 Students enrolled at the school, Saint Michael’s offers schooling from form 1-4 for all refugee children as well as Zimbabwean Students from the surrounding community.


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Angola: Fear and Loathing in Luanda, But JRS is a Place of Refuge
Speaking to a group of women in Angola, seeking asylum and refugee status, it is clear that the institutionalised and community xenophobia, have left these women to live and hide in fear. Culturally and as a result of persistent harassment for bribes by some authorities, these women have become recluse, hiding rather than seeking the necessary assistance Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) could provide. Some have therefore not approached JRS to assist with obtaining the necessary documentation to obtain refugee status and therefore risk being regarded as undocumented migrants. Others have not sought assistance for livelihood training programmes that JRS runs in Angola.
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Angola: Women Refugees, Making a Stand Against Gender Based Violence
Without JRS, or any organisation that could advocate for and protect the rights of these communities, there would have been no hope. With the assistance of JRS, Maria and Joyce work tirelessly with these women, as they spread awareness and are always available to lend a listening ear.
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South Africa: Homebased Care – The Experiences of the Patients Tell the Tale
The chronicles of the people that JRS’s two professional homebased caregivers, Marcelline Sangara and Janine Kukasheta assist; are moving, not only telling a tale of clinical and medical conditions, but all too often it tells of the brutality they escaped, the tragedy of the discrimination they face at healthcare institutions and the pain that accompanies their daily lives.
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Malawi: Respite Care at Dzaleka, Giving Children Living with Disabilities a Meaningful Quality of Life
JRS partnered with Fidel in 2009 and helped to build and establish the Respite Care Centre at Dzaleka Refugee Camp. Fidel still runs the centre to this day. “I want to thank JRS for having partnered with us, in establishing and continuing to support the Respite Care Centre. All my life I saw the discrimination people with disabilities face. So I approached JRS to establish the centre because nobody was advocating for the disabled and we started this centre to show the community that these children are not forgotten. Some of these children were being hidden by their parents, locked in the house all day, hidden from neighbours and the community out of shame.” says Fidel as to why the centre needed to be founded.
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South Africa: Partnerships, the Key to Social Justice
Many Catholic organisations exist with the aim to add to the dire need for social justice in today’s world. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), through the vision of our founding father, Father Pedro Arrupe SJ, who was so moved by the plight of the Vietnamese boat people and their perilous journeys to exile, established JRS in November 1980, personifies that desire to bring some relief in a world in dire need of social justice.
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Malawi: JRS-JC:HEM Community Service Learning Tracks, Making a Positive, Real, Substantial Difference in Dzaleka
The JRS-JC:HEM programme, whether through the Diploma programme or the Community Service Learning Tracks, is aimed at making a positive difference in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, it is aimed at growing the economy and uplifting the community. Joe Slaven, Project Director for JRS - JC:HEM, Dzaleka, explains what the Community Service Learning Tracks consist of: “We develop courses that can be taught by local experts relating to disciplines of interest to the community such as Community Health, Child Protection, IT Programming, and Youth Work.”
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Malawi: JRS-JC:HEM 2015 Graduates, Trained Community Leaders
The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in partnership with Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM), have designed a tertiary education model that helps foster a strong group of young community leaders within the community that is Dzaleka. The 3rd Cohort of JRS-JC:HEM graduates graduated on the 25th September 2015. This group of 19 individuals are now empowered to take the skills they have developed over the last three years and re-invest back into their community. (Gushwell F. Brooks/Jesuit Refugee Service)
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South Africa: Refugees Speak Truth to Power
Sessions such as these as a means of advocacy for refugees are important, not only as a means of sharing information with refugees as to what their rights and responsibilities are, but it is essential since refugees and asylum seekers can address their concerns directly and truthfully to those in power. Therefore the relationship between the government of the hosting nation and the refugee or asylum seeker is not only a top down arrangement, it is not an authoritarian relationship between the state and a subservient person, but much rather serves as a platform of equality, one where refugees can directly address their concerns and get answers immediately.
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Zimbabwe: Celebration in the Heat and Dust of Tongogara Refugee Camp
The tragedy, persecution and difficulties that led these 267 graduates to leave the countries of their birth, to Tongogara Refugee Camp, here in the remoteness of Zimbabwe’s rural outreaches, is momentarily forgotten. They are graduating from the Vocational Skills Training (VST) Programme, organised and run by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Zimbabwe.
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Zimbabwe: Update - From Piglets to Weaners, The Piggery Project Grows
Although central to the project, it is not just about rearing pigs. But the first batch of piglets have now been weaned, being 3 to 4 weeks.These weaners are going to be passed on once they are porkers – when they reach 30 kg to 60 kg in weight. The aim of the project and the reason why the pigs are being bred, is to empower as many women as possible. With each litter produced, the eventual aim is to pass some of those piglets out of the litter on to the next group of women the project wishes to benefit.
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When the Cabinet Minister visited Dzaleka Refugee Camp
Malawi’s Minister of the Home Affairs and Internal Security, Ernest Malenga, visited the Dzaleka Refugee camp, located in the Dowa District, Malawi, on 17 August 2015. The visit was meant for the Minister to familiarise himself of the situation refugees face on a daily basis in the camp.
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Making everyday a Mandela Day
Mandela Day is celebrated and commemorated on the 18th of July, but it does not have to be limited to this one day. Every day gives us an opportunity to remember Madiba and his service through our service. On the 10th July 2015, JRS along with 12 schools embarked on a drive to collect as many cans of tinned food as possible. The net result was 15 000 cans of food collected and distributed for the underprivileged.
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Another Graduation, Women in Pretoria Doing it for Themselves
Refugee and asylum seeker women face challenges of their own each day, they too need to assert their rights as equals. They face a society that is not always welcoming, at times violent through xenophobia, some have male partners that abuse them, some are economically dependent on these very same abusive partners and others have themselves, children and extended family to support singly.
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South Africa: Security a Top Priority for JRS
Retired Major of the British Army and current Global Safety Adviser to JRS, John Campbell, has a wealth of knowledge to share on what it involves to remain safe and protected in our personal lives and at work. He spent his time in the Southern Africa Region recently, travelling to Malawi and South Africa, assessing potential security risks and imparting his invaluable experience and knowledge on how to stay safe.
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South Africa: Part Three: JRS Makhado, Assisting Unaccompanied Minors
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) firmly believes that no child should be left to their own devices, forced into losing out on their childhood, forced to make difficult, adult decisions for the sake of basic survival. That is why JRS in Makhado assists Tshithandane Child Care Foundation (TCCF) with providing unaccompanied refugee and asylum seeking youth with a place to stay, food to eat, school fees and necessary materials for education such as uniforms and stationery.
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Refugee centres: Corruption is threatening lives
A report by Lawyers for Human Rights and the University of the Witwatersrand-based African Centre for Migration and Society, released this week, paints an ugly picture of the culture of bribery in South Africa’s refugee reception offices and corroborates the anecdotal evidence that the Jesuit Refugee Service has been collecting for years.
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South Africa: Part Two: JRS Makhado, Creating Rural Livelihoods
Makhado, 21 July 2015 – Makhado, in as much as it is a sprawling town, has small, rural settlements scattered around it. The refugees that settle in this part of the Limpopo Province in South Africa make a living here too, away from the urban bustling of Makhado. Creative solutions for sustaining livelihoods in these surroundings is essential and the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) based in Makhado, are going a long way in ensuring that people can take advantage of limited opportunities within a rural setting. This is the the second, in our three part series, highlighting the excellent work being done by JRS in Makhado.
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South Africa: Part One: JRS Makhado, Creating Urban and Rural Livelihoods
A series of three articles deals with the work JRS is undertaking in Makhado. This article, the first in the series, deals with the urban livelihoods’ projects, whereas the follow-on to it deals with the rural projects and the last in the series deals with the challenging but rewarding work being done with unaccompanied, refugee minors.
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Zimbabwe: Single Women - Empowered to Support Themselves
Tongogara, 30 June 2015 – Within any population, even amongst refugees and asylum seekers, women – particularly single women, more so single mothers – are the most vulnerable. These women are more vulnerable to gender based violence, financial and sexual exploitation as well as physical and sexual abuse . In the advancement and protection of the basic human rights of refugees, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Zimbabwe could not ignore the plight of these and other women and so a safe environment that protects them from these abuses, where they could create and sustain livelihoods that give them financial independence, needed to be established.
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South Africa: Final Word on World Refugee Day - Wonderful Commemorations in Limpopo
Thohoyandou, 2 July 2015 - The 20th of June marks the day on which World Refugee Day is celebrated. The day was celebrated at Thohoyandou indoor sports centre by more than 400 participants under the theme “With COURAGE let us combine; to celebrate ordinary people through extra-ordinary times“. The event was graced by people from different communities: the Zimbabweans, Indians, Ethiopians, Nigerians, Chinese, Pakistanis and local South Africans.
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South Africa: Home Based Care, Accompanying Refugees to the End
Johannesburg, 18 June 2015 - Home based care became the cornerstone of healthcare, providing care to terminal patients in their homes. Since anti-retroviral treatment became available in all government healthcare facilities, this is no longer the case. Furthermore, most indigent patients have access to government social grants, enabling them to afford transport to hospitals and clinics. As a result, home based care is becoming increasingly unnecessary. With refugees this is not the case. They arrive in South Africa with a variety of health problems, often life threatening. Despite government policy, they are often discriminated against at government hospitals and clinics.
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Malawi: Adult Vocational Training – Giving Refugees Greater Entrepreneurial Horizons
Dzaleka, Dowa district, 16 June 2015 - Being a displaced person, forced to flee the country of your origins does not have to automatically equate to a life of poverty, desperation and dependency. JRS through its empowerment programmes is proving this to be true once more with their efforts in Dzaleka Camp, Malawi.
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Women Refugees – Empowered to Create a New, Better Life
Johannesburg, Yeoville, 5 June 2015 - 'Urban refugees' have to provide for themselves. At times, with very little capital – if any, unrecognised or a low skills base, many refugees are left vulnerable, facing massive challenges in starting their own businesses or securing decent employment, more so women. An initiative by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in South Africa, with funding from the Goetz Foundation and UNHCR, is aimed at closing this gap.
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Malawi: albino refugees find some succour in camp
Dzaleka, 16 January 2015 – Imagine having parts of your body considered to be valuable for charms to bring fortune and help businesses prosper. Many people in the Great Lakes and East Africa regions believe that the body parts of albinos can be used to bring luck. Thus, albinos are treated as valuable commodities and the albino refugees who arrive in Dzaleka all share similar stories of flight and fear for their lives. While many find some sense of security being in the camp, the specific problems of albinos are often ignored by agencies working in the camps.
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Living together is key for development
Johannesburg, South Africa, 21 July 2014 – The theme chosen for this year’s World Refugee Day by the Forced Migration Working Group (FMWG), of which JRS South Africa is a member, was ‘Living Together is Key for Development’. This theme captured the importance of inclusive development and the need for fostering social cohesion amongst refugees and the host communities. Fr David Holdcroft spoke about some practical steps for creating a more harmonious co-existence of all the people in this country.
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Hearing it on the community radio
Dzaleka, Malawi, 21 April 2014 – How do you give reliable news and information to people in a camp of 17 000 refugees from different African countries where word of mouth communication often result in rumours and confusion? This is the story of how a small community radio station was started in the Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi.
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Growing hope – tree planting in Dzaleka refugee camp
Dzaleka, Malawi, 21 April 2014 – In a refugee camp where people feel they can't stay permanently, can't go back where they came from and don't see the future, it is easy to give up and lose hope. The Dzaleka refugee camp has been in existence for 20 years on land owned by the Malawian government and the average stay for a refugee is between 10 and 15 years. Here, hope is growing in a small organisation with a plan to plant thousands of trees in the camp and Malawi.
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Imagine yourself in the life of a refugee
Beautiful and haunting imagery electrified Trésor Nzengu Mpauni’s poem “Imagine,” during one afternoon performance in Dzaleka refugee camp. The poem, at first serene, gained momentum with such emotion and intensity that the ending was a powerful reminder not only of his struggle, but the struggles of refugees.
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South Africa: JRS South Africa is represented at prestigious media awards
A public service announcement created for the Jesuit Refugee Service, South Africa, has won five awards in a prestigious social responsibility film competition in South Africa.
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South Africa: attacks against foreign nationals continue
Attacks on foreign nationals are continuing despite numerous efforts by the police and others to halt them, according to JRS South Africa Director, David Holdcroft SJ, on 24 February.
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