“Today, as an organisation with 35 years of experience, we are acting in 50 different countries by serving over one million of refugees and other who are forcibly displaced.”
Founding stone of the Jesuit Refugee Service is to show humanity and to help forcibly displaced persons. We are aware that all subsidies of the world can never replace the warmth of human presence which is experienced when we feel that the person helps another person. JRS recognizes importance of human dignity of displaced people through the accompaniment that provides to them.
This direct and personal approach to every human being as well as cooperation, strengthens refugees and migrants (and also JRS staff), providing them with an accompaniment in difficult times, while passing through the refugee camps, fleeing from their homes in war zones or living in Detention Centers for foreigners. JRS staff understands which way is the best to stand up for them.
“Our close and personal contact with people, our presence among them, helps us to understand what their real needs are,” said Bernard Arputhasamy SJ, former JRS Director for the Asia-Pacific region.
To accompany means to be someone’s friend. We are Jesus’ friends and associates, and that is why we want to be companions of those with whose name he would like to be associated with- the poor and expelled. Our operation is very practical and effective. Often, the accompaniment is a way of providing protection and the “internationalization” of the situation in which some of our “protégés” are. The presence of the international team often can prevent attacks against refugees and migrants. Even more than that, our presence is a clear message that we as a free people are willing to voluntarily, and full of faith, keep track of those who are deprived of freedom, and who cannot choose what to do with their lives. It is this presence that is a comfort and a way of arousing hope of a better tomorrow.
Our accompaniment is only a confirmation that God is present in every segment of human history, even in those most tragic moments. We want to allow them to experience His presence and know that they are not abandoned. As pastoral workers, we are focused on progress, not burdened by political interests, religious and ethnic divisions, nor among the people who we are helping or between institutions and governments that decide on their fate.
As members of JRS we are internationally recognized by our connection with people who we help: in shelters and reception centers, refugee camps, war zones, post-war circumstances…
Being with people in need is the essence of JRS. This is a permanent ideal, both personally and pastorally, and is best defined by a JRS initiators in 1985: “JRS really brings an extra dimension to its work…trying to emphasize how it is more important to be present with someone than to do something for him. We want our presence among the refugees to be presence of sharing, accompanying and moving in the same direction. ”