In most of the countries that we are involved in, our teams are visiting refugees in detention centres and offering them various services. We provide legal assistance, relevant information, psychosocial support, and health, pastoral, and counseling services.
European migration policy, either at the level of the European Union, or in the EU member states, can adversely affect refugees, asylum seekers or any other forcibly displaced people. In many European countries, people seeking safety are vulnerable and exposed to many dangers. Their lives are endangered by threats of confinement, denial of care or simply the denial of any kind of decent life. State services often have to follow strict rules and rarely meet the needs of refugees, which means that people in Europe who seek asylum often end up as homeless, poor and barely surviving.
Jesuit Refugee Service is present in 14 countries of the European Union, as well as in Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo and Ukraine. We provide different services from country to country, depending on the needs and the resources of each office. In Italy, JRS’s soup kitchen serves 400 meals a day. In Ireland, JRS’s team is organizing a daycare center and kindergarten for children of refugees. In the UK, JRS has a shelter for impoverished asylum seekers, and in Belgium, JRS is the only non-governmental organization that regularly visits migrants in detention centers.
Many operations and initiatives of JRS have the same goal: providing concrete support to forcibly displaced people who are adversely affected by European migration policy and for those who have not encountered the welcoming, safe and peaceful life they had hoped to encounter.
In most of the countries in which we operate, our teams visit migrants in detention centers and offer access to information and a variety of services, including legal support, psychosocial support, medical and pastoral care and counseling.
The same or similar services are also available to refugees in the integration process and in our centers or through teams who visit the refugees when they leave the shelters or reception centers. Many of our programs in Europe offer language courses, instruction and learning assistance, assistance with finding employment and housing, and more. In several countries, JRS provides psychosocial counseling, especially for vulnerable groups of refugees.
We increasingly encourage communities to accept and welcome refugees. We believe that the best way for Europeans to become more open toward refugees is to be hospitable and teach by example.