19 August 2009
|On his visit to the refugee community centre in Addis Ababa, Fr. Balleis SJ observed refugees participating in many activities and starting up businesses like this refugee who has a café in the RCC. (Peter Balleis SJ/JRS)|
|“Visiting the projects and speaking to refugees about their tragic stories has helped me to know and appreciate the work of JRS in Ethiopia."|
“Visiting the projects and speaking to refugees about their tragic stories has helped me to know and appreciate the work of JRS in Ethiopia,” Fr Balleis said, reflecting on the impressions of his visit to the country. He revealed that it had always been his dream to come to Ethiopia, especially since JRS has a long history there. Referring to a recent external evaluation of JRS projects in Addis he said: “I am happy the results confirmed the quality of our work here.”
He appreciated all recommendations of the evaluation, in particular those relating to extending JRS’s work to refugee camps in eastern and northern Ethiopia. “JRS has the capacity and experience to reach out to refugees in these camps,” he said. He finally encouraged all staff members to move forward according to the results of the evaluation.
Staff was then given the opportunity to ask questions which particularly related to the experience of JRS in other troubled areas of the world, the effect of the global financial crisis on JRS projects, the possibility of rotating staff to different countries and to have experience-exchange visits for JRS staff in different countries, and finally the chances of staff development through further education.
After Fr. Peter Belleis had responded to the questions JRS Ethiopia Country Director Mr. Seyoum Asfaw thanked him for his encouragement and the interest he had shown and handed him a present as a token of appreciation.