19 August 2016
|The JRS caretaker at a protection centre for young boys in Kakuma refugee camp (Angela Wells/Jesuit Refugee Service).|
|I want to help them overcome their trauma; it also helps me to address my challenges.|
19 August 2015, Nairobi – JRS staff around the world accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees around the world. Teams of local, refugee and international staff consistently stand with people as they try to build their new lives abroad. Please take a minute to get to know a handful of our team members and learn why they have dedicated their careers and ministries to working with the displaced.
"I have great passion to serve the refugee community. As human beings they have their own talent and goals. They just need to be encouraged to show off these talents and go for their dreams," said Hiwot Ali who coordinates the JRS counselling department and community outreach in Mai Aini refugee camp, northern Ethiopia.
"My ministry with JRS deepens my own humanity and places me alongside Jesus who accompanies refugees," said Kevin White SJ, JRS Uganda Director.
"Education is very important. Without education people really suffer. This war is because of illiteracy. If these people were educated it would have never gotten to this point. Educating a younger generation will bring peace to South Sudan," Lucia, a South Sudanese volunteer for JRS in Maban, South Sudan who leads women’s groups in the community and is a mentor for young girls.
"My first assignment after ordination was to a small parish in East Los Angeles made up of Spanish- speaking migrants and refugees. The people there taught me how to be a priest. Ever since then, the needs and hopes of people on the move have been part of my horizon, and I’m grateful to be part of JRS as we accompany, serve and advocate for and with our forcibly displaced sisters and brothers around the world," said Tom Smolich SJ, JRS International Director.
"Since arriving here, I have tried to improve my situation and that of others. I joined the JRS alternative healing team, using massage and reflexology to help other refugees deal with emotional stress disorders. This gives me purpose. When someone is stressed, their muscles become tense, and massages, which isolate soft tissues, can really help them to feel better and think more clearly. I feel happy when I see people benefitting from our massages. I want to help them overcome their trauma; it also helps me to address my challenges," said Monica, a South Sudanese refugee and the JRS alternative healing team leader in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.
"Isaiah 58, 6-9 always comes to my mind when asked about motives and reasons. It reads:
'Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loosen the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness[a] will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I," said Alvar Sanchez SJ, currently working with JRS Maban in South Sudan.
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