This site uses session, functional, analytics and third-party cookies. Please click on "learn more" to read our cookies policy and decide to accept cookies during site navigation.

Where we work
JRS programmes, found in over 50 countries worldwide, provide assistance to over 730,000 individuals. This service provision is overseen by 10 regional offices with support from the International Office in Rome. For the contact details of each regional office, click on the map and see the details below.

Return to world map
 South Asia
Since the 1980s JRS South Asia has been responding to the needs of refugees and forcibly displaced people. We are serving in four countries, most recently in Afghanistan. Over the years, when needs arise, JRS responds, as in the case of the 2004 tsunami which devastated the Sri Lankan coast. JRS continued to accompany the Sri Lankan refugees during the ethnic war that reached its pinnacle in 2009.

The regional office has been located in New Delhi since 2011, after moving from Bangalore, South India. It is from here that Fr Stan Fernandes, SJ, regional director, and the JRS South Asia team support and monitor the projects in the region.

The two largest projects of JRS South Asia are in Nepal and India (Tamil Nadu), where our staff serve and accompany all the refugees in the camps. In Nepal, JRS works with Caritas to provide education to young people, adults, the disabled, the deaf, and to preschool children. As the camp numbers steadily decrease due to resettlement, JRS works to merge schools and train new teachers as older teachers are resettled. In Tamil Nadu, JRS works in 112 camps for nearly 70,000 Sri Lankan refugees, who have been seeking asylum there for more than 20 years. JRS assists students in getting into Indian government schools and provides supplies and uniforms, as needed. JRS also assists young women who have dropped out of the formal education system by offering them skills and leadership training.

After the war and tsunami that devastated Sri Lanka, JRS has been working to provide education to those who are still displaced from the conflict in the North and East. JRS provides preschool education and scholarships for higher education for persons living in resettlement areas and hopes soon to provide online education to these same communities so they can continue their education past their secondary diploma.

In April 2005, JRS started programmes in education for war-affected Afghans, who had returned to Afghanistan after living for years as refugees in Pakistan or Iran. These initiatives for capacity building have grown, and JRS is presently engaged in educating youth in universities, higher education institutes, schools, and in several remote rural areas.

The most recent JRS South Asia project is livelihoods and language training for Burmese Chin refugees living in West Delhi. Some 110,000 have sought asylum in India since the 1980s after facing persecution at the hands of the Burmese government. About 12,000 reside in Delhi unable to speak the language or find suitable work. JRS is conducting tailoring, computer, teacher training, and English language courses for Chin communities that are too far removed from the UNHCR training centres for the refugees to access. 

Each country and every project for the refugees, IDPs, and war-affected has a commitment to education, capacity building, and women’s empowerment. In societies where women often face discrimination, JRS is educating and giving them skills to provide for themselves and their families, and contribute to their communities.

With education enrolment on the rise in Afghanistan, and resettlement numbers growing in Nepal, JRS sees its education programmes succeeding as young people find new hope in their lives. JRS hopes to continue expanding its projects to offer a brighter future to the next generation in all four countries.

South Asia
Stan Fernandes SJ
+91 11 4310 4661; +91 11 4953 4106

JRS South Asia is one of 10 geographic regions of the Jesuit Refugee Service, an international Catholic organization sponsored by the Society of Jesus. The regional office in South Asia serves Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, Srilankan refugees in the Indian State of Tamilnadu and internally displaced people in Sri Lanka.  Services include: education, skill training, economic programmes, healthcare, psychological support, disability centres, community development and emergency assistance. There more than 8,00,000 refugees presently in these four countries.

World Refugee Day: 4 Words to Open the World

20 June 2018, Worldwide - Pope Francis has urged the global community to adopt a shared response to the global refugee situation that may be articulated in four words: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. This World Refugee Day, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and Entreculturas are building upon Pope Francis’s words to advocate for refugee education with the campaign 4 Words to Open the World.
view map

Interview with Fr Varkey Perekkatt SJ: giving Bhutanese refugees a voice

Rome, 5 December 2016 - Fr Varkey Perekkatt SJ, former field director for JRS in Nepal, believes that education is what enabled more than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees to be resettled and find a better future.
view map

Interview with Fr Varkey Perekkatt SJ: giving Bhutanese refugees a voice

Rome, 5 December 2016 - Fr Varkey Perekkatt SJ, former field director for JRS in Nepal, believes that education is what enabled more than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees to be resettled and find a better future.
view map

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."
view map

Pope Francis supports global education initiative for refugee children and youth

Rome, 18 November 2015 – In a private audience with 15 refugees and friends and staff of Jesuit Refugee Service to commemorate the 35th anniversary of JRS on Saturday, 14 November, Pope Francis emphasised the importance of education for refugee children and youth as a means to build peace and foster the development of more resilient and cohesive societies.
view map

Celebrating 35 years of accompaniment and service all over the world

New Delhi, 14 November 2015 – I joined JRS in 2005 when JRS was celebrating 25 years of service among the refugees. In my welcome speech as the JRS country director of Tamil Nadu, India, I said, ‘The most joyful celebration for JRS would be the day when there is no need for JRS, the day there are no refugees in the world.’ 10 years have passed and the number of refugees is on the increase…
view map

Interview with outgoing JRS Communications Officer John Mezsia

John Mezsia has just completed two years of accompaniment as JRS Communications Officer for South Asia. Here, he shares his experiences and lessons learned.
view map

Jordan: finding leadership and purpose in education

Amman, 25 May 2015 – When I came to Jordan, I did not know anybody. I grew up in Darfur, Sudan; when I was 15, I went to the capital Khartoum and studied there for eight years. In 2012, I decided to leave because of security issues with the Sudanese government. I left alone, and then my family followed me
view map

Peter Balleis, SJ, International Director of JRS, in conversation with Luke Rodrigues, SJ, Jivan correspondent in Rome!

India, 18 March 2015 - Courage and Compassion are words that spring to mind when we think of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). This worldwide organization reaches out to more than 900,000 displaced persons and refugees in over 50 countries. Peter Balleis, SJ shares with Luke Rodrigues, SJ, Jivan correspondent in Rome, the dreams and challenges that are part of this courageous apostolate that addresses a dire need in today’s world.
view map

Alexis Premkumar, SJ, in conversation with Joe Antony, SJ, on his 8 months and 20 days experience with Talibans!

India, 16 March 2014 - They treated me well. They allowed me to pray in the morning. I went along with them to fetch water. I even prayed that I should be allowed to die. But these were rare moments. They love us. They love India. They are fond of Hindi films. At the Kandahar airport when a soldier learnt I was an Indian he hugged me spontaneously.
view map

More than 1.70 lakh Sri Lankan people remains refugees or asylum-seekers, says UNHCR

India, 14 January 2015 – Even five years after end of the civil war between Sri Lankan government and LTTE, over 1.70 lakh people remain either as refugees or asylum-seekers in other countries or Internally Displaced Persons within the Island, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
view map

Arrupe Day Sees an Uncertain Future for Bhutanese Refugees in Eastern Nepal

Nepal 14 November 2014 - Repatriation to Bhutan seems to be a distant, unlikely possibility. Integration in Nepal is easier said than done. The government does not seem open to the idea in a country that has its own infrastructural and economic issues, where jobs are scarce and where allocating land to refugees is a prospect that cannot be easily realized.
view map

India: training programs aid Chin refugees

(New Delhi) January 4, 2012 – Twenty women graduated from the first Jesuit Refugee Service-sponsored Chin women's tailoring course here, receiving not only new sewing machines for Christmas, but the know-how to make use of them in the new year and beyond.
view map

South Asia: Our work in 2011

New Delhi, 7 July 2012 – In a year marked with conflict in some places and refugees returning home in others, JRS work expanded to meet the needs in a situation that is always changing.
view map

South Asia: Our work in 2010

New Delhi, 4 July 2011 – In 2010, JRS South Asia continued its rich tradition of serving forcibly displaced people, choosing as a priority those most vulnerable and most discriminated against. Due to the nature of the situation, the programme in Sri Lanka continues to be the main concern of JRS South Asia.
view map

South Sudan
United Kingdom

Democratic Republic of Congo
Sri Lanka
South Africa
United States of America
Central African Republic