After shifting from Bangalore to New Delhi, JRS soon saw the needs of refugees living in India’s capital city, and began to respond. The work is steadily expanding to meet the needs of ethnic Chin refugees from Burma. After decades of religious persecution by the Buddhist military-controlled government, more than 100,000 of this mainly Christian population have fled to India.
With approximately 10,000 living in New Delhi, JRS seeks to help those in the most vulnerable circumstances by providing vocational training courses and English language classes. While a relatively new project, JRS hopes it will expand as the needs of Chin refugees become apparent.
JRS teams have been working with Sri Lankan refugees in the most southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu since the mid-1990s.
Three years after the conflict ended, refugees continue arriving and others are born and raised in the camps. Facing issues of education barriers, domestic violence, mental trauma and alcoholism, to name a few, JRS established Pedro Arrupe Learning centres as a safe place for young people to study and participate in extra-curricular activities. JRS staff also visit those living in the camps to learn the needs of individual families and how best to respond.
With the political situation changing drastically in both Burma and Sri Lanka, JRS will continuing serving these communities until they find a durable solution to their forced displacement, either through voluntary return, local integration or resettlement in another country.
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.
Stars lighting up a dark sky - Overcoming odds
New Delhi, 15 October 2015 – My eyes are closed now, and my mind goes back to the graduation ceremony, a few years ago. It is 2011. I am on the stage; I am reciting a poem in front of the teachers, classmates, and their families. The poem I have chosen is ‘Ithaka’, by Constantine Cavafy. “Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, / you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean”
. My voyage, my story...
50 per cent of the refugees in the world are in urban areas and are 'invisible'
The study highlighted the plight of the Chin refugees living in Delhi and the various opportunities and challenges before them.
She will not return to her country
She will not return to her country for fear of being tortured again. She misses her family and hopes to see them one day, though she does not know when.
India: NGOs and government discuss gaps in the protection of young refugees
New Delhi, 28 December 2012 – Despite legislative improvements in the protection of children in India, young refugees continue to be particularly vulnerable to neglect and abuse. This was the subject of a meeting in mid-December between representatives from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the government, NGOs and advocates.
India: conference on effects of migration
From 6 to 8 March 2006, JRS South Asia and the Indian Social Institute, Bangalore organised a three-day seminar in the southern Indian city of Bangalore on forced migration in the region. Academics, intellectuals and field professionals working with refugees discussed a wide range of interlocking issues, such as globalisation, security, human rights, poverty, gender, environmental degradation and the prevention of migration.
India: Bhutanese refugees protest at the border
On 17 December Reuters news agency reported that some 60 people were injured when Indian police used batons to push back hundreds of Nepal-based Bhutanese refugees who were trying to enter India in order to return to Bhutan.
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