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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.

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 Sri Lanka
Working under the auspices of the Society of Jesus and the Catholic Bishops' Conference in Sri Lanka, JRS organises a range of education, training, community development, and peace-building activities. Although JRS began working in Sri Lanka in 1983, since the end of the war in 2009, the consequent humanitarian crisis has resulted in an expansion of the support provided to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in seven districts in northern and eastern Sri Lanka. In 2011, JRS projects benefited more than 11,000 IDPs and other vulnerable Sri Lankans.

More than 30 years of armed conflict between government forces and the insurgent Tamil group, the LTTE, and the effects of the 2004 tsunami, led to the repeated displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians, frequently leaving them without food, shelter or healthcare. Many people lost limbs and others their lives, in particular family breadwinners. To this day, families anxiously continue looking for the many disappeared.

Infrastructure, public institutions and other facilities were extensively damaged, as were educational, cultural and religious structures. The war took a terrible toll on the population, particularly on young women many of whom dropped out of school to find gainful employment and become self-reliant.

After the war ended approximately 300,000 people ended up in welfare centres. Even though the major IDP camp, known as Menik Farm, has been closed since 24 September 2012, many IDPs have still not been relocated to their home villages. Displaced and returnee populations in the north and east remain among the most vulnerable in the country, facing substantial challenges in accessing decent shelter and livelihood opportunities.

As a result of their repeated displacement, children have lost a sense of stability and routine, as well as years of education. According to analysis by the UN children’s fund (UNICEF) and the Sri Lankan education ministry on the needs of more than 200,000 children in 2010 across the north and east of the country, IDP children in camps and resettlement areas showed a three-to-five-year learning gap when compared to those who had never been displaced.

It is the need to create a future for war-affected families that JRS interventions focus on education, skills building and community development. JRS supports complementary education centres, and nursery, primary and secondary schools by providing training to teachers and scholarships to students. Moreover, JRS manages multi-skills training centres, offering vocational courses in crafts, computer literacy and the English language.

As part of a more holistic approach to community development and reconciliation, teams organise cultural and spiritual activities, and make a variety of resources available to participants. Events on truth and reconciliation are also organised, nationally and locally, giving participants the opportunity to begin the healing process in dignity after years of conflict.

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.

Sri Lanka: A tribute to years of service

Colombo, 15 May 2017 - “Although almost paralysed, it was clear that Fr Arrupe wanted to ask me a question but could not find the words, so Br Bandera, the infirmarian, brought him paper and pencil. With his left hand, Fr Arrupe shakily drew a map of India, then the droplet shape of the island next to it. By pointing to the island, clearly he was asking me, ‘What is JRS doing to help the people of Sri Lanka?’”
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Sri Lanka: joining the anti-landmines treaty, a good step towards durable solutions

Rome, 9 March 2016 – Seven years after the end of the 26-year long conflict, on 3 March 2016, Sri Lanka agreed to accede to the anti-personnel mine ban treaty, also known as the Ottawa Convention. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) welcomes this move as a first good step towards durable solutions for those who have suffered war and violence. The northern and eastern provinces in Sri Lanka have been severely affected by land mines and explosives due to the conflict and there are a number of demining agencies working in Sri Lanka already.
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My experience as a track facilitator in Sri Lanka - Ninoschka Pinto

New Delhi, 27 February 2016 – "Our purpose is to teach them, not so that they take their knowledge of English and sit at home with it, but to mould them in all areas, so they can avail of opportunities..." Ninoschka H. Pinto spent six months volunteering at the Loyola campus JRS-JC:HEM academy in Sri Lanka. Here is her story in her own words.
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The promise of new beginnings - Inauguration of the new JRS-JC:HEM site in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka

Delhi, 24 September 2015 - A new JRS-JC:HEM (Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins) site called Loyola Campus was launched on 14 September in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka. This is the second JRS-JC:HEM site in the country providing tertiary education to war-affected youth and professionals in northern Sri Lanka.
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Sri Lanka: internally displaced persons and returnees need protection

Rome, 14 January 2011 – Although more than 190,000 internally displaced persons have returned to their homes, they are still in need of protection and assistance, according to a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.
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Sri Lanka: NGOs refuse to participate in reconciliation commission

Rome, 20 October 2010 – A group of international NGOs – Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Crisis Group – have refused a government invitation to appear before Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), describing it as lacking credibility.
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Sri Lanka: NGOs refuse to participate in reconciliation commission

Rome, 20 October 2010 – A group of international NGOs – Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Crisis Group – have refused a government invitation to appear before Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), describing it as lacking credibility.
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India: rumours of return circulating in refugee camps

Bangalore, 23 August 2010 – Sri Lankan refugees should be clearly told that no steps will be taken to force them home until they are happy the situation is safe for them, according to JRS South Asia Director, Prakash Louis SJ.
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Sri Lanka: four civilians still missing after navy retaliation

Four people who “disappeared” three months ago during navy reprisals against civilians in northern Sri Lanka remain unaccounted for. On 28 March, despite pleas from the local Church, practically no headway had been made in investigations about their fate.
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Sri Lanka: life for displaced persons still difficult

While 142,570 of the Sri Lankans, of the 278,090 displaced in the final phase of the war, have left have left government camps, many vulnerable displaced persons are still unable to return home.
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Sri Lanka: authorities open closed camps

On 1 December, Manik Farm camp in the northern city of Vavuniya finally opened its doors. According to the Sri Lankan authorities, 130,000 ethnic Tamil civilians, who have been detained since late May, will now be able to come and go as they wish.
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Sri Lanka: appeal for access to 300,000 trapped by war

The Bishop of Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka, Thomas Savundaranayagam, once again appealed to the government in Colombo and the leaders of the Tamil insurgent group, the LTTE, for an immediate ceasefire to allow aid through to 300,000 people caught in the middle of their war.
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Sri Lanka: government and rebels agree to rein in violence

On 24 February, according to the BBC news agency, Sri Lankan officials and LTTE Tamil rebels agreed to curb violence and renew talks on 19 April regarding their fragile truce, following a two-day meeting in Geneva.
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Sri Lanka: rebels blew themselves up

On 11 February, Reuters news agency reported a statement by the Sri Lankan military accusing the Tamil rebels, the LTTE, of using a trawler to smuggler weapons before blowing the boat up to avoid being caught ahead of peace talks in Switzerland later this month.

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Sri Lanka: unrest eases as peace talks agreed

On 29 January, Reuters news agency reported that fighting between the Tamil rebel group, the LTTE, and the Sri Lankan military in the north and east of the country had eased off after the government and rebels agreed on 25 January to hold fresh talks in Geneva. Each side accused the other of attacks within hours of the deal, but there have been no reports of major clashes.
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Sri Lanka
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