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Urban Refugees: building communities of encounter

The traditional image of refugees living in sprawling rural camps no longer tells the true story of refugee movements. Most of the world's displaced persons (60 percent) now live in urban settings.

Urban refugees are often invisible and fall through the cracks of society. They constantly face protection risks and are often denied access to basic services, and exposed to unique social vulnerabilities. Barriers to integration for urban refugees are not just institutional or legal; access to successful local integration in urban settings in large part depends on how local host communities respond to the newcomers.

Joining Pope Francis’s call to promoting a culture of encounter, JRS considers the presence of urban refugees and asylum seekers an opportunity for human growth and works to create communities of companionship and encounter. Read more

United Kingdom: At Home and the change it brings
London, 8 October 2018 - JRS UK’s Communities of Hospitality Coordinator Naomi Turner reflects on the ‘At Home’ hosting scheme that brings people who are destitute together with a local individual or family willing to support them. 
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Colombia: I thought I would have to leave this country
Buenaventura, 14 September 2018 -  Forced to leave home and move to Buenaventura, a coastal seaport city in Valle del Cauca and the most impoverished city in Colombia, Genifer was determined not to be stuck in poverty and rendered invisible to the rest of the world, like so many IDPs in Colombia. 
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Jordan: This is why I am here
Amman, 7 August 2018 – Ahmed, a member of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Jordan Home Visits Team, knocks on the ornate metal door a few times. After the shuffling of feet, Faheem* opens the door and invites Ahmed inside.
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Thailand: Refugees find safe haven in sports
Bangkok, 26 July 2018 A group of Pakistani refugees stand in position in a small sheltered cricket field in Bangkok. The bowler throws the ball forcefully. The batsman hits it hard and runs to the other side of the field. He scores! His team cheers.
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South Africa: Helping to Heal, Providing Hope
Johannesburg, 4 June 2018 -  JRS in South Africa provides health care to infirmed refugees and asylum seekers, and the care they provide goes far beyond the healing of illness.
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Jordan: Accompanying refugees in Amman
Amman, 19 February 2018 – Led by her passion for Middle Eastern culture and determination to foster relationships through language, Elizabeth Woods has truly made an impact on the lives of the refugees she serves in Jordan.
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Thailand: Through the lens of a refugee
Bangkok, 12 February 2018 – The story of Absame, an asylum seeker living in Bangkok, shows incredible bravery, resilience, and persistence. He embraced opportunities for education and utilised his perseverance and skills to find informal employment under extremely tough circumstances. Above all, he perseveres with the hope of a better future.
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Canada: Creating communities for Canadians and newcomers
Montréal, 5 January 2018 – Following the call in 1980 of Pedro Arrupe SJ, then Superior General of the Society of Jesus, to assist the Vietnamese boat people, the Jesuits of French Canada started to sponsor refugees.
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Italy: Dessert and dialogue in Rome
Rome, 2 January 2018 – When Andrea Riccardi invited me to join the Commission for “Religions, Culture, and Integration” in 2012, I did not know how to connect the experience of interreligious dialogue with the challenges of migrants and refugees in Italy.
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South Africa: Empowering women at JRS Arrupe Centres
Johannesburg, 22 December 2017 – In South Africa, host to one of the largest populations of urban refugees in the world, JRS runs two centres for women refugees and asylum seekers.
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