27 August 2018
|“Whether the need is pastoral accompaniment or preschool, teacher training or peace building, JRS seeks to be present.” - Fr Thomas H Smolich SJ, JRS International Director|
Rome, 27 August 2018 - The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Annual Report 2017 provides details of the impact made on the lives of nearly 640,000 people last year through our programmes serving the needs of refugees and other forcibly displaced people in 52 countries across the world.
In 2017, JRS reaffirmed our commitment to long-term durable solutions for refugees through our education programmes. Over 184,400 refugees were enrolled in formal and informal JRS education courses – 30,000 more than in 2016. We are well on our way to achieving the goals of the Global Education Initiative (GEI), an ambitious plan to increase the total number of people served in JRS education programmes from 150,000 in 2015 to 250,000 by 2020. Two years into the five-year campaign, JRS has already enrolled an additional 54,987 refugees in our education courses, thereby reaching 55 per cent of the GEI target. We have also designed a new teacher training programme, and recruited a global team of Education in Emergencies specialists. Since the start of the campaign, we have raised 39.8 per cent of the GEI fundraising target of USD 35 million.
Psychosocial support programmes were another highlight of our 2017 response to the needs of refugees. These programmes promote the personal healing of individuals and strengthen their resilience; they also contribute to the cohesion of the entire community. In 2017, JRS provided mental health and psychosocial support, and religious pastoral care, to 164,383 people.
The suffering people of Syria continued to be a major focus of our concern in 2017, both in that war-ravaged country itself, as well as in neighbouring countries where Syrian refugees struggle to survive in exile. In Syria itself, JRS has been assisting internally displaced people in and around Damascus, Homs, and Aleppo since the start of the conflict seven years ago. In 2017 we served 2.5 million meals in Syria, provided health services to 22,400 people, and distributed food baskets and non-food items, to more than 48,000 people.
Our 2017 Annual Report also tells the stories of refugees such as Sa’ad, a young Syrian boy who has endured hardships that no child should have to bear, and yet has been able to find hope and love through the dedicated accompaniment of JRS staff. Half of the record 68.5 million forcibly displaced people in the world last year were children such as Sa’ad.
Inspired by the leadership of Pope Francis to act with courage and stand with refugees, JRS continues to seek new and better ways to serve the world’s most vulnerable displaced people. “JRS’s commitment to journey with refugees does not falter. Whether the need is pastoral accompaniment or preschool, teacher training or peace building, JRS seeks to be present,” says JRS International Director Fr Thomas H Smolich SJ.
Click here to access the Annual Report and learn more about JRS’s work in 2017.