The displacement caused by the political and economic woes of Zimbabwe is at the centre of the attention of JRS in this region. At the same time, in Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe, JRS reaches out to refugees from other African countries too, implementing projects both in cities and in camps.
In Zimbabwe, JRS supports IDPs in two districts and offers services in a refugee camp. In neighbouring South Africa, JRS concentrates on helping forcibly displaced people to find work and to integrate; this entails working with host communities, which are usually poor and on the urban fringe. Apart from projects in Pretoria and Johannesburg set up in 1997 to offer income-generation, healthcare, education, and advocacy services, JRS runs a border project in Limpopo. The project was set up in 2008 to offer social support and material assistance to newly arrived Zimbabweans who had fled their country.
In Malawi, JRS offers pre-primary, primary, secondary and adult education, as well as counselling, to refugees in Dzaleka camp. In 2010, the camp became a pilot site for the innovative "Higher education at the margins" project, a joint venture between JRS and US Jesuit universities, which provides a university diploma to refugees through online learning.
True to its pedagogical tradition, JRS has provided quality education to refugees in Malawi for 20 years. When the JRS region of Southern Africa was set up in 1995, JRS already had a unique schools project in Malawi, the Mozambican Open Learning Unit (MOLU), which followed the Mozambican refugees when they returned home.
During the 90s, much of the energy of JRS in this region was devoted to meeting the needs of people displaced by the civil war in Angola, including landmine survivors, with projects in Angola, and in Namibia and Zambia too. When peace came to Angola in 2002, JRS accompanied the returnees, participating in repatriation, rebuilding and peace education. JRS remains present in Angola, offering mostly legal aid and training to refugees in Luanda, Malange, Cabinda and Lunda Norte provinces. In response to a pressing need, JRS Angola has become increasingly involved in the field of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), initiating a counsellor training programme in Caxito, Bengo province, in 2010.
Projects in Zambia and Namibia, on the other hand, have come to a close, with JRS accompanying some Congolese refugees home to Katanga in late 2009, to help with school construction.
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JRS Southern Africa is one of 10 geographic regions of the Jesuit Refugee Service, an international Catholic organisation affiliated to the Society of Jesus. The regional office in Southern Africa supports country programmes in Angola, Malawi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. With a mandate to serve refugees and forcibly displaced persons, country projects include assisting refugees to access education, healthcare, and offering small business support.
JRS institutes legal workshops for refugees and government officials in order
to educate individuals about the rights of refugees. JRS also assists refugees
in filing appeals if they have been denied refugee status.
JRS works with Jesuit Commons: Higher Education on the Margins in Dzaleka
refugee camp to bring a variety of educational initiatives to displaced persons.
JRS also brings psychosocial programmes to refugees and displaced persons
requiring psychosocial support.
Zimbabwe, JRS works in Tongogara refugee camp to bring skills training to
refugees and displaced persons. These trainings include computing,
hairdressing, cosmetology and sewing classes. There are also initiatives that
work to bring accredited education and scholarship programmes to students in
Africa, JRS works with refugees in urban areas like Johannesburg and Pretoria
to generate income. Since Johannesburg is home to the largest urban refugee
population in the world, JRS works tirelessly with refugees to create sustainable
livelihoods and vocational training and assistance in setting up small
Australia: harsh border policies not the whole story
Sydney, 25 February 2016 – "The issue of refugees and asylum seekers in urban areas will become one of our main challenges in the coming years along with the inter-religious and inter-faith element of it," said Fr Bambang A Sipayung SJ, Director Jesuit Refugee Service Asia-Pacific.
Angola: survivors of sexual violence take back their rights
Lunda Norte Province, Angola, 28 October 2015 – Maria Jose Mambole, a refugee from the DRC, speaks before a group of 30 women about sexual violence. Despite the poverty and xenophobia these women already face as refugees, they are burdened with an additional power-gap due to their gender. Together, they have committed themselves to be activists for change.
South Africa: marching in solidarity
Johannesburg, 15 May 2015 – Xenophobic attacks this year condemned by the government and civil society did not come as a surprise to those with an interest in migration. South Africa has been experiencing waves of xenophobic attacks, the most devastating in 2008 which killed 62 people. With seven casualties just last month, South Africans are marching together calling for peace.
Malawi: a ticket to hope, graduation of online university students in Dzaleka refugee camp
Dzaleka, 6 October 2014 – Only a few years ago, the idea of offering higher education in refugee camps would have been considered almost inconceivable. Yet today the graduation ceremony in Dzaleka camp has become an annual event. This occasion, said Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) International Director, Peter Balleis SJ, was as a celebration of 'normality'.
Kenya: graduates celebrate past achievements and hopeful futures in Kakuma refugee camp
Kakuma, 29 September 2014 – A busy road in Kakuma refugee camp comes alive with shops selling vivacious Tanzanian fabrics, Ethiopian cafes serving espresso shots, families collecting remittances at Somali banks and a micro-version of a university campus offering online higher education to talented refugees.
Democratic Republic of Congo
United States of America
Central African Republic