Joan and Sr Concilia
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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
Zimbabwe: The Grinding Mill, Making a Positive Difference in the Lives of all at Tongogara
Maize meal, cooked into a porridge, is a Southern African staple and forms an essential part of the diet of the people of Tongogara. It is nutritious and cheap and can be turned into large, filling meals. To stretch their dollars, the refugees and asylum seekers in the camp- like many of the locals in the surrounding areas - have opted to buy maize instead of maize meal. Maize on the cob is cheaper than the already processed maize and so the people of Tongogara had to venture into the surrounding communities and pay for the services of grinding mills.
Zimbabwe: The Life of a Refugee, Testament to the Prevailing Human Spirit
Today, Rose Kabela-Thumba is sharing her expertise with other refugees through Jesuit Refugee Service’s (JRS) Vocational Skills Training (VST) Programme as a refugee volunteer, cosmetology teacher. Her life away from the country of her birth, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), now in Tongogara Refugee Camp in Zimbabwe is not ideal, however she is now able to make a life for herself and her family.
Zimbabwe: Single Women becoming Diversified and Sustainable Small Scale Farmers in Tongogara
JRS has designed the project in such a way that it is scaled to accommodate teams to work in co-operative units, yet sufficient enough to provide these women and their families with additional income and nutrition. Not only have the pig and chicken projects been a huge success in Tongogara Refugee Camp for the widows and single mothers, but it has grown into a rabbit project for another 12 women. With the addition of this project to complement the existing projects, the total number of income generating projects for the women has grown to 3, within less than a year.
Zimbabwe: Education, A window of hope, putting Mercy in Motion
This year, has been declared as the year of Mercy by Pope Francis. This mercy has been extended, not only to the individual, but to include what an individual can do for his/her fellow man, “to extend the mercy of God to those in need”. This declaration has seen companies and individuals alike donating toward the cause of refugees in Tongogara Refugee Camp. Thanks to a talk given by Zerene Haddad - based at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) International Office in Rome - at St George’s College in Harare on Mercy in Motion, and how the campaign aims to get over 220 000 children into school by 2020.
Zimbabwe: A Stitch in Time
The smiles on the faces of the tailors in the dressmaking group tells its story, a story of contentment and appreciation. This is the first group that benefited from the Julia Taft Refugee Fund and received start up kits to start their own small business. They received industrial sewing machines, overlocking machines, tape measures, scissors, patterns as well as materials and threads. Upon graduation, the group received start-up kits that would enable them to start their own micro enterprises within the camp.
Zimbabwe: An egg a day…
The smile on the faces of the single mothers says it all. Following the success of the piggery project, JRS enrolled 30 women to start the chicken project. Thanks to funding from Julia Taft, this was made possible for this group of women and a fowl run was built in November 2015. The first lot of 200 Boschveld Chickens were purchased in November, as well 100 Quails (gamebirds).
Zimbabwe: The Restaurant at Tongogara, a Story of Hope in the Face of Hopelessness
Nestled in the heart of Tongogara Refugee Camp, the restaurant business consists of Congolese, Burundian and Rwandese nationals. They chose the name “One Family”, as they decided at inception, that nationality, ethnicity and culture would not be a dividing factor amongst those that ran the business. As the chairman of the group, Mama Tshilanda, says: “We are One Family, we do not look at a person’s culture, race, tribe or religious beliefs. We are all refugees here in this camp, so we are all One Family”.
Zimbabwe: Saint Michael’s Secondary School, The History Behind a Beacon of Light at Tongogara Refugee Camp
Situated on the outskirts of the refugee
Zimbabwe: Single Women - Empowered to Support Themselves
camp, Saint Michael’s Secondary School is a welcoming beacon of light at
Tongogara Refugee Camp, the first set of buildings one sees as you arrive at
the camp. With 473 Students enrolled at the school, Saint Michael’s offers
schooling from form 1-4 for all refugee children as well as Zimbabwean Students
from the surrounding community.
Tongogara, 30 June 2015 – Within any population, even amongst refugees and asylum seekers, women – particularly single women, more so single mothers – are the most vulnerable. These women are more vulnerable to gender based violence, financial and sexual exploitation as well as physical and sexual abuse . In the advancement and protection of the basic human rights of refugees, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Zimbabwe could not ignore the plight of these and other women and so a safe environment that protects them from these abuses, where they could create and sustain livelihoods that give them financial independence, needed to be established.
Zimbabwe: food aid helps children stay in school
Harare, 12 October 2010 – More than six years after JRS Zimbabwe began assisting displaced and extremely vulnerable children, the number has rapidly increased. From 45 children in receipt of food aid in 2004, JRS is now making it possible for nearly 300 children to attend school. Without this food assistance, the children would almost certainly be forced to engage in harmful alternative survivial techniques.
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