Jesuit Refugee Service in the nation’s capital, Kampala, helps refugees access these markets by offering vocational training courses in English language, business management, fashion and design, hairdressing, carpentry, arts and crafts, and catering.
Hundreds of refugees have started their life anew in Uganda through attending these classes. After graduating, some have managed to secure small business loans used to start their own businesses. Others have found employment in Ugandan businesses.
In order to thrive in cities, urban refugees must be versatile and creative. Musa Cirhuza, a 28-year-old Congolese refugee, used to sell goods in a market in Goma. He never thought he would become a carpenter until enrolling in the JRS carpentry class.
“I’ve learned that as a refugee you must be good at a variety of different tasks. I decided to take the challenge of being a carpenter, and through that, I’ve become a more patient and creative person. I’m more able to adapt to difficult circumstances,” said Musa.
Jesuit Refugee Service in the Uganda’s capital, Kampala, helps refugees access these markets by offering vocational training courses in English language, business management, fashion and design, hairdressing, carpentry, arts and crafts, and catering.
Jeannette Chimondo is one of the many refugees who started her own textile business after receiving training from JRS.
“At first, after arriving, I thought I made a mistake in coming here. We were living in difficult conditions, and my children were suffering, but, I had some background in accounting and I knew I could start something if I had the capital. I completed the JRS business-training course and learned important lessons in customer care.
“I saw there was a lot of demand for textiles in Uganda and felt this would be a smart sector to enter into. I received two interest-free loans from JRS, which allowed me to start and then grow my own business,” said Jeannette.
Like any other business owner, Jeannette relies on local networks to grow her business.
Jesuit Refugee Service provides counseling services and after school programs for refugees at a camp in Mai Aini, Ethiopia. For urban refugees in the country's capital of Addis Ababa, JRS runs the only Refugee Community Center in the city, providing a range of services from adult education to computer access to emergency needs. In the Goz Beida camp near Djabal, Chad, JRS and Jesuit Commons Higher Education at the Margins have partnered to begin the process of bringing university classes via online learning to refugees from Darfur, Sudan.
The present growth in militarism represents only the most recent deterioration of the situation of the Syrian people who have had to contend with ever increasing suffering as a result of a brutal conflict that has continued to deepen for nearly four years. As a result, more than 191,000 are dead and millions more are displaced within Syria or are refugees in neighboring countries and beyond.
“We’re disappointed that diplomatic efforts and the political engagement of many countries is not leading to a negotiated settlement of the conflict,” said Andrea Lari, JRS Advocacy Advisor.
“JRS believes that the fighting parties should be brought together — with a wide range of observers and facilitators, including countries in the region and those countries outside the region with a geopolitical stake in the conflict — sitting around the sametable and hammering out steps to suspend the fighting, rebuild the country and stop the conflict all together.” Learn more: jrsusa.org
Andrea Lari, Jesuit Refugee Service Advocacy Advisor, talks about JRS education programs in Lebanon.
More than one million refugees from Syria are now living in Lebanon, swelling the population of the small country. In communities around the country, from the Bekaa Valley to the Mediterranean coast, Jesuit Refugee Service is creating schools for Syrian children in areas where educational opportunities weren't previously available.