1. Jesuit Refugee Service in Malta seeks to accompany, serve and defend the rights of asylum seekers and forcibly displaced persons who arrive in Malta. Each arrival's story bears witness to traumatized, disrupted pasts but also to a remarkable will to survive against all odds.

    JRS Malta was founded in 1993. In the previous months, several hundred asylum seekers had arrived in Malta mainly from Iraq and the former Yugoslavia. With no national structures in place, the tiny office set out to address some of the pressing needs with the help of friends and volunteers.

    Initially, JRS Malta worked mostly with asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection in the community, providing legal assistance, pastoral care, psycho-social and material support.

    "We believed we should pay attention to refugees as people, and were among the first to raise the awareness of the Maltese public to the presence of refugees."

    Written by Fr Joseph Cassar S.J., the first director of JRS Malta, these words underline the spirit of our work as it is shaped by the needs of refugees and asylum seekers arriving in Malta.

    From 2002, due to the rise in the number of asylum seekers in detention, which was a direct result of the increase in the number of undocumented migrants arriving in Malta by boat from Libya, JRS Malta directed its activities and services towards this category of migrants, given the difficulties they faced when seeking to access basic services.

    Over the years, JRS Malta expanded its services to include legal advice and provision of information to asylum seekers in detention, advocacy, public awareness-raising, social work services, limited healthcare and psychological support, and spiritual care. Today it offers these services in detention or in the community as the case may be — to asylum seekers, beneficiaries of international protection and to forced migrants who cannot return to their country of origin — in response to the challenges presented by the new realities on the ground.

    jrsmalta.org
    jrseurope.org/countries/malta.htm

    Video produced by Christian Fuchs — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
    jrsusa.org

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  2. In the different territorial offices (Roma, Palermo, Catania, Trento, Vicenza) JRS Italy reached about 20,000 beneficiaries during 2008. In Rome, the soup kitchen served more than 400 meals every day, and 481 people attended five days a week the Italian language course. Most of the effort during the year was focused on increasing the capacity of the services and opening new ones.

    jrseurope.org/countries/italy.htm

    Reception centre
    A new reception centre for 25 women and children was opened in Palermo. The Ministry for Welfare financed the renovation of the building, which made it possible for Centro Astalli Palermo to give an answer to an urgent need of the town.

    Health care
    The project for assistance and health care to asylum seekers and refugees Sa.Mi.Fo., based in Rome and started in 2007 thanks to a partnership between JRS Italy and the Italian National Health Service with the support of UNHCR, was potentiated and moved to new offices in the city centre.

    Awareness Raising
    During 2008, programs of awareness raising were particularly important, especially the programs for young people. The two projects offered by JRS Italy, ‘the right to asylum’, and the ‘interfaith dialogue for high school students’ were continued in 2008. Thousands of teenagers in many Italian towns, including Rome, Catania, Palermo, Padova, Lecce, Imperia, Milan, participated in the projects.

    The second edition of the writing competition, “La scrittura non va in esilio”, supported by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, was a great success, with the winning story coming from a 14 year old Roman student. The story was published on the front page of the national newspaper “L’Unità”, and will be the basis fo a short movie to be directed by the Cinema School of Rome.

    Training
    A training course on asylum rights in Europe and in Italy, “Borders or Barriers?”, was organised, as every spring, for staff and volunteers in Rome. The three conferences, whose speakers were representative of UNHCR and of the main NGOs working on the theme, were attended by an average of 100 people each.

    In June JRS Italy was visited by Father Nicolás SJ, the newly elected Father General of the Society of Jesus, who gave a long and meaningful speech on migration in the light of his own personal experiences.

    Video produced by Christian Fuchs — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA

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  3. Jesuit Refugee Service Asia Pacific serves more than 200,000 refugees, asylum-seekers and forcibly displaced people, including people held in detention centers. JRS AP serves smaller numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in camps, urban settings and detention centers.

    In this video we hear about the JRS program for Urban Refugees in Bangkok, where JRS provides legal and psycho-social services, material assistance, livelihoods and skills training. JRS Asia Pacific also works in the urban areas of Mae Sot.

    jrsusa.org
    jrsap.org

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  4. In the Middle East and North Africa, Jesuit Refugee Service works predominantly with urban refugees. The first projects were initially established in 2008 in response to the high number of Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan. These two countries hosted the majority of Iraqi refugees, who make up the second largest group under UNHCR responsibility worldwide at an estimated 1.8 million.

    Since this interview was recorded in March 2012, JRS has adapted and expanded its existing projects in Syria in order to adequately respond to the needs of the 2.5 internally displaced people (IDPs) and to the nearly 500,000 refugees spilling across Syria’s borders into Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

    In the north of Jordan, where there is the highest number of Syrians, JRS has created teams who accompany refugees through family visits and support them with food and cash assistance for rent. Although 30,000 Syrians are in Za’atari Refugee Camp, more than double that amount are living outside of the camp, amongst the local population, and are in urgent need of support. JRS Jordan is conducting assessments to fill the gaps outside of the recently established Za'atari refugee camp in northern Jordan.

    In Amman, JRS supports more than 200 Syrian refugee families through family visits and needs assessments conducted daily. At the informal education project in Amman, 25% of the children who attend are Syrian. Other programs are Higher education (Jesuit Commons) and psychosocial programs.

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  5. In the Middle East and North Africa, Jesuit Refugee Service works predominantly with urban refugees. The first projects were initially established in 2008 in response to the high number of Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan. These two countries hosted the majority of Iraqi refugees, who make up the second largest group under UNHCR responsibility worldwide at an estimated 1.8 million.

    Since this interview was recorded in March 2012, JRS has adapted and expanded its existing projects in Syria in order to adequately respond to the needs of the 2.5 internally displaced people (IDPs) and to the nearly 500,000 refugees spilling across Syria’s borders into Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

    About 3,000 families in Damascus, Homs, Aleppo and in the south near the border with Jordan receive emergency assistance through JRS. This includes: Food packages, a basic utensils kit for newly arrived refugees comprising cooking utensils, blankets, mattresses, cash assistance for rent and temporary accommodation at emergency shelters.

    Aleppo: psychosocial programs; food security (feeding 10,000+ people a day); managing schools providing shelter for 4,000 IDPs; more than 75 local volunteers are reaching out to 8,000 refugees, more than 3,000 of whom are children. Also providing food, non-food items and cash assistance to 4,000 people.

    Damascus: education for children; food security; counseling; through family visits, JRS staff and volunteers in Damascus coordinate help for 900 families. JRS provides nearly 500 children educational support, cash assistance for transport costs, sports and recreational services. Opportunities for children to create handicrafts, music and art are offered to the students to encourage self-expression and emotional release from the trauma of conflict.

    Homs: educational and psychosocial support for 800 children, including 15 young people with disabilities. Support for 500 families in Homs and surrounding areas is ongoing.

    jrsusa.org
    jrsmena.org

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Urban Refugees

Jesuit Refugee Service | USA Plus

Jesuit Refugee Service videos on the issue of urban refugees. Learn more about urban refugees on our website here:
jrsusa.org/urban

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