Accompanying refugees in their journey

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is an international Catholic non-governmental organization whose mission is to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons.
On Tuesday, December 8, 2015, as a concrete sign of commitment to the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Jesuit Refugee Service launched the Mercy in Motion advocacy and fundraising campaign to expand and strengthen our education programs.
Our goal is to nearly double the number of refugees JRS currently serves in educational programs by the year 2020. We aim to accomplish this by providing educational services to 100,000 more refugees by the end of the decade than we reached in 2015.
Pope Francis directed JRS to undertake this Global Education Initiative during an audience with JRS staff and supporters on November 14, saying “to give a child a seat at school is the finest gift you can give…. For children forced to emigrate, schools are places of freedom.”
For 35 years, JRS has focused on education as a means to build peace and foster the development of more resilient and cohesive societies. Funds raised by the Mercy in Motion campaign will implement the JRS Global Education Initiative, which aims to robustly expand both formal and informal education programs — from primary school to university, and including vocational education and teacher training.
A quality education gives refugees the tools not only to contribute to their new communities, but also to rebuild their old ones. Refugees face a variety of barriers trying to access education, from overcrowding in schools to xenophobia in host communities. Their fundamental right to education is often lost. Among refugee children globally, only 36 percent go to secondary school and less than one percent have the opportunity to pursue a higher education.
Inspired by the encouragement of Pope Francis, JRS teams in cities and refugee camps around the world will strengthen and expand existing educational programs and make sure the potential of thousands of refugee children and young adults is not wasted.
“We must show mercy to those who are at the mercy of outside forces,” said Fr. Smolich. “We must mobilize ourselves for those who are in motion.”