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, Democratic Republic of Congo, 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.
In Angola, in addition to the activities supporting the refugees, the project provides training on refugee law to government authorities, including police, immigration officers and local leaders. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, JRS is constructing and renovating schools, upgrading teachers’ skills, and fostering reintegration by developing sporting activities for children.
In Malawi, JRS is providing primary and secondary education, as well as vocational training, to refugees living in the Dzaleka refugee camp. In Zimbabwe, JRS provides material assistance to vulnerable populations, as well as providing a range of services and vocational training opportunities to refugees living in the Tongogara refugee camp.
In South Africa, JRS offers services primarily to urban refugees and asylum seekers: this consists of small business development and assistance to access public services (including education and healthcare). Close to the Zimbabwe border, the JRS South Africa office offers World Health Organisation-standard food and hygiene packages to undocumented migrants and other displaced persons arriving in the country.
Democratic Republic of Congo: JRS schools provide hope
Kaputa, Zambia, 7 August 2012 — Funding from the US Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration enabled the Jesuit Refugee Service to build 14 schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo, thus furthering the education of up to five thousand students.
Angola: training on sexual violence and HIV/AIDS promotes refugee integration
Luanda, 11 May 2011 – In an attempt to combat domestic violence, sexual- and gender-based violence (SGBV) and provide education on HIV/AIDS, the Angolan office of the Jesuit Refugee Service is helping train community counsellors. Working in conjunction with local activists, JRS recently identified and trained eight counsellors.
South Africa: unaccompanied minors remain vulnerable
Johannesburg, 16 March 2011 – Many unaccompanied minors, mostly undocumented migrant children, are forced to sleep rough at taxi ranks and beg for a living – some for over four years now.
South Africa: refugee documentation remains an issue
Johannesburg, 11 February 2010 – Refugee documentation remains a concern in South Africa, as demonstrated recently in a legal battle in the Cape Town High Court.
South Africa: JRS wins awards for video on refugee rights
Johannesburg, 14 December 2010 – A public service announcement created for JRS South Africa has won five awards in a prestigious national social responsibility film competition.
Papua New Guinea
Democratic Republic of Congo
Katanga Province, DRC
United States of America
Central African Republic