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.
Jesuit Refugee Service International Office
+39 06 69 868 468
The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organisation with a mission to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS undertakes services at national and regional levels with the support of an international office in Rome. Founded in November 1980 as a work of the Society of Jesus, JRS was officially registered on 19 March 2000 at the Vatican State as a foundation.
JRS programmes are found in 50 countries, providing assistance to: refugees in camps and cities, individuals displaced within their own countries, asylum seekers in cities, and to those held in detention centres. The main areas of work are in the field of education, emergency assistance, healthcare, livelihood activities and social services. At the end of 2011, more than 700,000 individuals were direct beneficiaries of JRS projects.
South Africa: detention and deportation of Zimbabweans costly and ineffective
Johannesburg, 20 July 2011 – Immigration detention is extremely expensive, can harm the health and wellbeing of those detained and has been found not to be effective at deterring undocumented migrants, according to a report by the International Detention Coalition (IDC), of which JRS is a founding member.
Southern Africa: Australian Jesuit appointed regional director of JRS
Johannesburg, 10 July 2010 – Australian Jesuit priest David Holdcroft SJ has been appointed JRS Southern Africa Director, a position that will also see him take charge of operations in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Southern Africa: JRS welcomes bishops’ statement on violence against migrants
Johannesburg, 9 July 2010 - JRS welcomes the statement made by the President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Buti Tlhagale, addressing the potential threat of xenophobic violence in South Africa.
Zambia: grant permanent residency to long-staying refugees
According to a statement by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), reported by the IRIN news agency on 10 March, at least 30,000 of more than 100,000 refugees in Zambia are living outside of the five government-designated settlement camps. This, according to UNHCR, poses a challenge to their efforts to organise voluntary repatriation programmes
Zambia: yet another urgent plea to avert refugee food crisis
On 8 February, according to IRIN, the UN news agency, the Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister, Ronnie Shikapwasha, urged donors to help end a food crisis affecting refugees hosted by the country.
Zambia: cuts in refugee ration
According to IRIN, the UN news agency, Congolese and Angolan refugees in Zambia will face a bleak new year with the threat of a 50 percent cut in food rations in 2006 unless urgent funding is secured.
Papua New Guinea
Democratic Republic of Congo
Katanga Province, DRC
United States of America
Central African Republic