The 2016 Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Annual Report is now online here.
This year’s report focuses on the work of JRS’s mission to help those we serve to heal, to have the opportunity to learn, and ultimately to thrive. As stated by David “Rob” Robinson, JRS/USA Executive Director, “JRS doesn’t just give out food or just provide shelter, we walk side-by-side with refugees and provide counseling services, living with them and coming to understand and address their needs.” This was expressed in several unique programs and events throughout 2016.
Some of the projects highlighted include:
- Through the JRS/USA’s Detention Chaplaincy Program non-citizens detained by the Department of Homeland Security in federal detention centers can receive pastoral, legal, and religious assistance. Knowing a chaplain will sit with someone who is otherwise alone, frightened, and in many ways powerless, reiterates that person’s basic value as a human being. JRS’s chaplaincy work ensures that those imprisoned are treated with dignity, integrity, and humanity as they heal and learn. Another effort to continue the education and learning process, was the Lampedusa: Concert for Refugees that took place in October.
- The Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees tour was filled with Grammy award winning singers and songwriters who share a passion for the JRS mission. The 2016 Lampedusa tour succeeded in raising nearly $750,000 and reached 13,000 concert goers at sell-out shows in 11 cities. The tour supported the JRS Global Education Initiative and will help enable JRS to expand our educational programs to help refugees and displaced individuals. We believe that education is a vital component to end suffering and to help refugees become self-sufficient.
- In 2016, with the help of two longtime JRS supporters the Walk a Mile in My Shoes program was launched. This program is designed to provide an immersive educational experience simulating, on a small scale, the hardships that refugees face while in displacement. Several Jesuit universities participated in these simulations including Fairfield University, the University of Scranton, and Xavier University. There was even an opportunity at the advocacy station for participants to send letters to their policymakers to appeal on behalf of refugees. This was another great opportunity for us to lead by example, while showing our compassion and support for building a better world for refugees.
We are pleased to share our 2016 annual report, which catalogs the valuable initiatives that JRS/USA friends and supporters have enabled us to undertake this past year to help refugees to heal, learn, and thrive.