JRS completes the Global Education Initiative (GEI) and renews its commitment to refugee education

26 August 2020

The Jesuit Refugee Service is pleased and grateful to announce the successful completion of its Global Education Initiative (GEI) campaign.

JRS launched the GEI in 2015 in response to the challenge posed to us by Pope Francis: “To give a child a seat at school is the finest gift you can give.” Our goal for the end of 2020 was to increase the number of people served in our education and livelihoods programs from 150,000 to 250,000, and to raise an additional $35 million for this work and for necessary institutional strengthening. At the end of 2019, we were educating and training 359,175 people throughout the world, and we had raised $41 million toward our goals. JRS/USA, with support from donors and the United States Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, has raised over $18.6 million towards this global effort. Thank you for helping us meet our goals a year early!

As a mission of the Society of Jesus, JRS believes in education. As over half of all refugees are children, quality education is as important as food, clothing, and shelter. With over 16 million people in protracted (five years or longer) situations of displacement, education cannot be optional. Education offers forcibly displaced people access to security, hope, and economic opportunities.

Through the GEI, JRS has increased and improved safe and stable learning environments for refugee children. The GEI provides older refugees with the tools to build a future for their families and to contribute to the growth and stability of their communities.

Thanks to the success of the GEI, JRS has launched several significant initiatives:

  • A global Teacher Training Program that builds instructional capacity and helps teachers create inclusive environments where children can develop their potential.
  • A gender-responsive education unit that focuses on increasing access to education for girls, built upon lessons learned from pilot projects in Chad and Malawi.
  • Scholarships that permit refugees and displaced people to attend local and boarding schools, fostering integration within their communities.
  • The JRS Pathfinder program that offers refugees professional and post-secondary training, including digital skills and other livelihood instruction.
  • An inclusive education program that is inspired by a pilot project for children with special-needs in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp.

With these significant accomplishments of the GEI as the foundation, we cannot step back from the challenging pace we have set. There is too much at stake. At this moment, nearly 80 million people are displaced around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has closed, delayed, and disrupted schools and education across the globe. Educational opportunities are more important than ever; JRS must find ways to continue to accompany young and older learners alike, especially those for whom the GEI opened the doors of education.

Thank you for your support of this vital initiative, and please continue to walk with us as we accompany students and teachers into the future.