Finding Self-Sufficiency after Fleeing War

01 July 2022

When refugees and internally displaced (IDPs) persons have fled their homes, ensuring their ability to set themselves on a path to self-sufficiency is critical for their success, both in the short term and the long term. JRS’s programs help ensure refugees and IDPs can do just that. 

Jacob had to leave his career as a high school teacher behind after he fled the DRC, his home country.  After a series of frustrating months trying to secure a safe place to live and an income, he met Beatrice Etoo Sadi, a Congolese woman who gave him the best gift he could have asked for – training in an employable skill. 

She was paying forward the gift she had learned years before in a Jesuit Refugee Service tailoring course. Today, however, through training Jacob and other refugees, her skills have made a much bigger impact on her community than she could have imagined. 

There are thousands of urban refugees who face alternative challenges to those living in camps where basic amenities such as food, water, and shelter are often available. High priced city living, limited access to social and economic services, lack of skills training, employment opportunities, and insufficient support contributes to the poor living conditions of the urban refugee experience. 

In response to these harsh circumstances, JRS started the first and only urban Refugee Community Centre (RCC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1996. The RCC responds to the unmet needs of urban refugees and asylum seekers with a range of services and support. The vocational skills training, day care service, English language courses, psychosocial services, sports and recreation, music therapy, and emergency food and material assistance offered by RCC helps displaced persons heal, learn, and thrive in their new environments. 

One anonymous refugee says of the RCC: “My family and I often spend time at the RCC and our children are so happy there, it really is a place for change. I came with empty hands, but now I am equipped with skills that help me win bread for my family.” 

You can support JRS’s mission of ensuring refugees and IDPs around the globe are able to achieve self-sufficiency.