In the most of the countries that we are involved in, our teams are visiting refugees in detention centres offering them various services regarding legal assistance, accessing information with ease, all the way to the psychological, social, health and pastoral care and counselling.
European migration policy, either at the level of the Union, or in the EU member states, can very adversely affect refugees, asylum seekers or any other forcibly displaced person. In many European countries, people seeking safety are actually vulnerable and exposed to many dangers. Their lives are endangered by threats of confinement, denial of care or simply the denial of any kind of decent life. State services often have to follow strict rules and rarely meet the needs of refugees, which means that people in Europe who seek refuge often end up as homeless, poor and barely surviving.
Jesuit Refugee Service is present in 14 countries of the European Union, and in Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo and Ukraine. Services we provide are different from country to country, depending on the needs and the resources that each office disposes. In Italy, JRS’s soup kitchen serves 400 meals a day. In Ireland, JRS’s team is organizing a day care center for schoolchildren and kindergarten for children of refugees. In the UK, there is a JRS’s shelter for impoverished asylum seekers, while in Belgium JRS is the only non-governmental organization that regularly visit migrants in detention centers.
Functioning of JRS and many of our initiatives actually have the same goal: Concrete support to forcibly displaced people on whom European migration policy adversely affects and those who have not encountered a welcoming, safe and peaceful life to which they had hoped.
In most of the countries in which we operate our teams visit migrants in detention centers offering a variety of services, both of legal nature or simple access to information, psycho social support, medical and pastoral care and counseling.
Same or similar services are also available to refugees in the integration process, in our centers or through teams who visit the refugees when they leave the shelters or reception centers. Many of our programs in Europe offer language courses, instruction and assistance in learning, help in finding employment, housing… In several countries, JRS provides psycho social counseling, especially for vulnerable groups of refugees.
Encouraging the community to accept and welcome refugees is what we are promoting increasingly. We believe that the best way for Europeans to become more open towards refugees is to show by example how to be hospitable.