Refugees

Preparing to run the London Marathon for the first time, Alannah Booth, 29, hosted a pub quiz and raffle night in Tooting to raise funds for the Jesuit Refugee Service UK Alannah said: “Moving to London from South Africa, I was welcomed by my friends and family and immediately found myself in a supportive community. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to leave your home and family and arrive to a country only to be met with more difficulties, or to not feel welcomed.”The money...
Sarah Teather, Director of JRS-UK
In the wake of a new report showing that newly recognised refugees continue to face destitution in large numbers, JRS UK has joined other organisations in renewing calls for the “move on” period, in which newly recognised refugees can access asylum support, to be extended.“The costs of destitution: a cost-benefit analysis of extending the move-on period for new refugees” published today by the Red Cross finds significant barriers to accessing support, the job market, and housing for people who...
John Woodhouse - retired choirmaster, organist, librarian and painter - reflects on the inspiration behind the Farm Street art auctionTwo years ago on the Westminster Lourdes pilgrimage the idea of an art auction was born. I duly painted my Lourdes torchlight procession painting (above). I then heard Lord Alf Dubs speak about the appalling conditions in which children were living because they had been denied their lawful right to rejoin their families in the UK. I decided to change the...
In 1876, at the age of 7, the girl was taken by slave traders. She was forced to walk 600 miles barefoot, from her village in Darfur to the Sudanese city of El Obeid, being sold twice along the way. Over the next twelve years she was sold three more times. The trauma of her abduction caused her to forget her own name. Instead, she took a name given to her by the slavers - Bakhita. After converting to Roman Catholicism in 1890 and taking the baptismal name ‘Josephine’, Bakhita became a...
Refugees welcome
JRS responds to new parliamentary report on the safety of migrants and asylum seekersOn Monday MPs published a report indicting the UK’s excessive focus on border security, leading Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) to once again call for safe and legal routes to migrate and seek asylum.The report, compiled by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, says that “A policy that focuses exclusively on closing borders will drive migrants to take more dangerous routes, and push them into the hands...
Kevin Wyber with a group of students
The parish community of St Aloysius in Garnethill Glasgow responded with generous and practical help to the needs of mainly Syrian refugees three years ago.  A team of nearly 40 volunteers, led by retired teacher Kevin Wyber, set up an English language school for speakers of other languages (ESOL), which now sees 50 refugees and asylum seekers each week.Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the volunteers are launching a new project to engage these new members of the Glasgow...
Each year, the Jesuit Refugee Service becomes overrun with balloons and bunting. Tables and chairs are borrowed from local parishes, and the faint smell of a BBQ slowly drifts through the air.The annual Summer Party is excitedly anticipated by the refugees JRS serves, as well as the volunteers and friends of the centre. The celebration offers an opportunity to take some time away from the challenges of day to day life and be thankful for one another.Praying that the sunshine would last, the...
Refugee Stories: Changing the Narrative
A conference on the human realities of refugees in the UK, including voices from academics, practitioners and— most importantly—those seeking asylum themselves.Through the media, we all see images of refugees and hear stories about them. These, inevitably, help to form public perceptions. Yet behind the public perceptions, there are human realities. Besides the stories told about refugees, there are also the stories waiting to be told by refugees. Who takes the time to encounter those seeking...
AVID (the Association for Visitors to Immigration Detainees) delivered a training session for JRS UK volunteers at the end of January. The training covered current issues in detention, focusing especially on recent changes in legislation, and provided an overview of the rights of people held in immigration detention, concentrating on key issues such as access to healthcare and legal advice.Volunteers were given a space where they could test crucial skills in a safe environment, trying their...
Migrants at sea
Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in search of PeaceVatican Radio reported the release of Pope Francis’ message for the celebration of the 2018 World Day of Peace  - 1st January 2018.In it the Holy Father  offers heartfelt good wishes for peace and invites people of good will to embrace those fleeing war, hunger and persecution. He notes that some people consider the growth in migration as a threat.  But, “for my part, he says, I ask you to view it with confidence, as an...

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