Based on the needs of refugees and the capacities of the organisation, JRS staff provide a broad range of services to more than 650,000 refugees and other forcibly displaced persons worldwide. These services are made available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs.
In the Middle East and North Africa, JRS works predominantly with Iraqis, Iranians, Somalis, Sudanese and in recent months with Syrians.
- Emergency assistance
- Psychosocial support
Education is one of the main initiatives of JRS in the Middle East and North Africa.
Each project offers a range of educational services, from basic literacy in English and Turkish to more advanced levels; remedial support for students within the public school system; basic computer and technical skills; pre-professional and vocational training and professional skills training.
A recent addition to JRS education services is that of higher education. In Syria and Jordan JRS, in cooperation with Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins, delivers higher education to refugees through online learning.
In Turkey, where language is often an insurmountable barrier to integration, JRS works with the Ministry of Education to offer approved Turkish classes to refugees.
In 2011, in Syria, Turkey and Jordan, JRS provided educational services to more than 2,820 people.
Emergency assistance is provided to refugees and asylum seekers in the most vulnerable circumstances. JRS relies heavily on in-kind donations and distributes these goods on a regular basis to refugees in need. This emergency aid comprises of food baskets, diapers, health-related products, grocery cards, some household goods, mattresses, blankets and clothes.
4, 400 persons received emergency assistance from JRS in Syria, Turkey and Jordan in 2011.
Most of the work of JRS in the region has a psychosocial element to it. In an attempt to restore a sense of normalcy to the lives of refugees and to reduce the effects of trauma on them, JRS activities focus on reinforcing the well-being of individuals.
At the centre of JRS psychosocial work, lies the family visits team. Through visiting refugees in their homes, JRS staff are able to assess their living conditions, spend time with them in a safe place, listen to their concerns and dispel any sense of isolation. All of these aspects have a direct impact on the psychological and physical well-being of an individual.
Because of the urban environments in which refugees live in the Middle East, their movements are restrained by the expense, and on occasion, the lack of transport available to them. In order to combat this, JRS holds regular social gatherings where refugees can gather and spend time together, creating relationships and communities.
Activities which may seem mundane, such as playing a game of football, are important as they restore a sense of the ordinary. In Amman, JRS has a football team that participates in the local league, and in Aleppo, the activities for youth have a physical component to them.
Last year 3,000 refugees directly benefited from JRS's psychosocial services in Syria, Turkey and Jordan.