JRS MENA Statement, World Refugee Day (20 June 2018)
19 June 2018

photo: Kristóf Hölvényi /JRS MENA

JRS MENA Statement

World Refugee Day

(20 June 2018)

 The Refugee crisis continues to be the most serious issue across the world today. UNHCR has been consistently highlighting the growing number of children, women and men who are forcibly displaced everywhere. Since the outbreak of war in 2011, the Syrian conflict is regarded as the worst humanitarian crisis today, with the largest number of IDPs. According to the UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syrian crisis, more than 920,000 persons have been internally displaced since the beginning of 2018. 6.2 million is the total number of IDPs and 5.6 million the total number of refugees.


The grim reality is a challenge to all; the future is uncertain. Fr. Nawras Sammour SJ, the Regional Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) MENA Region poignantly states, “No one can predict the future of Syria; ‘uncertainty’ is the feeling of all”.


Children are the most affected in this crisis. An estimated  2.8 million Syrian children are currently out of school and it is crucial to ensure that they have access to education. Education offers an important instrument for the protection for children and engenders hope as it prepares refugees to meet future challenges. Over the years, JRS MENA has highlighted the importance of education for refugee children, convinced that it helps for their protection and ultimately an approach towards sustainable peace.


On World Refugee Day this year, JRS MENA recommits itself to the education of refugee children. Fr. Sammour states, “Education is not only about knowledge, it is about the whole person. It contributes to building a future. We promote education with IDPs and refugees who have lost everything, we promote the possibility of people working and living together, the ‘we’, it is about promoting the common good”.


JRS in the MENA Region offers a whole range of educational programmes which include early childhood education, learning support, formal education, psychosocial support; besides, social and educational activities for parents. “When we arrived to Lebanon, public schools were full, so I spent almost three years without attending classes and I forgot almost everything that I had previously studied”, says Fatima, a 13-year-old student in one of the JRS schools in Bar Elias. Fatima is one of the many refugee students that has to face many challenges daily; but is today aware of the great opportunity that the access to quality education brings. The school is a safe place where she can be herself, without being too worried about the future and at the same time rekindling hope. “I would like to become a doctor in the future, because I don’t like to see people suffering”, she adds.


“The best thing about being a teacher and what makes me very happy is that when the kids come to the school they feel accepted and protected. We give this to them. Above all, JRS also helps them in their hopes and dreams to rebuild their beloved Syria,” says a Syrian volunteer from Damascus, in the JRS School in Bar Elias, Lebanon.


Today none of us should forget or neglect education for the refugee children. On this World Refugee Day, we pledge our support to refugee children and for the Syrian people who are affected- who today need our support more than ever before.




20 June 2018

Beirut , Lebanon

Press Contact Information
Cedric Prakash SJ