Myanmar: JRS’s 40th Anniversary, A Journey We’ve Walked Together

18 January 2021|Ja Seng Pan, Project Director, JRS at Kachin State

Gardening together with IDPs in Palana Camp, Kachin State, Myanmar
Moment of the JRS’s 40th anniversary after Mass presided by Fr.Girish, SJ, and Fr. Rapheal on 14th November 2020 at TTC, Myitkyina Kachin State, Myanmar

This year on 14th November, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) marks its 40th anniversary since it was founded by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., in 1980 after seeing Vietnamese risked their lives in crowded boats to escape conflict from their home country and seek safety. Today JRS is expanding its work with a mission to accompany, serve and advocate for the refugees and internally displaced people who are tremendously vulnerable to human rights violation in over 50 countries.

Moment of Planting 40 Trees to Mark JRS’s 40th Anniversary in TTC Compound

Therefore, to mark 40 years of accompaniment, JRS team in Kachin State hosted a celebration on 14th November at New Generation Teacher Training Center (NG-TTC), Palana in Myitkyina, Kachin State with a mass presided by Fr.Girish, SJ, and Fr.Rapheal. The tree planting and gardening with some IDPs are as part of the activities. All JRS staffs in Myitkyina and teacher training participants with our great partner, Diocesan Commission for Education Myitkyina (DCE-Myitkyina) planted 40 trees together to mark 40th anniversary in TTC compound. On that day, JRS also spent time together with some of the IDPs from Palana camp by growing vegetables in their garden. It was a moment to share feeling, listen and remember the pain of their loss due to civil war, and it was also an opportunity to show love, respect and encourage their hope to rebuild lives.

After 40 years, the journey is not over and the needs continue to grow with more than 80 million IDPs and refugees around the world. However, this commemorative day has provided some good reasons to celebrate as it is the day to honor Fr.Pedro Arrupe , JRS team, our donors, and great partner organizations for their dedicated services for the causes of refugees and IDPs. Most importantly, it was the day we reflected the value of JRS which are compassion, hope, dignity, solidarity, hospitality, justice, and participation when we serve those people regardless of their background, culture, and beliefs. This event encourages us to keep serving, accompanying and advocating, especially for the most vulnerable IDPs and refugees around the globe for their better future.