Finding Home for the Forcibly Displaced
Forced displacement in Myanmar and Afghanistan gripped our hearts in 2021. At the end of the year, there were more than 1M displacements from each country. Most remained internally displaced while thousands of refugees fled to border countries in the region. More than half of the displaced are women and children. Their grief and aspirations guided our response. Our emergency service quadrupled.
Finding home for the forcibly displaced, a safe space where their basic needs are met and hopes nourished, is a mission of JRS. Our 40th anniversary narratives show how refugees sought home and our enriching accompaniment experience during their diaspora. We rejoice in gratitude for those who have found hospitality and continue to advocate for those who were not welcomed.
We are also called to care for our common home, a bigger home that will accommodate everyone if we can share more broadly and live more simply. A call to integral conversion as Laudato Si encourages us. There are growing efforts and partnerships in this tremendous challenge. With the Jesuits, JRS has initiated working with communities through Project 40-4-40 that strengthens communities and nurtures their sociocultural and ecological growth. We are walking with the youth who is leading this action.
Looking back at 2021, I see two poignant images. One is of the destructive pandemic where mobility is restricted and people are confined to their homes and the other is the mass displacement of people who lack safe shelter and were not welcomed. As companions of refugees in the last 40 years, JRS teams experience these destabilizing movements and shrinking protection spaces while crossing borders and reaching out to the margins.
We thank the people whose commitment and vision have built the spirit and mission of JRS in the last 40 years. We thank refugees, friends, supporters, partners who have made the last 40 years an experience of longing, finding and building a home for all.
Director, Asia Pacific
26 August 2022