Our Mission is to Accompany, Serve and Advocate for the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is an international Catholic non-governmental organization whose mission is to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. 


JRS/USA witnesses to God's presence in vulnerable and often forgotten people driven from their homes by conflict, natural disaster, economic injustice, or violation of their human rights.  


As one of the ten geographic regions of the Jesuit Refugee Service, JRS/USA serves as the major refugee outreach arm of U.S. Jesuits and their institutional ministries, mobilizing their response to refugee situations in the U.S. and abroad. Through our advocacy and fund raising efforts, JRS/USA also provides support for the work of JRS throughout the world.  


JRS/USA gives help, hope, ear and voice to vulnerable people on the move by being present to and bearing witness to their plight; by relieving their human suffering and restoring hope; by addressing the root causes of their displacement and improving international responses to refugee situations. 


In addition, JRS/USA inspires the Ignatian family and others to respond together to the needs of refugees and displaced persons worldwide and forges strong partnerships with like-minded institutions and agencies devoted to the cause of refugees and displaced persons.


JRS works in more than 57 countries worldwide to meet the educational, health, social and other needs of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS services are made available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs.
JRS provides primary and secondary education to approximately 170,000 children, and undertakes advocacy to ensure that all displaced children are provided with a quality education.


Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.





JRS/USA Ask the U.S. to Make a Commitment for Refugee Education
Washington DC, 21 September 2018 – The new Global Compact on Refugees commits to mobilizing "more direct financial support" to minimize the time refugee children spend out of school and to meeting "the specific education needs of refugees" to overcome current obstacles to enrollment and attendance. To do this, we are calling on the U.S. to pledge their support for the Global Compact on Refugees and commit to additional funding for Education Cannot Wait.
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JRS/USA Director of Missions Helps Author New Book on Refugees
Washington DC, 20 September 2018 – Fr. Leo J. O’Donovan, SJ, Director of Mission for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and former President of Georgetown University, Washington, DC (1989 to 2001) writes a moving book highlighting the stories of immigrant children who fled Central America.
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Lebanon: Syrian Children Need More Than a Traditional Education

Lebanon, 19 September 2018 –Children need more than traditional education. The JRS Centre in Jbeil serves Syrian refugee children, including providing psychosocial support to children through Peace Education classes. All of the children at the center have been touched by war, with mortars and bombs a daily risk. Some children have experienced violence in the home, and most currently live in unsuitable or overcrowded homes. 


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19 September 2018 - Please join the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA on October 4 for a reception in Chicago, IL. The reception will be an opportunity for our friends and supporters in the Chicago area to learn more about JRS and our work around the world and to meet our our International Director, Fr. Tom Smolich, and our JRS/USA Executive Director, Joan Rosenhauer.


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Eritrea: Balancing Family and Personal Growth

Eritrea, 18 September 2018 – Aron* fled Eritrea from forced conscription into the military. To help him earn an income and reach his goals, JRS provided training so that he could become a peer counselor and provide for his family. 



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Kenya: An Oasis at the Margins

Kakuma, 17 September 2018 – Education remains out of reach for many girls around the world. In Kakuma and other refugee camps, girls continue to face difficulties when it comes to accessing education. They are the first to be kept out of school to help with family chores, such as collecting water and childcare. In cases where a girl is the head of the household, she will receive the food token from camp staff so that she can queue for her family’s food, making it impossible for her to go to class. Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) tackles these issues through a variety of interventions.


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JRS/USA Expresses Disappointment in Historically Low Resettlement Goal
Washington, 17 September 2018 - JRS/USA expresses deep disappointment in the Administration’s recent announcement that it has set a level of 30,000 for the annual Presidential Determination for Refugee Admissions in Fiscal Year 2019. 


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Lebanon: A Teacher's Love

Lebanon, 12 September 2018 — Aida and Hanna are proud Kindergarten teachers at the Frans van der Lugt Centre in Lebanon. The Centre is a safe haven for the children and provides peace of mind to their families. Since 2014, the Centre has carried forward Fr. van der Lugt’s legacy by serving the Syrian refugee population. The  teachers and staff conduct home visits and provide a variety of services to refugee youth including homework support, language instruction, and provide a summer program.



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NYC Event: Interfaith Panel on Implementing the Global Compact on Refugees from a Faith Perspective

New York City 12 September 2018 - JRS/USA is thrilled to invite our friends and supporters in New York to a panel featuring JRS/USA Excutive Director, Joan Rosenhauer, hosted by Catholic Relief Services. The panel will discuss recommendations for donors, policy makers, and host countries on how to implement the GCR with best practices, faith perspective, and new evidence in mind.


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South Sudan: A Single Mother's Determination to Empower the Next Generation

South Sudan, 11 September 2018 — Yomima is a single mother determined to achieve greatness and encourage the younger generations to come by empowering them through education. She has begun this journey through her JRS scholarship and by attending the Catholic University of South Sudan.


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Recent stories
Syria: The Fight for a Childhood and Education

Syria, 10 September 2018 — Nine-year old Ahmed Bazar lives with his mother and two siblings in a poorly ventilated, one room store. Three years ago, the family was displaced from Shabaa due to the war. They now live in Damascus and he attends the JRS Centre, where enjoys his reading classes, but unfortunately majority of his time is spent working to support his family instead of attending school.


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Malawi: Breaking Down Barriers and Opening Doors for People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C. 6 September 2018 — Disability services at Dzaleka Refugee Camp are limited, but Higher Education at the Margins (HEM) alumnus Fidel Musiri is working to fill the gap. In 2011, Fidel was one of the first community members to graduate with a certificate from HEM, an on-site tertiary learning institute jointly implemented by Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL). After graduating from the eight-month Community Service Learning Track (CSLT) in Special Needs, Fidel founded the Umoja People with Disabilities Project and the Respite Care Center, two organizations working toward the betterment of lives for people with disabilities in Dzaleka and its surrounding villages.


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Education for Refugee Girls

Washington, D.C. 4 September 2018 — Refugee women and girls are amongst the most vulnerable of migrants and displaced individuals around the world. Keeping refugee girls in school will not only keep them healthy, safe, and offer them the opportunity for a better life, but it will also have many benefits for societal development.


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Chad: Promoting Girls Education Through Theater

Chad, 3 September 2018 — “Our society thinks that daughters are only for reproduction, for taking care of the children at home and for looking after the household. This view demotes women, their image and their role in society” says Nafisa, a librarian at the Jesuit Refugee Service Youth Center in Amnabak Refugee Camp. In the Toulom and Am Nabak refugee camps in eastern Chad, JRS is working to prevent child marriage and increase access to education for girls. 


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Education for the Most Vulnerable: Reflections on Refugee Education for the Start of a New School Year

Washington 28 August 2018 - Many children in the U.S. headed back to school this week - filling their unused back packs with fresh pencils and notebooks, taking a reluctant first-day photo, and heading in to a new classroom filled with opportunity. At this time of year, as we feel the excitement of a new academic year and the start of endless opportunities, it is important to reflect on the importance of education to all people, especially the most vulnerable in our world - displaced people. Check out our Publication, Education for the Most Vulnerable, filled with stories and resources from our encounters with refugees and experience providing education to refugees around the world.


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New Toolkit: Start a JRS Action Team Today
Washington 28 August 2018 - The start of a new school year is a great time to organize your community, school, or campus to help refugees. Check out JRS/USA's new Action Team Toolkit to get started.
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For Those Seeking Empowerment in Classrooms, Education Cannot Wait in Chad

Iriba, 27 August 2018 – Ensuring that the most vulnerable have access to education is critical in response to crisis and conflict. Launched in 2016 to address this challenge, Education Cannot Wait is a joint effort from governments, humanitarian actors, and development efforts to deliver a more collaborative and rapid response to the educational needs of children and youth affected by crises.


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Uganda: Without Education Society is Built on Sand

Adjumani, 23 August 2018 - A few years ago, there were no secondary schools for refugees in Pagirinya and, although Uganda’s progressive refugee regime allows refugee children to attend any school anywhere in the country, most refugee parents could not afford the tuition fees. learn more about what the community did to respond, and how it helped one student, in particular. 


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Lebanon: JRS Offers Hope Through Education

(Beirut) 22 August 2018 — Gharam is a 14-year-old girl who fled to Lebanon from Syria with her family to escape her country’s longstanding civil war. She longs to one day return home. But in the meantime, a Jesuit Refugee Service school she attends in her host country has been a welcoming oasis in an otherwise turbulent world.


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Education for the Most Vulnerable: #EducateRefugees

Washington, D.C. 21 August 2018 — In August and September, children across the United States fill unused back packs with new pencils and notebooks, take a reluctant first-day photo, and head back to school. During this time, as we feel the excitement of a new academic year and the start of endless opportunities, it is important to reflect on the importance of education to all people, especially the most vulnerable in our world - displaced people.


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Multimedia Lampedusa Concert Series Way of the Cross



JRS/USA 2017 Annual Report




Protecting the Promise of a Generation: Education for Refugees and Forcibly Displaced




Walk a Mile in My Shoes: How to Host a Refugee Experience