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.





South Sudan: investing in peace
(Maban) July 29, 2015 — Education ensures younger generations gain the knowledge they need, and also instills a sense of normalcy for children and hope for their communities. This is especially true in South Sudan, where less than half of children are in school and illiteracy rates are among the highest in the world.
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Lebanon: Syrian refugee children counting on school
(Beirut) July 22, 2015 — Four hundred thousand Syrian refugee children are out of school in Lebanon. Transport costs, difficulty registering, discrimination in the Lebanese system, and the need for children to work to help pay the family bills, all combine to keep many children locked out of education.
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Thailand: helping survivors of sexual violence
(Bangkok) July 16, 2015 — As part of its Urban Refugee Project in Bangkok, Jesuit Refugee Service offers group counseling sessions for Somali and Pakistani women and unaccompanied girls. The refugee women are almost all survivors of sexual violence, and are at risk for re-victimization in their vulnerable circumstances.
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Syrian refugees face food cuts in Jordan, Lebanon
(Rome) July 15, 2015 — Cuts to food aid programs in the Middle East could force Syrian refugees in the Middle East to make "terrible choices," says Jesuit Refugee Service International Director Fr. Peter Balleis S.J. "The situation of the urban refugees is critical," added Fr. Bernard Hyacinth Arputhasamy S.J., Director of JRS Jordan. "Resources and services outside the refugee camps have been exhausted."
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Entrepreneurial refugee in Kenya teaches computer skills
(Nairobi) July 14, 2015 — "I was helped to get where I am so I feel also very good when others benefit from my knowledge," says Pierre Muhire, a Rwandan refugee now running a computer college in Kenya. Mr. Muhire studied information technology and computer repair on a scholarship provided by Jesuit Refugee Service.
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Spotlight on legal challenges facing asylum seekers
(Washington, D.C.) July 13, 2015 — In recent years, an increasing number of Central Americans have migrated north to the United States, reaching peak numbers in the summer of 2014. Of particular concern has been the increase in the number of unaccompanied and separated migrant children from the Northern Triangle of Central America — Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
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South Africa: shining a light in xenophobia's darkness
(Johannesburg) July 6, 2015 — If it were not for ignorance, Qamar and Ali's home and business would still be standing today. Ignorance to what these two men — and others seeking refuge within South Africa — went through led people to loot and ransack their shops. This ignorance strips us of our empathy and allows myths regarding migrants to persist.
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Chad: Darfur refugees find hope in education
(Washington, D.C.) June 29, 2015 — In Djabal refugee camp, just outside the town of Goz Beida in eastern Chad, Jesuit Refugee Service is expanding our partnership with Jesuit Commons Higher Education at the Margins and has started a new program in the camp that will eventually offer an online, university-level diploma program.
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Legal challenges facing Central American asylum seekers
(Washington, D.C.) June 16, 2015 — In recognition of World Refugee Day, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and 13 Jesuit law schools announce A Fair Chance for Due Process: Challenges in Legal Protection for Central American Asylum Seekers and Other Vulnerable Migrants. The report highlights Jesuit law school efforts to assist Central Americans in need, and challenges faced in delivering these services.
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World Refugee Day: push forward, not back
(Rome) June 15, 2015 — For World Refugee Day this weekend, Jesuit Refugee Service urges you to remember that the key to change is within each of us. While governments decide to accept or reject refugees, only we have the power to truly welcome them. We must change our fixed view of refugees as ‘the other.’
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Recent stories
Uganda: early childhood education encourages integration
(Kampala) June 11, 2015 — Despite the importance of early education to their cognitive, social and emotional development, extreme poverty and discrimination hinders the full development of millions of children. This is especially true for refugee children. The reality is, when made accessible, early education can work wonders.
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Spotlight on refugee protection issues in Kenya
(Nairobi) June 8, 2015 — Amina, a 23 year old refugee, was taking care of her cousins in Nairobi when in the middle of the night police forcibly entered the apartment without a warrant. Still in their pajamas, Amina, her friend and two young children were forced into a truck with 66 other refugees, as well as Somali-Kenyans. Those who resisted — including a 12-year-old — were beaten with batons.
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Praying with Refugees: education enables self-sufficiency
(Washington, D.C.) June 2, 2015 — "Education is a key in combating the evil of hatred, violence and war," says JRS International Director Fr Peter Balleis S.J. “It is important to get (displaced and refugee) children into school. It is important to keep learning, it is a form of healing in the midst of conflict."
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Jordan: finding leadership and purpose in education
(Amman) May 26, 2015 — Ismail, a refugee from Sudan now living in Jordan, shares with us his story. Ismail writes that after enrolling in a Jesuit Refugee Service education program, he rediscovered hope. “I feel as if this opportunity has saved my life,” he says, “life has many opportunities in store.”
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Seeds of peace at crossroads of displacement
(Maban, South Sudan) May 20, 2015 — "Today in Maban many different ethnic groups work together, stay together, eat together and play together to develop our community. We are one nation, the same people, so let us be together," said Awad, a community leader in this border county with Sudan.
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Asia Pacific: Rohingya adrift in dire straits
(Bangkok) May 19, 2015 – For decades, countries in the Asia Pacific region have closed their borders to Rohingya migrants, leaving little space for protection. Jesuit Refugee Service is deeply concerned with the rapidly deteriorating situation the Rohingya are facing in the region and calls for urgent regional cooperation to find a life-saving and permanent solution.
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Video: Education is hope for refugees
(Washington, D.C.) May 18, 2015 — Access to schools and quality education is an urgent priority for all refugee children and youth. Education is the key to a better the future for refugees whatever form that future might take. Education provides a sense of stability, dignity and hope for the future both for refugee children and their families. In this short video, refugees in Chad and Ethiopia share their hopes.
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Syria: interfaith family volunteers in Aleppo
(Brussels) May 8, 2015 — Before the war in Syria, Jesuit Refugee Service served Iraqi refugees in Aleppo, Damascus and Homs. The JRS centers were places where people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds came together. While Syrian communities of different faiths peacefully coexisted, for many there was a sense of distance between them. When violence erupted in Syria in 2011, these JRS centers would experience profound transformations.
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Streamlining child protection in Eastern Africa
(Nairobi) May 6, 2015 — Ayaan is the top student in her class. Born to Somali refugees in Nairobi, she hopes to be a surgeon one day. However, for months last year she had to suspend her studies after being intimidated, threatened and beaten by young men in her community.
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Praying with refugees in South Africa: why Catholics should be concerned about xenophobia
(Johannesburg) May 4, 2015 — It is now three months since a wave of looting of migrant-run shops began in Johannesburg and other parts of the country. The violence culminated two weeks ago in Durban leaving five people dead, many more injured and an estimated 2,500 people displaced and reliant on churches, mosques and the city for survival.
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Detention Chaplaincy program Migration & Asylum in the U.S. Multimedia stories of refugees Campus & Parish Outreach The Refugee Voice newsletter Spotlight on the Issues Refugee & Staff Reflections Recommended Reading What We Do Way of the Cross



A Fair Chance for Due Process: Challenges in Legal Protection for Central American Asylum Seekers and Other Vulnerable Migrants




2014 Annual Report




Seeking asylum




Bhutanese Refugee Education Program




Servir No. 59




Syria cries for peace




Advocating for the Rights of Unaccompanied Children