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Father General visits Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)

jrs6On 5th May, 2017, Fr. General visited the Jesuit Refugee Service Offices in Nairobi. On arrival, he was received by the JRS Eastern Africa Regional Director, Fr. Endashaw Debrework, SJ, and welcomed by song and dance by refugees from South Sudan. Among those in attendance were JRS staff and refugees from Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi.

After entertainment from the various refugee groups, a brief introduction on the works of JRS in Eastern Africa was given by Fr. Endashaw who stated that JRS manages 5 countries in the Eastern Africa region with more than 8 million refugees and over 4.3 million internally displaced people. He reiterated that the JRS Mission in Eastern Africa is education. "We believe that education can empower and restore the dignity and the hope of our brothers and sisters who have found themselves outside their country." He spoke about Kakuma refugee camp in Northern Kenya, with more than 200,000 refugees, as well as camps in Daadab in North Eastern Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

In his remarks, Fr. General said that he came to Africa to learn and to also confirm the commitment of the Society of Jesus with JRS and the refugees. "The commitment of the Society of Jesus is reinforced and confirmed. The last Congregation talked about reconciliation and the only way we can rebuild our societies, countries and families is to reach the real reconciliation among us and others. I encourage you and know that we are going to help as far as we can and we hope that the seed of education [provided by JRS] will help everybody."

On their part, one of the representatives stated that they were happy that Fr. General had visited them and thanked him for all the support that he is giving them through JRS. He was then presented with a gift from all the refugees supported by JRS. Thereafter, Fr. General left for St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Kangemi.

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