Support for internally displaced people in Syria
Canadian Jesuits International supports the work of Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) among internally displaced people in Syria. JRS teams work in the Syrian cities of Damascus, Homs and Aleppo. They provide some of the most vulnerable civilians with emergency humanitarian assistance including: (1) food and other material necessities, (2) basic healthcare services, (3) psychosocial and educational programs, and (4) rent support.
Very few international aid agencies have access to Syria, but JRS has been present in the country since 2008, when it started programs for Iraqi refugees. Now JRS is able to help displaced Syrians thanks to the presence of local Jesuits and to an extensive network of committed volunteers who come from different faith backgrounds. Working in cooperation with Jesuit networks, and with Muslim, other Christian and secular groups, JRS teams try to provide Syrian civilians with the essentials they need; however, this assistance is not sufficient to meet the growing needs.
Since 2014, 1.5 million people have been internally displaced in neighbouring Iraq, following the expansion of ISIS. In Ankawa and Ozal, JRS serves displaced families through home visits, psychosocial support and education. JRS teams are working with Yazidis, Muslim and Christian Iraqis who are seeking safety in and around Erbil, in northern Iraq.
In total, JRS serves more than 490,000 people in Syria and Iraq.
In addition to the delivery of aid to refugees, JRS has a distinct way of working with people, building relationships based on trust. Accompaniment, which is one of the pillars of JRS’ work, is embodied in repeated family visits. Through these visits, JRS teams identify and address the families’ most urgent needs.
JRS teams also work in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey providing emergency assistance and educational and psychosocial support to various refugee and internally displaced communities.