Support for internally displaced people in Syria
Canadian Jesuits International supports the work of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) among internally displaced people in Syria. Since the conflict in Syria conflict began in 2011, JRS teams have worked primarily in the Syrian cities of Aleppo, Damascus and Homs. 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 support and (4) educational programs.
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.
In addition to the delivery of aid to internally displaced people, 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.
Two of the larger JRS programs that CJI has supported in Syria are the Field Kitchen in Aleppo, which at its peak served up to 17,000 meals a day, and Emergency Support for health and psychosocial needs in Damascus and Aleppo, where clinics, referrals, therapy groups, family assessments, hygiene kits and more are provided.
JRS teams also work in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey providing emergency assistance and educational and psychosocial support to Syrian refugee communities.
JRS Regional Director for the Middle East: Fr Nawras Sammour SJ