Easter – What does it mean to you?
As we approach Easter, we are called to see Jesus in those who are struggling and suffering in our communities and to show others our love and compassion.
Easter reminds us that Jesus was a human, just like you and me. He was tortured without mercy; he sacrificed himself for us. Lent invites us to open our hearts and support our sisters and brothers who are facing hardship today.
At JRS, we witness suffering on a daily basis. We also witness incredible resilience. Amongst some of the most confronting issues that JRS team members encounter are those of children, women and men who have been evacuated from Nauru and Manus Island for medical reasons and are now in Australia in a situation of limbo.
Our clients continue experiencing extreme hopelessness and despair, often culminating in a wish to end the pain, and their lives, forever. Some women have faced gender-based violence, children have missed out on critical schooling and have personally experienced war, conflict and persecution. Some families were separated, and many people experienced life-threatening health issues in a place that was ill-equipped to treat them.
The suffering of our sisters and brothers…
Devin, his wife Eshani and their young daughter Amandi spent 4 years and a half in Nauru. It was a shocking experience for them that has marked their lives. They were fleeing war and seeking a safe place to call home and a better future for their family. Instead, they were locked on a remote island without knowing what would happen to them. They endured hardship on the island; they were bitten by dengue mosquitoes and had limited access to food and medical health assistance. Eventually Amandi caught an infection that paralysed her left leg. Both Devin and Eshani feared that the infection would spread throughout Amandi’s body. After a long process, they were finally transferred to Australia.
JRS Australia works with people like Devin, Eshani and Amandi; individuals and families who were evacuated from Manus Island and Nauru. For some, JRS provides lifesaving emergency relief when government payments are cut. We ensure they still have a roof over their head. For others, JRS provides casework support, facilitates access to healthcare; arranges children’s services, and provides support to access the labour market. For most people, JRS embodies accompaniment, and walking with people, listening to their stories, visiting them in their homes so they can rebuild their lives in safety when they are ready. We also learn from their incredible resilience.
With the generous support of people like you, JRS fulfills its mission to accompany, serve, and advocate for the rights of refugees, people seeking asylum and other forcibly displaced people by providing a holistic program of specialist casework, emergency assistance, community activities, legal clinics, foodbank, English classes, an employment program, a women’s program, workshops and drop-in services at JRS’ community centre space in Western Sydney. We also accompany those who are held at detention facilities in Australia and those who have been in detention in the past. JRS undertakes research, policy and advocacy work with and on behalf of refugees and people seeking asylum in order to influence government policy and effect systemic change.
We rely on our supporters’ generosity to enable us to respond immediately and effectively to vulnerable people in need of urgent assistance. Without the generosity of people like you, our work would not be possible.
This Easter, JRS Australia calls on our friends and supporters to transform faith into action and show compassion to those who are facing extremely challenging circumstances.
Your generosity will provide hope to children, women and men who are mistreated and live in destitution in our community. Today you can help others to live meaningful and dignified lives.
Together, we can build a more just world in which fundamental rights, respect and dignity are guaranteed to all.
On behalf of JRS Australia team and the people we serve, we thank you for joining in our mission.
Happy Easter to you and your loved ones.
Director, JRS Australia
*Names changed to protect their identity