At JRS Australia we serve a constantly shifting number of refugees and asylum seekers in both Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.
At any one time we might be providing pastoral care to 3,000 people in detention on Christmas Island and on the Australian mainland, shelter and emergency relief to people in Australia, financial support to thousands of refugees in border camps and migrant communities in countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, and research support for communities facing climate-change displacement in the Pacific.
Our commitment to high-level lobbying for the delivery of humane refugee policies remains consistent and is ongoing: Director Fr Aloysious Mowe SJ is a member of the Regional Cooperation Framework Consultative Group, established by Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and Associate Director Dr Maryanne Loughry RSM is a member of the Minister’s Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention (MCASD).
Sister Dorothy Bayliss shares stories from her time on Christmas Island where she worked with Asylum Seekers and Refugees. Video contains images that some viewers may find disturbing.
Pastoral care/social services
Building on our accompaniment ethos, JRS offers pastoral care to asylum seekers in the form of social, recreational, psychosocial, spiritual and community development programs.
We are often assisted in our pastoral care work by the Sisters of Mercy and we operate in detention centres on Christmas Island and the Australian mainland.
Pastoral care workers respond practically to the needs of asylum seekers, supplying them with basic goods such as pencils and paper, taking them on excursions, liaising with detention centre staff and holding prayer and communion services.
However, pastoral care workers most often find that they’re called on to simply provide emotional support for the people they work with, lending an ear, listening to their stories, sitting with them as they grieve their losses and reassuring them that they will endeavor to give them a voice.
Emergency relief assistance
Most of our emergency relief work takes place in Australia where it provides emergency accommodation for newly-arrived asylum seekers as well as long-term accommodation for people awaiting the outcome of their visa applications.
We also assist with necessary support in legal advice, employment applications, English classes, financial support for food and basic supplies and practical and moral support for people who are to be repatriated.
JRS also responds financially to refugee-related emergencies abroad, such as fires in refugee camps, famines and conflict-fueled exoduses.
Human rights protection
At JRS we work to protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers through the provision of legal assistance and individualised casework.
Our project coordinators and case managers serve as an important conduit between asylum seekers and the Australian legal and social systems, and help to clarify issues and ensure that each case is adequately assessed.