Jesuit Refugee Service defines accompaniment as a direct and personal approach of individual interaction and cooperation with refugees which mutually empowers refugees and our personnel alike.
Accompaniment – the act of journeying with a person physically, emotionally and spiritually – is central to our work in Australia and in the Asia-Pacific region.
In accompanying the people we works with, JRS recognises and acknowledges their humanity, a collective human condition that is often overlooked in refugees by the people, institutions and policies they encounter as they progress on their journeys.
The companionship and personal attention provided by us helps to restore dignity to refugees and asylum seekers so that they are able to focus on their future and deal with the circumstances of their past in a more constructive and resolute way.
It also reinforces the solidarity that many people feel towards refugees, serving to both reassure them of broader support and to re-humanise them in the eyes of the often harsh public and media.
Finally, personalised, individual contact with refugees helps to inform our own work in advocating on their behalf because it removes stereotypes and caricatures and presents refugees instead as living, three-dimensional people with stories to tell.