My experience with JRS UK

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My experience with JRS UK

JRS UK benefits from the help of volunteers from different countries and backgrounds

25 September 2015

My experience with JRS UK
My name is Tomislav. I am from Croatia. I worked with JRS UK at the Hurtado Centre for one month and a half. I will say something about some activities and my experience with that. When I look all together, it was good experience.
On Thursday at the Day Centre, the atmosphere is very good. Meeting with staff or volunteers is a possibility for refugees to share their problems and receive help, especially on Thursday. I saw that in a lot of cases. JRS UK welcomes people from different country, nationality and race, but when they come to Hurtado Centre, they talk among themselves, and I am sure they have good relationship out of Centre too. That helps to them go across problems and makes a possibility to meet and understand other, their differences are good and not like enemy.

I talk with refugees. With some of them it was easier, with some not too much. I saw they do not like personal questions. First meeting with them, for me it was not possible talk more then 15-20 minutes. Second meeting, it usually was much better. I was surprised with that, because of first meeting. Another thing that I saw is that if a refugee is from a country nearby my own country, they have different reactions. Some of them always escaped from my presence. I am quite sure one reason for that was shame, because in that moment he or she know that I know their situation. It is like showing something bad in front of somebody who is your family or friends and person have bad feelings. For others of them, it is something nice, they feel more at home and they do not have problem because I know their situation. They are coming to us only for good reason. They want make clean situation with their state back home and that is all. I think that with JRS it works well.

Visiting the Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre, I saw that refugees are there and that it is almost like a prison. They accept us but as they also saw that we could not help them too much, then we are for them somebody who can talk with them help the time in detention go faster. In that moment, it is possible that we have meeting between us. That is good.

Bike school, the cycling training offered here is something that is an excellent thing for refugees, especial for women. Because of the different cultures and religions and social situations, they could not learn to ride a bike. It is a small thing, but it gives them a lot of joy. That is perfect.

We also do birthday presents for the children. Here I discovered one thing not too much good. When I received the lists with names of children, I found it challenging to sort out, to make sure every name was the right name. I know that is not easy, because people do not like to talk on their first visit too much about themself, but later maybe are willing to be more accurate. I know that you who are every day here, and that you know every person but when some new volunteer comes and meets them again for the first time, that is not so simple. So, we now have a new system of organizing gifts by the month of the birthdays. How find the right gift is now so much easier and how prepare a good choice of gifts it also easier!

The atmosphere between staff and volunteers is very good here, that is important. Thank you!


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Jesuit Refugee Service UK
The Hurtado Jesuit Centre
2 Chandler Street, London E1W 2QT

020 7488 7310
uk@jrs.net

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