Thank you for walking with refugees and forcibly displaced people this Advent. This Advent Calendar suggests some ways you and your school can support JRS UK in our mission to accompany, serve, and advocate for and alongside refugees.
Together is JRS UK’s quarterly postal newsletter. Four times a year, we share reflections from refugee friends, updates from the JRS team, and commentary on developments in the sector. It’s a great way to learn about what’s going on in the world and some of the way in which people are responding to social justice issues.
Christmas can be a lonely time for many of the people that JRS UK accompanies. By joining our Christmas Card appeal, you can bring a little hope and comfort to someone this holiday season.
Today, many people have no choice but to leave their homes, and on these journeys are treated without respect or human dignity. These journeys are dangerous, and many people feel alone.
When people seeking safety arrive in the UK, they are met with suspicion and distrust. This is not what an asylum system should be. JRS UK is advocating for a humane, person-centred asylum system. Join us in praying that people may open their hearts to those they do not know, and that our asylum system can be focussed on protection and not simply immigration control.
In addition to our postal newsletters, we also send out e-Updates every two weeks. Sign up to receive up-to-date news on what’s going on at JRS UK and in the wider sector. It’s a great way of keeping your discussions of refugee and migration issues relevant in class.
Many of the people that JRS UK serves do not have any safe, warm spaces to go during the day. Read more about how JRS UK’s social drop-in creates a space of welcome and community.
We’re always in need of items such as food, clothes, and toiletries. Visit our Current Needs page and pick an item, and organise a donation drive at school – this could take place at a Christmas fair, a parents evening, or you could set up a drop-off point somewhere in the school.
The JRS UK Advent Service is a highlight of the JRS year. Come along to see refugee friends perform their own poetry and drama pieces, as well as for a reception of hot chocolate and mince pies afterwards!
The refugee friends we accompany are immensely talented and want to contribute. However, because of our laws, they cannot work. Easton is a JRS UK refugee friend. Read his poem about waiting to receive refugee status in Together Winter 2023, the latest edition of our postal newsletter.
Send a Refugee Gift to someone this Christmas! Refugee Gifts are a great way to send a card to a loved one of yours, but also to donate to a good cause.
Many people around the world are ‘involuntarily immobile’ – that is, they are trapped in conflict or places of persecution, and though they want to leave and search for safety, they are unable to do so. We pray for peace around the world, and for those who cannot search for refuge at this time.
Yesterday, 10th December, was the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Finding a decent meal is hard when you are homeless or living in a hostel. Even for refugee friends who have accommodation, they may be asked to leave during the day or not have access to a kitchen. JRS UK’s social drop-in is a place where refugee friends can come and have a hot meal. Discuss as a class: why is a hot meal important?
Speaking of difficult accommodation…
Many of our refugee friends will encounter homelessness in one form or another. We have a house for female refugee friends – Emilie House – and we are about to open a home for male refugee friends – Amani House. Read more about the project and donate some much needed items!
Discuss with your class: why might having a home – and not just a house – be important?
The JRS UK Hardship Fund provides financial support to refugee friends, many of whom will not receive any support elsewhere. This money is used to buy food, pay for travel, and acquire basic necessities.
Discuss with your class: how much do you spend every two weeks? Would £15 cover it?
In Together Winter 2023, Jemima, Grants Officer, discusses the impact the Hardship Fund has for our refugee friends.
Tonight is the JRS UK Advent Service! Join us in person or online.
We asked you to think previously about the difference between a house and home. What did you come up with?
Another way that JRS UK provides accommodation support is through our At Home Hosting Scheme. The scheme provides emergency short-term placements with anyone who has a spare room – families, churches, and communities. Having somewhere safe to stay provides much needed respite from living somewhere precarious, and also helps people to have the headspace to focus on their refugee claim.
The Jesuit Young Adult Ministry has a house where some young people live in community. They have been involved in the hosting program for a while. Read more about their experiences, and tell others about the At Home Hosting Scheme!
The journey to seek refuge and safety can be dangerous for many. The lack of safe, accessible routes contributes to the danger that people face. Pray for everyone looking for a place to be safe and secure, and that we may be a society that creates routes for those that have to move.
Caritas Westminster have published an innovative report that records the voices of 57 people who are seeking sanctuary in the UK. The listening exercise puts a spotlight on the voices of migrants and refugees.
Still looking for a last minute Christmas gift? Order a copy of Home is a feeling not a place, a book of poetry by refugee friends.
Immigration detention is a prison-like setting, ostensibly for immigration control. The effects of detention on mental and physical health are greatly concerning. Learn more about detention and discuss as a class.
Have you already made your donation to the Advent Appeal? Why not get others involved?
Did you know that JRS works in over 50 countries around the world? Please keep the work of all JRS offices in your prayers.
Thank you for praying for our international work. The work that we do in each country depends on the needs not being met there. In some parts of the world we work in refugee camps, and in others urban settings.
As we prepare for Christmas, we remember Mary and Joseph for looking for somewhere to stay Christmas night. We also remember the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt shortly after Jesus’s birth.
Jesus himself was a refugee.
Tonight, we pray for all refugees and forcibly displaced people around the world.
Thank you for walking with us this Advent. Read this year’s JRS UK Christmas Message, written by Abdul, a refugee friend.
In this month of blessing and rejoicing, I would like to express my gratitude towards JRS UK for its extensive support towards refugees in various dimensions.
They have provided me and others with personal well-being services such as acupuncture therapy, yoga and gym venues, as well as legal assistance through immigration awareness training programs. They’ve also provided accommodation through their At Home hosting scheme and recreational activities in the outdoors and visits to London’s famous landmarks.
I’ve particularly enjoyed JRS UK’s local area conservation initiative, as being involved in cleaning the local area alongside the local community has helped me feel connected on a deeper level.
Since joining JRS UK, I’ve noticed that determination and evolution are the focal points. JRS UK has undergone a rapid metamorphic process and is no longer a caterpillar, but a butterfly now – a winged phenomenon that knows no bounds and has the determination to reach great heights.
Thank you very much JRS UK for your continued support and Merry Christmas everyone.