Be Mindful, Be Grateful, Be Kind.


Be Mindful, Be Grateful, Be Kind.

Loddan takes a moment to celebrate and reflect on the pursuit of happiness.

20 March 2024

Be Mindful, Be Grateful, Be Kind.

World Happiness Day, celebrated on the 20th of March every year, reminds us that happiness can be found even in the most unexpected places.

I have the privilege of working closely with refugee friends from diverse backgrounds. The incredible power of finding joy amidst adversity, and the human spirit’s ability to thrive, even in the face of unimaginable challenges.

Gratitude and kindness

In December, I went with refugee friends and colleagues to a Christmas party at Bacon’s College, a school just across the water from us in Rotherhithe. We were there alongside students to participate in offering hospitality to elderly people from Age UK and the local area.

Read more about refugee friends volunteering at Bacon’s College

One refugee friend said, “I really enjoyed the event, serving the older people, and I observed they were very happy as well because they had a change from their daily routine. The party was a creative way to bring people together – we need this in our society. We all move so fast past each other.”

“The goodwill of the passion, you know, the love to help others make others feel happy, you know in any – in any possible way.” shared another.

The thought of giving to others and seeing a smile on their face through community and serving is also a joy brought back to you.

Social drop-in

Over the last couple of months, I have dropped in on a few social-drop in sessions, where we all gather around to enjoy a warm hot meal and great conversations.

“There are instances where we meet every Tuesday. Tuesday’s, we come we have a chat, have some fresh hot food, music at the background.” Shares a refugee friend. The great food isn’t the only thing that warms people’s hearts – the conversations and laughter are what truly bless the experience. No matter where people are on their journey, having this dedicated time to sit, eat and share, offers respite within a warm community.

The JRS Shop

Encounters in the JRS Shop, sitting down and conversing with friends, are where my heart filled the most.  Accompaniment (which underpins all of JRS’ work) is so important. There are instances where we cannot make much difference, but even small acts of kindness, like sitting down over a cup of tea, can make a difference and lets someone know they matter and are cared for.

Samuel, a refugee friend, said to me, “Not that they [JRS UK] are doing anything like a miracle, but that basic support, care, and daily communication with the Asylum Seekers… We are not just like numbers, you know, just like a graph, but actual people who feel. Even bringing me here makes me feel relevant to this Society. It’s not like just you are passing through you know. So, we are very grateful to JRS for being a human-faced organisation. We are very happy.”

Hearing those words just showcases how far supporting, advocating, and serving refugee friends really goes. And at the end of the day, these are the small wins that are as important as the big ones.

ESOL classes (English for speakers of other languages)

Lastly, I leave you with some personal letters written by refugee friends who were asked ‘what makes you happy’ in their ESOL class held here at the centre.

Their answers are a great reminder that happiness isn’t necessarily found in material possessions or grand gestures, but rather in the connections we build and the moments we cherish.

“Seeing my daughter enjoy school”.

“being encouraged by my fellow migrants who are facing the same situation and not giving up getting my residence even though I am tired.”

“If I eat good food, I am happy.”, “if I meet good people I am so happy”

“What makes me ‘happy’ is being able to provide for my family and loved ones and putting a smile on their faces.”

“When I have good news. When I have a new baby. When I travel[ling].”






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

020 7488 7310

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