World Refugee Day

A nuanced view of the refugee crisis.

World Refugee Day
Photo by Kristóf Hölvényi

Here, a refugee man stands at the Serbian border. There are now more displaced people on the planet than there have been since the Second World War. One of the organizations that helps hundreds of thousands of refugees is Jesuit Refugee Service, directed by Thomas Smolich, S.J., M.Div. ’86. “We have had the misperception that the typical refugee leaves home and she is able to go back six months later—when the political situation has calmed down or, in the case of natural disaster, that recovery has begun,” he says. “But now people are living in these situations for an average of 17 years.” Those protracted situations mean that not only food, clothing, and shelter are essential—so is education. And education of children is some of the work that JRS continues to do—including inside Syria. “How do you make sure children don’t fall through the net? How do you give people training to succeed?”

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