South Africa: JRS Staff Reflect on Mission and Values
25 July 2018

Fr. Rampe Kholo SJ shares his perspectives on the JRS Mission and values.

Johannesburg, 25 July 2018--Fr. Rampe Hlobo, SJ joined the Jesuit Refugee Service South Africa staff to guide us in a workshop on JRS’ mission and values. Together we reflected on the three core values of JRS’ work in over 50 countries: Accompany, Serve, and Advocate. Fr. Hlobo drew connections between these values saying, “the three are interlinked and intertwined. You cannot have one without the others.”

When asked to reflect on the meaning of the mission to each of us personally, many staff members shared their thoughts. Mr. Lekgotla Mosebi, JRS Reception and Intake Officer, shared about his experience responding to victims of xenophobic attacks in 2006 and then added “it means a lot to me for them to be a part of South Africa”. Other participants expressed their sense of responsibility to accompany, serve and advocate for refugees and asylum seekers. Kiara Soobryan, JRS Monitoring & Evaluation intern, emphasized “our generation has the responsibility to carry on the work of those before us and to welcome anyone who comes to South Africa”.

The mission and values of JRS are woven into the work we do at JRS South Africa. Through our health visits, we meet refugees and asylum seekers in their homes, caring for them and assisting them with their medical needs. Through education assistance, we are serving clients and empowering them to thrive. Beyond our JRS mission, Fr. Hlobo challenged participants to think globally and act locally, framing our work in the context of JRS as a part of the Catholic Church, guided by Catholic Social Teaching. Human dignity and solidarity were two of the major themes highlighted. In offering vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers livelihood training and materials, not only are we providing tools for financial self-reliance, we are acknowledging their dignity, empowering them, and restoring hope.

We take seriously the mission of JRS, to accompany, to serve, and to advocate. There is always room for self-reflection and growth. As Fr. Mark Raper, SJ wrote in Everybody’s Challenge, “Accompaniment is an essential element of both our mission and our methodology… That a free person chooses willingly and faithfully to accompany those who are not free, who had no choice about being there, is itself a sign, a way of eliciting hope”.

Sarah Garwood

Intern Advocacy & Communications Officer, JRS South Africa

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