About Us

Who we are

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international, Catholic organisation with a mission to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. The organisation was founded in November 1980 as a work of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), Fr Pedro Arrupe, who was Father General at the time, was deeply moved by the plight of the Vietnamese boat people. JRS was born as a reponse to this crisis.

JRS now works in 56 countries, providing assistance to refugees in camps and cities; individuals displaced within their own countries; and to those held in detention centres. The main areas of work are in the field of education, emergency assistance, healthcare, livelihood activities and social services.

JRS was established in Malta back in 1993. It has advocated for improved protection and access to rights for asylum seekers and refugees ever since. We have offered legal assistance to asylum seekers in detention and in the community since 1999, and social work services since 2003.  Initially our social work service was focused on supporting vulnerable individuals and families, first in detention and, later, in the community.

From 2008, JRS started expanding its social work service to include a broader range of psychosocial services and support, such as: support to access medical care (since 2008), psychological support to individuals or groups of migrants (since 2010) and support to access employment (since 2016).

Today JRS operates a phone line providing information, basic integration support and assistance and advice on legal matters and integration-related issues. This initial contact is often followed by an in-person appointment with one of our professionals. We also visit the Initial Reception Centre (IRC), detention and open centres regularly, providing information and legal assistance to all new arrivals.

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