ASIA/NEPAL - The commitment of the Jesuit Refugee Service: Helping refugees build their future through education

Thursday, 21 February 2019 human rights   education   jesuits   refugees  

Kathmandu (Agenzia Fides) - Jesuits in Nepal help refugees build their future through education and social development. "I have benefited from rigorous education. It helped me find many new opportunities", says to Fides Indra Acharya, a former student, who was able to study thanks to Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS). A daughter of Bhutanese refugees who grew up in a refugee camp in Nepal, spent more than half her life in a structure surrounded by fences. JRS Nepal manages a variety of education, teacher training, counseling and guidance programs for young people and the disabled, nursery schools and professional training courses for over 50,000 refugees.
At the beginning of the 1990s, Acharya's parents were among the approximately 100,000 Nepalese people expelled from southern Bhutan as part of the government's "One nation, one people" policy. After losing the land, her parents fled to a refugee camp in Nepal where they spent about twenty years of their lives and had Acharya.
Acharya and her family experienced difficult living conditions as refugees. "There was a shortage of food and the camp was overcrowded", says Acharya. Her father died while in was in the refugee camp due to the lack of medical care. Acharya reports that she survived because she was studying in a school run by JRS. Acharya continued to study and after a few years, she went to the United States with her mother in 2012. She continued her studies and obtained a scholarship from Georgetown University in 2014. Many years later, Acharya did not forget the important lessons of life that the Jesuits taught her at the JRS school in Nepal. "It was not just about learning, it was the special attention and care for each person", she told Fides. "This service to the person - they note at JRS - is an evangelical work, in which the Christian faith is witnessed".
Today, the US government has drastically reduced the refugee resettlement program. Approximately 54,000 refugees were admitted to the United States in 2017, they were almost 85,000 in 2016. In 2019 the refugee admission limit has been reduced to 30,000. Acharya says. "It is necessary first of all to change people's hearts, in order to change politics". (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 21/2/2109)