Building a life with Refugees
The life of a refugee can be very unsettling – never fully knowing where you will end up or what country you will be able to call home. Michael Smith SJ from New Zealand is an International Education Officer with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Rome. He is a representative for 184,000 students around the world from preschool education to adult education, and teacher training. Refugees are often highly educated and he works to help organise a system where they can educate others, noting in particular the benefit of education for psycho-social health. He says that his main role is to create an “ordinary life” for refugees.
The New Zealander was struck by a comment from a person who works for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who said: “When the money runs out, the Jesuit Refugee Service stays”. He was also struck by the strong financial support from Irish Jesuit Missions and the Irish people.
Here he talks with Pat Coyle about his work.