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سنة الابتداء الثالثة بين الوطن والمهجر

سنة الابتداء الثالثة بين الوطن والمهجر

نشاط غير معتاد في دير بكفيّا في نهاية الصيف. ثلاثة عشر مشتركًا تسجّلوا في برنامج ٢٠٢٣/٢٠٢٤ ويجب تجهيز البيت من جديد. نورس أنهى خدمته في بكفيا ويستعدّ للانطلاق نحو آفاق جديدة. صلاح يأتي إلى بكفيّا لينضمّ إلينا، تشارلي وأنا. ما عساها تكون هذه السنة؟ جماعة كبيرة وبيت متجدّد لا نعلم بعد كيف سنسكن فيه. نادر مستعدّ للمساعدة في المرافقة في الرياضة الكبيرة.

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Rebecca Daou, along with 24 other USJ students, took the course “The Jesuit Way of Doing” taught by Fady El Chidiac. In this course students foster their English language as they learn about the Jesuit way of creating NGOs, addressing political and social injustices, running educational institutions, helping individuals in making life choices, and developing villages. Students are asked to submit a final paper about a Jesuit figure or mission. Rebecca wrote an article about JRS, which we share with you below. Rebecca’s enthusiasm about the Jesuit way is shared by several students who are searching for ways to help them find their place in the world. The course is attended and enjoyed by Christians, Muslims, and atheists.

Life is fair since it is unfair for everyone. It is almost impossible to imagine a flawless world where everybody is equal and gets the same treatment. Life could be tougher for some people and less harsh for the fortunate. Reality is, there are displaced people everywhere who helplessly struggle on a daily basis. This is why we have NGOs which mission is to help as much people as possible. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is a renown Jesuit NGO which achieves its humanitarian service in a Jesuit way and guides people through the love of Christ.

Jesuits thrive through establishing programmes to help those who feel like the world lacks hope. Just like the Homeboy Industry which is a Jesuit network with rehabilitation and re-entry programmes helping previously involved gang members and former prisoners to stand up again and be a light in this world, there are Jesuit NGOs who help displaced people and make them feel worthy all over again.

Father Pedro Arrupe S.J. founded JRS in November 1980, following the Vietnam War in 1975 back when hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese fled their homes. There are about 27 000 Jesuits globally so they found it necessary to offer a humanitarian response. Jesuits wanted to try to bring a sense of relief to the refugees after the destructive tragedy. JRS is a home to refugees who feel homesick and miss the warm feeling of being home among their loved ones. 

Pope Francis has always called the world to welcome refugees with open arms, respect them and integrate them. So, the Jesuit Refugee Service works in 60 countries worldwide trying to accompany displaced people. This NGO relies on religious congregations, Jesuit network, foundations, and organizations to achieve their vocation. JRS believes that refugees have the right to access their most basic rights, this is why they try to include them in education and livelihood programmes. This helps in building strength within the refugees in order for them to stand up for what they believe in and create a better and prosper future for their communities. It is also a way to provide a sustainable life; a life with more consistency and stability.

JRS’s main focuses are mostly reconciliation, education and livelihood, advocacy, psychosocial support, health care, protection, and emergency assistance. It focuses on including refugees into normal life again. Refugees are often marginalized and do not have a voice. Usually, displaced people are not heard and are unfortunately banished from society. Nonetheless, it is primordial to remember that we are all humans. Circumstances and unfortunate life events are our only difference. Humanly wise, we are all one.

What makes this Jesuit NGO so special is that it achieves its mission in a Jesuit way. Jesuits are guided by the love of Christ and try to teach people to seek God in everything. The NGO makes sure to include de facto everyone no matter who they are, where they come from, and what their background is overall. JRS cares about diversity and includes all faiths and nationalities. It also roots for gender equality and treats refugees equally without any sort of discrimination. Ethics, Dignity, Solidarity and Hope are some of the qualities the NGO seeks at all times. With Hope, everything is possible. Jesuits teach us, the refugees, and everyone else that we walk not only by faith but through hope and grace as well. Blossoming, Hoping, Prospering and Rising are all a part of this renown Jesuit NGO’s mission.  

JRS is surely the light in the end of the tunnel, it is a sparkle of hope in the middle of the chaos. Seeing the NGO stand next to refugees in a Jesuit way could be a wakeup call for us as Lebanese people to move forward and set JRS as our ideal example of what compassion and empathy are. For instance, the NGO has helped over one million people and is still helping to this day. Today, JRS is helping Ukrainian refugees who are fleeing their country due to the Russia-Ukraine War.

It is not a secret that Lebanese people have empathy towards one another, but the country’s situation makes it worse to feel and have a good understanding of each other. We are so worried about the political, social and financial chaos taking over this country which is making us lack empathy towards one another. We are busy trying to stand up and not fall again but, in fact, we are hanging by a thread. This is a psychological problem that is not really talked about and it is absolutely necessary to shed the light on it. Once we heal what is on the inside, our surrounding starts to heal as well. As long as there is no peace within, there will not be any external peace at all

Here comes the refugees’ problem. Here, we often see people discriminating refugee camps and lacking empathy when it comes to different nationalities. It is true that we are known for hospitality, so why don’t we radiate the same energy when it comes to refugees? Perhaps, part of this issue could be understandable on a psychological level as we just mentioned above. The country’s state is declining day by day and some people feel like refugees are making it even harder to recover since we have been drowning for too long now. However, our issues in Lebanon have always been there, and we cannot only blame it on refugees. It is sad to see the discrimination and the lack of empathy towards innocent children refugees that do not have a saying in what is happening nor the slightest idea of what we are all collectively going through.

With that being said, we can do better by learning from the Jesuits to treat people equally and respectfully despite their background or story. May JRS be an inspiration to us.

JRS is a great example that shows that there are still good people in this world who are willing to help others flourish and be the best versions of themselves. The NGO teaches us to see people beyond their background and focus on who they really are on the inside. Refugees are normal people who did not have a choice in the war; fleeing was their only option. Then, why do we blame them? What if we were to flee our country one day? Wouldn’t we be overwhelmed by the amount of hatred and discrimination from citizens? We shall do better by treating people the way we want to be treated. We cannot nag about the lack of change in this world if we do not start by changing ourselves first. 

It all starts from within. 

Rebecca Daou

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نشاط غير معتاد في دير بكفيّا في نهاية الصيف. ثلاثة عشر مشتركًا تسجّلوا في برنامج ٢٠٢٣/٢٠٢٤ ويجب تجهيز البيت من جديد. نورس أنهى خدمته في بكفيا ويستعدّ للانطلاق نحو آفاق جديدة. صلاح يأتي إلى بكفيّا لينضمّ إلينا، تشارلي وأنا. ما عساها تكون هذه السنة؟ جماعة كبيرة وبيت متجدّد لا نعلم بعد كيف سنسكن فيه. نادر مستعدّ للمساعدة في المرافقة في الرياضة الكبيرة.

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