Accompaniment is central to the work of JRS. To accompany is to be present with, available to and actively listening to the needs and experiences of refugees, asylum seekers and forced migrants.
Currently, JRS Ireland staff provides accompaniment and outreach to residents in 11 Direct Provision centers located in Dublin, Kildare, Portlaoise, Westmeath, Wicklow, Clare and Limerick and continue to support persons granted status when they move into the community. JRS Ireland also accompanies detainees who are in Irish prisons on immigration related grounds.
It demonstrates that their individual stories are important and they are not forgotten or invisible, even though they have been forced to cross borders leaving behind their family, friends and home. Core to JRS Ireland’s mission is addressing the protection needs and upholding the dignity of forcibly displaced persons who have come to Ireland seeking safety and refuge. Through accompaniment, the voices and direct experiences of refugees inform JRS Ireland’s service and advocacy.
JRS Ireland services are developed to respond to the greatest needs of persons in the protection process.
Children living in direct provision are a priority focus of targeted JRS Ireland services. For over 10 years JRS Ireland has delivered a 4-week Summer Programme of activities for children in Dublin centres and run a Christmas Toy Appeal gathering gifts for 500+ children residing in Direct Provision.
These include outreach, information and advice, specific supports for asylum seekers in the areas of education, psychosocial, health and wellbeing, while in Direct Provision and transition, employment and integration support for those granted status. All services are informed by the needs identified in the course of providing accompaniment and outreach.
JRS Ireland has two flagship projects, the Fáilte Project, funded by the HSE, responding to the health and wellbeing needs of asylum seekers and refugees in Balseskin Reception Centre and the AMIF funded PATHS Project supporting refugees and persons with status to exit Direct Provision and integrate into local communities.
JRS Ireland advocates to bring about positive structural and policy change within the Irish asylum and immigration systems that directly benefits asylum seekers, refugees and forcibly displaced persons.
The priorities areas of JRS Ireland advocacy and awareness raising are: Ensuring a fair and transparent protection process; Improving living conditions and supports for asylum seekers; Enhancing access to education and employment; Promoting integration and challenging racism in all forms; Ensuring Ireland responds fairly and generously to global and regional displacement.
JRS Ireland’s advocacy is informed by the voice and experience of persons in the asylum process and the concerns and needs of Direct Provision residents identified through direct outreach. Also, JRS Ireland seeks through a variety of mediums to deepen public awareness and understanding of complex asylum and migration issues and challenges.