An inclusive, equitable world where every individual can live with dignity, have a voice and a right to self-determination.
To accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons, that they may heal, learn and determine their own future.
The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) was founded in November 1980 by Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ, the then Superior General of the Society of Jesus, to respond to the plight of Vietnamese refugees fleeing their war-ravaged homeland.
Following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese fled their homes, setting out in overcrowded boats across the South China Sea. Many did not survive the journey; they were killed by pirates or drowned because of storms and rough seas. Fr Arrupe felt compelled to act. He called on the Jesuits “to bring at least some relief to such a tragic situation”.
Fr Arrupe wrote to over 50 Jesuit provinces regarding the situation, recognising that the Jesuits, then numbering 27,000 men across the world, were well-placed to coordinate a global humanitarian response. As conflicts broke out in Central and Latin America, South-eastern Europe, and across Africa, JRS rapidly grew from helping Vietnamese boat people in a few camps in Southeast Asia to working with refugees around the world.
JRS operates in about 50 countries, with its Headquarters, JRS International, based in Rome.
JRS Singapore was formed in the early 1980’s to address the urgent Vietnamese Refugee and East Timor crises.
The first Country Coordinator for Jesuit Refugee Service Singapore was Fr Desmond Reid SJ. He will be remembered best for coordinating humanitarian relief at the height of the exodus of the Vietnamese boat people after the Vietnam war.
Fr Reid would not only appeal for donations in kind for the Hawkins Road Refugee Camp but he would also mingle with the refugees and teach them English.
JRS Singapore reports directly to the JRS Asia Pacific Regional Director, based in Bangkok, Thailand. Jesuit Refugee Service (Singapore) Ltd was registered as a company limited by guarantee in 2017 and we were registered as a Charity in August 2020.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” ~ 1 Peter 4:10
Our Outreach Programs are brought to churches, schools and organizations to raise awareness of the plight of refugees, displaced persons and victims of human trafficking. We also engage with other like-minded organizations in Singapore to share our stories.
JRS Singapore in partnership with JRS Asia Pacific has developed LEAP@JRS – a programme which focuses on providing refugees with digital education, essential life skills and professional development opportunities. JRS also facilitates internships for refugees with values-aligned partners who impart practical skills essential to the learning experience.
As part of our mission to ‘Accompany, Serve and Advocate’, JRS provides volunteers with opportunities to engage virtually as well as physically with migrants and refugees. Volunteers can experience meaningful interactions as part of their long-term commitment towards running programmes which uplift vulnerable communities.
We organize fund raising campaigns to support migrants, refugees and vulnerable communities.
“It is our duty not only to ensure refugees receive protection from war and oppression in their country of origin, but also to protect them from trafficking and other risks in their new communities. Education plays a key role in this protection.”
Jesuit Refugee Service (Singapore) Ltd
A registered company limited by guarantee.
Registration No: 201713923E
Caroline Seow, Chair
Collin Yap, Dep Chair
Lie Foeng Sugiman
Wee Tee Heng
Lie Foeng Sugiman
Fr Colin Tan, SJ