The Outreach and Advocacy sub committee actively promotes outreach to schools, parishes and local communities. We organize prayer sessions, talks, and exhibitions in Churches to increase awareness of the refugee situation.
We also organize talks at schools and tertiary institutions to share about the work we do and the people we serve.
Our latest initiative is the Sister School Programme.
Sister School Programme
An interactive peer learning experience for students & teachers
Every year of the last decade, the numbers of women, men and children forced to flee from conflict and persecution have escalated. COVID and climate change have further exacerbated vulnerabilities and UNHCR estimates that over 117 million will be forcibly displaced in 2023.
To address this alarming trajectory, JRS Singapore (JRS SG) is embarking on the JRS Sister School Programme (JRS SSP), a peer learning experience for educational institutions to:
• Raise awareness of the refugee crisis in the region and across the globe
• Develop empathy for communities who are vulnerable to forced displacement
• Further understand the complex and overlapping issues that engender displacement
• Equip future leaders with the knowledge, insights and experiences to shape a more just, inclusive, and equitable future
JRS SG will facilitate the engagement between schools in Singapore and refugee-led schools in the region¹. The JRS SSP will provide the platform for students and teachers from both schools to interact, develop understanding of the other, and initiate engaging programmes that will broaden world-views, build relationships, and develop capacity.
Cognizant of the different cultures and experiences of participants, JRS SG will facilitate the on-boarding of both schools, kick-start the programme and provide oversight to ensure alignment of purpose. Through shared learning, co-created initiatives and on-going activities, it is envisaged that the sister schools will build momentum to sustain long-term relationships. Conscious that the refugee crisis is complex and multifaceted, the programme will continually evolve, apply new findings and be contextualised for unique JRS Sister School Partnerships.
JRS SSP - An Experiential Journey for Students & Teachers
The JRS Sister School Programme is an experiential journey for students and teachers and seeks to:
- Expand World Views as it promotes shared-learning, broadens mind-sets and helps participants develop empathy of different cultures and lived experiences.
- Build Relationships by enabling strong peer engagements for student and teachers of both schools. Sustained interaction provides opportunities for in-depth dialogue to build meaningful friendships.
- Develop Capacity by enhancing the learning experience for teachers and students via the sharing of skills, knowledge and education resources. In addition, the JRS SSP provides opportunities to further explore the complex and overlapping issues around forced displacement – including persecution, conflict and climate change.
- Engage Communities by reaching out to the wider refugee community including parents and out-of-school youth, who have ‘nothing to do’. Virtual workshops to both learn and teach skills from craft to cooking to computer can provide meaningful engagement, potentially raise self-esteem and promote mental wellness.
- Empower Youth as agents of change. Youth with decision-making power to initiate projects and activities which they care about, are able to see the direct impact of their involvement and will be inspired to continue engaging in their communities.
- Spark Advocacy: The JSSP is an experiential journey empowering participants to be a voice for communities at risk of forced displacement through conflicts, persecution and climate change.
¹ The JRS SSP is also designed for other communities vulnerable to forced displacement.
Go tell everyone!
The newly formed Outreach and Advocacy (O&A) core team jumped right into an event-filled September, organising exhibitions in two parishes on consecutive weekends to commemorate World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Edmund Lim who co-chairs the O&A subcommittee with Tricia Kat, reflects on the sub comm’s goal – to spread the word and inspire others to embrace the mission and vision of JRS.