A Genuine Act of SolidarityWednesday, August 12th, 2015
“Really? There are refugees in Manado?” was the first reaction of Erlyn Kindangen after hearing about JRS services in Manado. JRS Indonesia started accompanying refugees and asylum seeker at Manado Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in January 2015 .
Erlyn, a middle aged entrepreneur told us about her experience becoming a JRS volunteer. “At first, I was just picking up my friend Elis (JRS staff) at the Manado airport when she arrived. But after I heard more about the refugee situation, I felt the urge to help. It’s so strange, they left their country to find freedom but then they got locked up in a prison instead. They’re not criminals!” she said with expressive voice and gesture. Erlyn then got actively involved in connecting JRS with some stakeholders in the Manado Catholic community. One of the results was a public awareness session JRS held for seminarians in Sacred Heart Major Seminary (Seminari Tinggi Hati Kudus) Pineleng. Some seminarians then decided to volunteer for JRS teaching guitar and Indonesian classes to people detained. Erlyn is now actively involved as volunteer teacher in Indonesian classes for the detainees.
When we asked about her experience entering the Detention Centre for the first time, she said, “I was shocked at first, the detainees were huge! But turned out they were really nice and polite, I felt comfortable to talk with them.” Erlyn also learned from her teaching experience. “Before I started teaching, JRS staff has taught me about their cultural norms, how to act and behave. So I didn’t experience any cultural obstacles or misunderstanding,” she continued, “but sometimes I couldn’t help laughing when I heard them speak wrong words in Indonesian. At the end we often laugh together.” She remembers with a smile.
Reflecting on her experience teaching and meeting the detainees, Erlyn said, “I was reminded to always be humble. Sometimes when we are already in a high position, we forget to look down. There are people forced to always look down just because they need help. This is what this experience has reminded me of.” With spontaneity to act, willingness to learn and humbleness, Erlyn Kindangen has built a bridge of solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees during her weekly encounters. She is an example for the many volunteers and people that extend a hand to asylum seekers and refugees. It is in simple words and deeds that solidarity is practiced, as well as in shared tears and laughter. The direct human encounter is the only way to learn and overcome differences, prejudices, and suspicions that so often emerge when we hear about foreigners.
If we, as a human family, insist on only ever seeing refugees as a burden, we deprive ourselves of the opportunities for solidarity that are also always opportunities for mutual learning, mutual enrichment, and mutual growth. Continue reading
Yogyakarta, 20 November 2014 – The Jesuit Refugee Service observes with deep sadness yet another sudden retroactive change in the policy of Australia towards people seeking international protection in Southeast Asia. Yesterday, the government of Australia announced its decision to … Continue reading
Together with the Community of United Volunteers Yogjakarta, JRS Indonesia took part in the emergency response in Kelud. The Community of United Volunteers Yogjakarta, comprised of a diverse group of individuals and students from Yogyakarta, work together in humanitarian disaster response, being present and providing support in the form of accompaniment, counseling activities or delivering urgently needed goods. JRS Indonesia provided funds to support the operational and expenditure of urgently need goods, also presence in the field for two days, on February 26-27, 2014. Continue reading
Celebrating 33 years of being with and serving refugees, JRS would like to encourage you to extend your hospitality and support to our brothers and sisters that are here to seek protection. Continue reading
“It’s not enough to give a sandwich if it isn’t accompanied by the possibility of learning to stand on one’s own two feet. Charity that does not change the situation of the poor isn’t enough. True mercy, which God gives and teaches us, calls for justice, for a way in which the poor can find a way out of poverty.” Continue reading
The Jesuit Refugee Service joined together with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and representatives of a number of faith-based organisations to call for greater protection for refugees.
The multilingual, 16-page declaration, known as an Affirmation of Welcome, is the first to involve UNHCR and a spectrum of faith-based organisations. Continue reading
In May 2013 JRS supported the SUAKA Diplomat briefing on the situation of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Indonesia. SUAKA and JRS participated in a Focus Group Discussion at the National Human Rights Commission discussing and promoting Indonesia’s ratification of the convention on the status of Refugees and its protocol. SUAKA continues to provide legal advice and accompaniment to Asylum Seekers during the RSD process mostly referrals from JRS. Currently a more comprehensive referral system is developed in a collaboration of JRS and SUAKA. Continue reading
It was Sunday evening of 9 September 2012. Twelve African men were walking toward a rather big shop in Cipayung. They were some asylum seekers from Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia. Their destination, a place on the third floor of that … Continue reading
Yogyakarta, 14 November 2011 – 31 years is not short measured on a lifetime. After a 31 year journey JRS is proud of the heritage of spiritual insights from Pedro Arrupe who arouse the concern of people for the refugees. This year, JRS Indonesia celebrated its 31st anniversary in many simple ways. Continue reading
It was the 20st of June, World Refugee Day, and JRS had invited to come to Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta. About 50 people including lecturers, representatives of civil society and students from Indonesia, Thailand and Burma/Myanmar had gathered here to watch the film describing the experiences and challenges faced by refugees in their home country and in the country of asylum (Malaysia). “Personally I appreciate everyone that helps them (refugees) and accepts them in their country … these people fleeing and their voices touched everyone of us” states Lorence a student from Myanmar/Burma at Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta still touched by the stories shared through the film. Continue reading