Restoring dignity for refugees
This Christmas time, December 2022, Belvedere College SJ has partnered with the Jesuit Refugee Service Ireland to help them raise funds for the JRS Ireland Hardship Fund. They have already raised almost €5000 with a sponsored football tournament run in our school. The JRS hardship fund page is still online and anyone who wishes to support it can do so by clicking here.
The JRS Ireland Hardship Fund has been established in response to the increasing number of asylum seekers needing basic material support. Individuals, children, and families living in emergency accommodation are being assisted with sponsorship to access basic material support and live with greater dignity.
Eoghan Keogh, Chaplain for the students in the college says the students help out with the fund at Advent time, bearing in mind that this is a time when we are asked to consider the birth of Christ. “We are asked to reflect on Luke 2:7 ‘And she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him in cloths and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.”‘
Eoghan says that taking time to really think about these gospel lines gives rise to important questions; “What would I feel if, for some reason, I had to flee my home with my children today? To go to a country where I don’t speak the language and don’t know anyone? What would I hope for from the people who met me? What are the characteristics I would hope the people had? What kind of attitude would I hope for from the people who meet me?”
The hope is that dignity will be at the forefront of the host’s agenda because dignity is equivalent to love, he adds, saying that this is what motivates him and the Belvedere students. “It’s a response to the feeling of trying to walk in another person’s shoes. Dignity is not just about material things but the attitude with which we give them and our disposition with which we give, and for us, we want to support the JRS who are committed to restoring lost dignity in small but meaningful ways.”