Video: School educates youth, lifts community in Haiti

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Pre-school nutrition program aids Haitian town

Jesuit Refugee Service is seeking to provide a head start to students in Fond Parisien, Haiti, a small town near the border with the Dominican Republic.

While bolstering the ability of children to succeed in future educational pursuits, the early childhood education program also acts as a protection mechanism for these young Haitians.

For more information about our programs in Haiti, please visit our website or

Produced by Jesuit High School students, theatrical drama sheds light on refugee issues

(Washington, D.C.) January 31, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA invites groups at high schools, colleges, universities and parishes to hold full theatrical productions or dramatic readings of the play Imago Dei: Journeys of Courage, Hope & Home. The documentary theater piece was written and produced by the students of Jesuit High School of Sacramento for JRS/USA and is now available for production by other interested groups.

Scene from the playThe performances are designed to raise awareness of the refugee experience and refugee issues, as well as to invite communities to take action to accompany, serve, and advocate for the rights of refugees around the world.

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA offers two versions of the script: one designed for a full theatrical production of the play Imago Dei: Journeys of Courage, Hope, & Home; and a second adapted for dramatic readings and small group events. Included with scripts are discussion questions designed to guide group dialogue and reflection after the performance/dramatic reading.

JRS/USA hopes the play will allow audiences to “stand in the shoes” of forcibly displaced people and refugees to gain a deeper understanding of the refugee experience.
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Statement by the President on the House Voting to Approve the DREAM Act

President Obama

President Barack Obama. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

I congratulate the House of Representatives, Speaker Pelosi, Congressman Berman, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other congressional leaders for taking the historic step of passing the DREAM Act today with a bipartisan vote. This vote is not only the right thing to do for a group of talented young people who seek to serve a country they know as their own by continuing their education or serving in the military, but it is the right thing for the United States of America. We are enriched by their talents and the success of their efforts will contribute to our nation’s success and security. And as the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found, the DREAM Act would cut the deficit by $2.2 billion over the next 10 years. I strongly urge the U.S. Senate to also pass the DREAM Act so that I can sign it into law as soon as possible.

This vote is a vitally important step to doing what the American people expect their policymakers to do: work together to address the nation’s most pressing problems.  The DREAM Act corrects one of the most egregious flaws of a badly broken immigration system. A flaw that forces children who have grown up in America, who speak English, who have excelled in our communities as academics, athletes, or volunteers to put their lives and talent on hold at a great cost to themselves and our nation.

I also congratulate the House for moving past the tired sound bites and false debates that have pushed immigration rhetoric into the extremes for far too long. The DREAM Act is not amnesty; it’s about accountability, and about tapping into a pool of talent we’ve already invested in. The DREAM Act is a piece of a larger debate that is needed to restore responsibility and accountability to our broken immigration system broadly.  My administration will continue to do everything we can to move forward on immigration reform; today’s House vote is an important step in this vital effort.


DREAM Act is good for United States

Editorials and experts around the country are agreeing that the DREAM Act is good for our nation, and have called on Congress to pass it:

Former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, a Republican, said on a conference call on November 29th it would be a “shame” not to pass the bill in the lame duck.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said “[The Republican Party] needs to take a hard look at some of the positions they’ve been taking. We can’t be anti-immigration, for example. Immigrants are fueling this country. Without immigrants America would be like Europe or Japan with an aging population and no young people to come in and take care of it. We have to educate our immigrants. The DREAM Act is one way we can do this.”

Former Illinois Republican Governor Jim Edgar voiced his support for DREAM in an op-ed in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, writing: “A rational approach to comprehensive immigration reform should begin with the young people who were brought here as babies, toddlers and adolescents…A nation as kind as ours should not turn its back on them. Congress needs to support the sensible, humane approach embodied in legislation known as the Dream Act. The measure charts a rigorous path that undocumented youths must negotiate to gain legal status and qualify for citizenship, and supporting it would be both good government and good politics.”

The Wall Street Journal published an editorial that argues: “Restrictionists dismiss the Dream Act as an amnesty that rewards people who entered the country illegally. But the bill targets individuals brought here by their parents as children. What is to be gained by holding otherwise law-abiding young people, who had no say in coming to this country, responsible for the illegal actions of others? The Dream Act also makes legal status contingent on school achievement and military service, the type of behavior that ought to be encouraged and rewarded.”

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UN: 10 million teachers needed

(UNITED NATIONS) October 5, 2010 – The United Nations marked World Teachers’ Day today with top officials calling on governments to make up a projected deficit of over 10 million teachers by 2015 and stressing the crucial role teachers play in recovery from natural disasters and conflict.

“Without sufficient numbers of well-trained and professionally motivated teachers, we risk falling short of the promise made 10 years ago at the World Education Forum to the world’s children and youth [of education for all by 2015], because teachers are at the heart of the education system,” the heads of four major UN agencies said.

Jesuit Refugee Service provides primary and secondary education to approximately 170,000 children, and undertakes advocacy to ensure that all displaced children are provided with a quality education. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA has used grants from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migrants to build and equip schools in Southern Sudan, and to provide teacher training there.

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Visit our new website

(Washington, D.C.) Oct. 1, 2010 – After nearly 12 months of planning and work, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is happy to announce the launch of our new website. In November 2009, JRS communications leaders from the International office, the U.S. office and the Eastern Africa office began collaborating with Omaha-based Adventure Studios to design and build the website.

This new website is designed to present information in a clear way with easy navigation, while highlighting the accompaniment, service and advocacy JRS undertakes worldwide with and on behalf of refugees and forcibly displaced people.