Refugee Voices 2020

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia’s “Refugee Voices” program offers young people the chance to hear the story of a refugee. This unique program gives school students a first hand account of a person that has experienced persecution, injustice and has been forced to flee their home.

Teachers also have the opportunity of enlightening their students with material that covers essential criteria in the Australian school Curriculum. Students are given the opportunity to examine the situation of forcibly displaced people and to critically examine Australia’s response. Additionally, students are able to identify ways they can actively be involved in alleviating the crisis.

Right now, the narrative on people seeking asylum is often distorted.

On a global level, we are experiencing the greatest displacement-crisis since WWII.  We rarely have the opportunity to hear the voices of those being forced to flee their homes.

The JRS Refugee Voices program counters this power-imbalance and facilitates further agency to refugees and people seeking asylum.

All people have the right to live in safety regardless of their religion, nationality or race. It’s important to educate the next generation of leaders about these issues so they can enact positive change on behalf of people who are forcibly displaced. People are incredibly resilient but often find themselves without a home & without a voice. Our voices are needed to tell people seeking asylum, & indeed, the entire world, that we stand by them & defend their rights to safe & dignified living.

By hearing the stories of refugees, young people can be inspired to enter into the public debate; something all Christians have been called to do. Pope Francis tells us to offer humanity to refugees,

To all of you [refugees and migrants], and to those who have devoted their lives and their efforts to helping you, I give the assurance of my prayers and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing. ~ Pope Francis

Be part of it. Interested in organising a presentation at your school? Please get in touch: P: (02) 9098 9336. Or email Anne Nesbitt:

Speaker Cost. $400 per hour-long presentation with a person with lived experiences as a refugee or asylum seeker (+$75 for an additional presentation on the same day). We also ask for an additional minimum donation of $100 to support JRS’s work in the community with people seeking asylum.


The Refugee Voices program..challenged the whole community to act on their values. Students were able to connect with real face to face stories to challenge their understanding of justice… It was here that authentic cross curriculum engagement was enabled and students were motivated to address contemporary issues which we face.” ~ Anthony Matthews; Religious Education Coordinator for St Oliver’s Primary School


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