Awareness is at the core of our approach to creating a more informed and supportive society. Through educational campaigns, community events, and partnerships with educational institutions, we seek to raise public awareness on crucial issues such as diversity, inclusion, and human rights. We believe that education is the key to change, and by elevating collective awareness, we strive to break stereotypes, eliminate prejudices, and build bridges between diverse communities.

Our awareness efforts at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) align with the global mission of JRS. As a global body of individuals, JRS aims to accompany, serve, and advocate for the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced persons, enabling them to heal, learn, and determine their own future. Fueled by this mission and informed by decades of refugee sponsorship efforts that have resettled thousands of refugees in Canada, JRS Canada developed a simulation exercise called “A Journey in Exile” in 2018.

What is “A Journey into Exile“?

JRS designed this activity as a simulation exercise where participants take on the role of a refugee based on real refugee stories and engage in an interactive journey like millions of refugees worldwide. Throughout the activity, each participant makes decisions similar to those refugees worldwide must make. While making these decisions, participants hear real refugee stories, discovering narratives marked by hardship but also resilience and hope.

Today, “A Journey in Exile” is at the heart of JRS Canada’s awareness efforts. With online and in-person versions available in English and French, our simulation exercise reaches hundreds of individuals each year in Canada and the United States. Our diverse audience includes high schools, colleges, universities, non-governmental organizations, and community groups. We have also organized public sessions to create a space for conversations about refugees. As anti-refugee discourse and policies are on the rise, we feel even more dedicated to sharing this experience with people from all walks of life.

We are working on a guide that complements the simulation exercise by addressing the root causes of refugee movements and suggesting new ways to think about refugees and our shared responsibility. This new journey for JRS Canada is a clear indication of our advocacy efforts and our commitment to inviting people to personal transformation. Through this personal transformation where we all open ourselves to the bitter yet hopeful reality of refugees, JRS Canada believes in systemic change where people can find security without risking their lives.