JRS Europe mission to JRS Greece: meeting “to dream together”

27 March 2024|JRS Europe

Related: Greece, JRS Europe
Alberto Ares participating in the inauguration of the new "Welcome Centre"

JRS Europe Director, Alberto Ares SJ, and Fundraising Coordinator, Chirstoph Klotz, visited JRS Greece between March 20th and 22nd. The mission to the country office had the objective of learning first-hand about the latest developments of the local programmes, as well as connecting with the local team, volunteers, Jesuit companions and wider community of JRS. In addition, they participated in various governing bodies of JRS Greece.

Reflecting on his visit, Alberto Ares expressed gratitude to the whole JRS Greece community: “In this mission, it was very important to have the opportunity to accompany the different groups that make up JRS Greece, to dream together, to anticipate some changes that will take place in the coming weeks and to continue moving forward with hope. We are deeply grateful to the JRS Greece family for their hospitality, commitment, and care in every detail of our visit”.

Alberto and Christoph were welcomed in Athens by the local Jesuit companions and joined a meeting with the community of sisters who have been involved in JRS Greece’s mission in recent years. Alberto and Christoph expressed their gratitude to Sr Milagros Sandoval and Sr Preethi Silva for their commitment and affection for JRS Greece, the refugee community and the international volunteers who have worked at JRS. It was also the opportunity to gather the know-how accumulated over the years by them as well as to exchange suggestions on the way forward.

Sr Milagros Sandoval and Sr Preethi Silva are the last two religious sisters in the Greek mission to JRS Greece. They both belong to the Congregation of the Servant Sisters of the Holy Spirit, a missionary community that originated in The Netherlands and is now present in around 50 countries. In recent years several sisters from different parts of the world have been part of the community and our mission in Athens.

The Congregation of the Servant Sisters of the Holy Spirit will remain committed to the mission of JRS Greece, supporting our projects and actively participating in occasional activities through volunteering.

In addition, Alberto and Christoph had meetings with the President of JRS Greece, Fr. Pierre Salembier, the Director, Anna Kapralou, and various members of the Board, the Advisory Council, members of the teams, and the group of international volunteers. This was crucial to get to know in-depth the day-to-day activities of the local office.

JRS Greece inaugurated the “Welcome Centre”

On Thursday, March 21, JRS Greece inaugurated the “Welcome Centre” a space aiming to provide a safe and welcoming space for refugees to socialize. At the centre, refugees will also be able to access resources and participate in activities that promote integration into the local community.

His eminence the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Athens, Theodoros Kontidis S.J, participated in the inaugural event and blessed the facilities. The event was also attended by JRS Europe Director, Alberto Ares SJ, JRS Europe Fundraising Coordinator, Christoph Klotz, as well as people and institutions close to JRS and the local community.

The centre will offer:

  • Social accompaniment: a social worker will provide support, guidance and referrals.
  • Cultural mediation: bridges between cultures will be built by promoting dialogue, respect and mutual understanding and encouraging cultural exchange and preservation.
  • Recreational activities: The centre will offer recreational activities such as arts and crafts and board games to help refugees connect and improve their overall well-being.
  • Coffee and Tea: A safe and welcoming space to socialize, relax and connect in a supportive and inclusive environment.

The “Welcome Center” joins the group of five centres that make up JRS Greece, including Arrupe Center, Magistories, Women’s Day Center, and Magazi.