Testimony of an Educational Coordinator at JRS Hungary
“Refugees are vulnerable as the caused trauma can be overcomed just with external help. Children are even more exposed to the adults’ reactions in their environment, and need more attention and care. The approach we use while working with them is of high importance.
During the work as an educational programme coordinator I find myself challenged to keep emotionally distance from their life story. These stories vary a lot, and the children try to react to these in many ways. Some are self-sacrificing and do everything to have good marks at school, take part almost each afternoon in a plenty of catch-up lessons just because not to mean an additional “problem to be solved” for the parents. These pupils are overloaded, do not have any freetime and do not enjoy life as other children at similar age.
Others react with attention-grabbing behaviour. They do not go to schools regularly, or they behave dismissively at the lessons, it is hard for the teachers to motivate them or make them take part in activities. They refuse all extra educational possibilities we can offer, their main goal is to return to their home country. The parents of these pupils are also difficult to handle, the communication with them is slow or one-sided.
Making them aware of the advantages of JRS’s educational services for their future is another big challenge. Learning Hungarian as a foreign language, our free time activities, or creative workshops for integration all could contribute to self-fulfilment and settlement of their future – even if they do not stay in the welcoming country.
We face these challenges and try to answer them the most professional way we can, and I hope our work supports each child’s life in the best manner and extent”
JRS is working together with the Xavier Network, Concordia Moldova, the Society of Jesus in Europe, local civil society, and NGOs in a coordinated Jesuit response. Together we help thousands of people like Veronika. You can read more about The One Proposal: the coordinated Jesuit response to support the Ukraine Crisis here.