Together in Hope: Celebrating JRS’ Birthday

24 February 2024|Roberta Nikšić

We celebrated JRS’s birthday with joy, gratitude, and hope, standing alongside the people we accompany, serve, and advocate for, once again, in all the places where we are united, and where refugees find their temporary home.

From temporary reception centers in Bihać and Sarajevo to the Reception Center for Unaccompanied Minors and Vulnerable/Separated Children in Sarajevo, to our Day Center in Bihać.

In the Day Center in Bihać, a haven for refugees temporarily staying in the open under difficult conditions, we organized a celebration with donors from LDSC. Essentially, we did what we always do: shared a meal, provided each other with a safe refuge, shared our dreams and hopes, and created shared memories.

Our donors also had the opportunity to celebrate with refugees at the Temporary Reception Center Lipa, witness a part of the festive atmosphere, and be together with people who do not lose hope in a better tomorrow.

Being part of their hope and assisting them on this journey was an exceptional experience for our donors.

The celebration at the Reception Center for Unaccompanied Minors and Vulnerable/Separated Children is best described by the words of the center’s manager, Emina Dežmić, in her birthday message on the occasion of our JRS birthday:

“As we celebrate the 43rd birthday of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in our center, we stand united with our beneficiaries. JRS remains a beacon of hope through unwavering dedication and tireless efforts. As JRS staff, we share common aspirations for a compassionate world, fostering a sense of belonging and security for those in need.”

Continuing on the same path, providing not only material and psycho-social support but also friendship, hope, and the belief that everyone in this country has the right to walk tall. Our human dignity is equal, and we are all children of God.

Alongside celebrating with our friends, who are much more than beneficiaries but our brothers and sisters, we also celebrated with colleagues from the Croatian office. It was an opportunity for all colleagues from the Southeast Europe region to meet, exchange experiences, celebrate past achievements, and envision new horizons of hope for refugees.

The Jesuit Refugee Service in Croatia marked its 30th birthday with a special academy in Zagreb, attended by partners and supporters. The event reflected on the organization’s history, highlighting its significant contribution to assisting refugees. A photo exhibition showcased 30 years of JRS’s work with refugees in Croatia.

Teams from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, and Kosovo gathered at the “Center for Integration SOL.” Socialization with various specialties and customs from around the world took place at the “Center for Integration SOL.”

We are grateful to be part of the JRS story; this encounter in unity has refreshed and inspired us for new endeavors.

Our JRS home is built on the foundations of accompanying, serving, and advocating: It is a safe house for refugees, a place where they are secure, can dream, and work towards their future. A home where wounds are easier to heal and endure when you have companions and family members who love you and support your dreams.