Justus’ testimony in Kampala – a volunteer in JRS

21 April 2024|Justus Kwizera.

Related: Advocacy, Uganda
JRS Kampala
English classroom at JRS Kampala

JustusJRS family and friends,

I share this experience as a volunteer at JRS, Kampala. I began my long awaited service as a volunteer officially on June 3rd, 2021. I had a lot of expectations that included listening and accompanying the refugees. I was well assured that my expectations would come true basing on the information I had read from the JRS website. The warm welcome from Fr. Frido (rip) and Mrs. Christina was an inspiring aspect that gave me courage that indeed I was in a right place.

I desired to serve and bettering the refugee world back in 2019 when I visited Nakivale refugee settlement. Since then, I did all that it entailed to meet my desire of two months service during my vacation of 2021. I got to know JRS through the internet and I was amazed by their service to the refugees.

Despite Covid 19 pandemic that escalated five days after I began my experience at JRS Kampala; I persistently persevered in prayer and following the norms with flexibility. For example, hardly could I have the direct contact with English students but I passionately engaged with the team in preparing English home learning materials that were weekly for forty two days lockdown.

As a volunteer, I enjoyed doing all that was possible and that I could to ensure bettering the refugees’ world.

I enjoyed checking the English department computers and upgrading the library an act that will richly aid the students once they are back at the learning centre. Above all, “a determined hunter never fears the jungle”. The death of Fr. Frido SJ, the then national director JRS Uganda would have deterred us from the service in the Covid 19 lockdown frontline but in fact that’s the period refugees needed JRS services most.

The JRS feeling of empathy and human responsibility in defending human dignity and rights rooted in the Ignatian spirituality and Pedro Arrupe’s mission and vision is the greatest lesson ever learnt key to refugees’ service. This is exactly what I participated in at JRS here in Kampala.

There is indeed too much joy and contentment in listening, be with the people who needs you. We all have something to offer to better the refugee world.

The gifts we possess can ease the ordeals of the refugee crisis even if for a single day. I therefore, encourage whoever reads this article to give their time as volunteers or in any other support to the refugee world that JRS is serving.