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JRS receives funding for African schools

jrs_aid_01The Jesuit Refugee Service is to receive nearly €250,000 from the Irish Ministry for Overseas Development, it was announced recently. The Minister of State, Peter Power, recently made the funding available for the building of schools for children displaced by conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR). Read the JRS press release below. Last year the CAR was placed on the UN Peacebuilding Commission agenda, which aims to help countries emerging from conflict to avoid falling back into war or chaos. This is indicative of the very unstable nature of the country’s politics, especially due to rebel resistance to the government and a heavy-handed response from the military. The JRS is one of the few organisations working in the areas controlled by the rebels. For a full press release, read more below.

Minister Announces Funding for JRS

In early August the Minister of State for Overseas Development Peter Power announced funding of almost €250,000 for the Jesuit Refugee Service to build schools for children displaced by conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Minister of State Power said the funding from Irish Aid, the Government’s programme for overseas development, will make a tangible difference to the lives of thousands of children:

“The funding I announced for the Jesuit Refugee Service will allow 2,000 children, whose lives have been devastated by war and instability, to access education. The war in the Central African Republic has had a serious impact on the education sector with fewer than one-in-three children in the country currently completing primary school, of whom an even smaller proportion are girls.

Most of the children living in the north of the country are displaced and the education system in these areas has essentially collapsed. Irish Aid support will allow the Jesuit Refugee Service to open schools in areas where there are no organisations working or where the education services are not sufficient to cater for the number of internally displaced children.

As we know from our experience in Ireland, education is key to social and economic progress. The long-term impact of a primary education on the lives of these 2,000 boys and girls cannot be underestimated,” he said.

Peter Balleis, International Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service said:

“I have spent the last week in the Central African Republic and I visited the JRS team who work in both areas under the control of the rebels. Some insecurity remains and, for this reason, very few organisations work in these areas.

But the JRS presence, the construction of schools and other activities have created a growing confidence and more people are returning to the villages from the forests. The needs are immense in CAR, but with the help of Irish Aid funding to construct and rehabilitate schools, JRS can assist the development of an integrated programme of educational services in CAR, including teacher training.”