Global Education Initiative

Girls in a JRS primary school in Bunj, South Sudan. (Paul Jeffrey / Misean Cara)

Launched in 2015, the GEI is an ambitious international campaign to enable us to open the doors of our education programmes to 250,000 refugees each year by 2020. 

Raised – $28.3 m

Goal – $35 m

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Education is a life-saving intervention. Yet, among refugee children, only 61 percent are enrolled in primary school, 23 percent are enrolled in secondary school, and just one percent are enrolled in tertiary education.

Rooted in a strong tradition of Jesuit education, JRS is committed to a five-year effort called the Global Education Initiative (GEI) to expand and strengthen our educational services. Launched in 2015, the GEI is an ambitious international campaign to enable us to open the doors of our education programs to 250,000 refuge each year by 2020. Our education programmes cover pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary education, informal and supplemental education, livelihoods and skill-building education, and teacher training programs.

We are committed to ensuring quality learning opportunities for all. Our commitments include expanding initiatives promoting girls’ educational access and wellbeing in Malawi, Chad, and Afghanistan, mainstreaming mental health/psychosocial services and promoting social and emotional learning in its education programmes, and expanding programming to support teachers to become certified.

Goals of the Global Education Initiative (2015-2020)

  • Increase the number of beneficiaries in JRS’s education and livelihood training programmes from 150,000 to 250,000
  • Focus on those most in need, teacher training, and post-secondary education that leads to people getting jobs
  • Raise USD 35 million to implement education programmes


To give a child a seat at school is the finest gift you can give.
Pope Francis

Three areas of focus:

  • Teacher Development – Inspired by the Jesuit tradition of Ignatian pedagogy, JRS emphasises the role of the teacher as a transformative educator who can provide more than just quality instruction. Teachers can create the kinds of inclusive environments where children feel safe to learn, reflect on their experiences, and develop their potential.
  • Enhancing Access to Secondary Education, with a focus on girls – Displaced children are at a disadvantage: fewer than 23% are able to access secondary education. Of this already small group, fewer than 30% of are girls. JRS recognises this disparity, and offers focused programmes that support girls as they progress throughout primary school and transition to secondary education.
  • Professional and Post-Secondary Education – JRS also offers programmes that promote educational and professional goals for youth and adults. This can include language courses and professional skills trainings to promote sustainable livelihoods.

Key results

JRS has accomplished the first of the GEI goals, reaching 253,496 people through our education and livelihoods programmes.

Some 13 million people are trapped in the limbo defined as “protracted refugee situations”: people who believed that they would be staying temporarily in a host country find themselves in a prolonged state of dependence and crisis. With half of all refugees being children, and half again of these children out of school, the fact that JRS has surpassed our goal of educating an additional 100,000 refugees within three years gives us scant consolation.

We cannot rest while millions more face a future devoid of opportunities. JRS projects provide countless instances of the transformative power of education in refugee situations.

The GEI has a second goal: to raise USD 35 million to sustain our programmes. We are on track to achieve this as well: by the end of 2018, we had raised USD 28.3 million, 81 per cent of our target.

This means that we still need your support to raise USD 6.7 million by 2020 to keep providing quality education and training to over 250,000 students.

Global Education Initiative Goals