UK: Finding their place in homes and hearts in London

02 December 2019

Nora and Naomi, hosting scheme co-ordinator at JRS UK.
Nora and Naomi, hosting scheme co-ordinator at JRS UK. (Jesuit Refugee Service)

While most of us look forward to being “home” for the holidays, the feeling of home eludes most refugees. In London, where destitute and homeless refugees sometimes sleep on the streets, JRS is extending hospitality and home placements to displaced persons far from home.

“I really felt like our souls met” is how Nora describes her encounter with Charita*. Through the JRS At Home program in the UK, the two have been living together for three months now. Other families, faith communities, and religious congregations are also opening their homes and their hearts to refugees in Greater London.

“I am very lucky to have this house,” says Nora. “How could I not give a home to somebody else?”

When I examined my conscience and the teachings of my faith, I realised there were lots of things in the gospels about charity.
Nora, JRS At Home programme host

Before Charita arrived, Nora felt apprehensive about hosting a stranger. She says that her commitment to gospel values helped her overcome her fears. “When I examined my conscience and the teachings of my faith, I realised there were lots of things in the gospels about charity,” Nora explains. Considering the plight of homeless refugees, Nora recognised: “it could have been me, you know? I could have been in that position.”

Sharing faith, opening homes and hearts

Charita quickly became part of Nora’s household, and the two have enjoyed sharing simple moments, such as shopping and attending Mass together in Nora’s local parish. The experience of sharing their lives and their faith has brought both women “great joy” and given Nora’s home “spirit.”

“She has become part of my life,” Nora says of her new friend. “Even though it’s just day-to-day living, at the end of the day, it’s something big. I’m doing something, at least a bit of good, for someone.”

Nora is living her faith in a way that is both practical and spiritual. She has said “You’re welcome” to a stranger. Join us in thanking her for that.

Make an act of faith, hope, and love with a gift to JRS today, so that more refugees feel “at home” this holiday season.

*Name changed to protect identity

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