Parents, Teachers, Refugees, IDPs among Beneficiaries of Jesuit Entity’s “psychosocial support” in Eastern DR Congo

Credit: Jesuits Refugee Service (JRS)

Victims of violent conflicts from North and South Kivu Provinces of Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), who include parents, teachers, refugees, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are among the beneficiaries of the “psychosocial support” under the auspices of the Jesuits Refugee Service (JRS), the entity has reported. 

In a report published on Monday, May 20, the leadership of the entity of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) says that women are the most affected by the violence that it says has ravaged the region since 2022 and stand in need of guiding and counselling services.

In the report, JRS officials say there was need to provide psychosocial support to the women who, despite being displaced, experienced gender-based violence.

“JRS offers psychosocial support to parents (60% women), teachers (60% women), refugees, and displaced people (IDPs) from Mugunga, Sake, Sasha, Bweremana, and Minova,” they say referring to the initiative they are realizing in Eastern DRC, complementing the secondary education project that the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) has facilitated.

The psychosocial support initiative, they say, “is possible thanks to the financial support provided by the Catholic Church, which allocates part of its eight per thousand share of total tax revenues to charitable activities promoting people’s development.”


According to the May 20 JRS report, “more than 7 million people have been helplessly witnessing daily atrocities: killings, gender-based violence (GBV), and burning villages” since the violence began in 2022.

The victims of the violence, JRS officials say, “are forced to flee to the outskirts of large conurbations. Among these people are, unfortunately, many pregnant or breastfeeding women, single mothers, elderly people, and people with disabilities, all affected by the side effects of war.”

The officials of the Jesuit entity use the encounters of Chinelo (not real name) who they say lives in Lushagala camp located on the road between Goma and Sake, North Kivu province, to explain the plight of the war victims.

“Chinelo was pregnant, and during the journey, she often felt alone and disoriented. One day, JRS workers approached her to talk,” JRS officials say about the 25-year-old forced to walk some 25 kilometers while fleeing for safety.

They say that through JRS psychosocial support, Chinelo recovered from the trauma and now sells firewood and uses the proceeds to support her family.

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In the report, Chinelo recounts, “During the last months of my pregnancy, JRS provided me with psychosocial support, which meant a lot to me. Listening to the stories of others and exchanging experiences allowed me to free myself. This support was extremely helpful.”

“I received psychosocial support and assistance tailored to my needs. Now I hope for my son to have the opportunity to access a safe and quality education,” she is further quoted as saying in the May 20 JRS report.

The intensified violence in the central African nation has caught the attention of global leaders, including Pope Francis, who, earlier this year, said he is “following with concern the increase in violence in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

In his message after praying the Angelus on February 25, the Holy Father expressed his solidarity with members of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) in praying for the people of God in DRC.

Catholic Bishops in the Central African nation had, in a February 20 statement, appealed for prayers for the people of God in Eastern DRC.


Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.