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Journeys of hope: Stories of refugees on the road to Europe – World

As from April 2015, the number of refugees and forced migrants making the dangerous voyage to Europe by boat increased. The majority landed in Greece. They were people on the move, hastily travelling through the Balkan countries, mostly aiming to reach Germany or Sweden. Staff of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Europe, together with volunteers and other NGOs, helped the refugees along their journey, for the few hours they stopped at a border, in a shelter, or in a transit camp. Funding agencies offered valuable help to support the services offered.

Now, at JRS, we like to accompany the refugees, to have time for encounter, and more specifically to listen to their voices, their sufferings and their hopes. And to let their voices be heard around us. This is the project we asked Danielle Vella, from JRS International, to implement in late January, February and March 2016.

Danielle travelled to Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Italy, Austria and Germany, to meet refugees on the move and to collect their testimonies. On two journeys, she travelled together with Darrin Zammit Lupi, a photographer from Malta, and on another with Oscar Spooner from JRS Europe.

While Danielle was travelling, we published her weekly articles on our website. In this booklet, we present the eight articles she sent, illustrated by photos taken mostly on these journeys.

Dear reader, please listen to the voices of the refugees, so that you will better understand, with your mind and with your heart, the strong hope of people who have plunged into the unknown, just to seek peace and freedom and to save life.

Jean-Marie Carrière SJ
JRS Europe Regional Director