Visit www.anyrefugee.org with your child to send a postcard.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is an international Catholic non-governmental organization whose mission is to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS/USA operates education, psychosocial, livelihoods and emergency assistance programs in more than 45 countries and served 760,000 people in 2014.
Any Refugee was started in 2014 by 11-year-old William Scannell IV, of Anchorage, Alaska. After hearing a story from his father about how people used to send letters addressed to “any soldier,” William took this idea and put it to work helping refugee children. He mobilized his school and church communities to write postcards to “any refugee,” generating thousands of postcards from across America and as far away as Australia.
William and his father traveled to Lebanon in February to visit educational programs coordinated by Jesuit Refugee Service, and hand delivered postcards to the Syrian refugee children they met. JRS has established several schools for refugees in Lebanon, offering an Accelerated Learning Program with intensive language, math and science classes. JRS also provides meals, secures transportation for students and provides basic health services.
“My trip to Lebanon was very cool and I will never forget it. I met children who had lost their mother or father or who had been out of school for a long time. They were happy and surprised to read our postcards and to know that we care.”
Through this new partnership with JRS/USA, Any Refugee will now reach refugee children across the globe. William will continue to speak with, and engage, communities in the U.S. on the needs of refugee children drawing attention to this important issue. Children in the U.S. are encouraged to write postcards to their counterparts across the globe and JRS will facilitate sending the postcards to the children it serves.
“We are thrilled to partner with Any Refugee and work with William to raise awareness about the plight of refugees. Part of the mission of JRS is to accompany refugees and the postcards are a tremendous way to share the message that these refugees are not forgotten,” said Armando Borja, Regional Director of JRS North America.