Migrants & Refugees: ‘Growing together as a society’

On the 9th anniversary of Pope Francis’ pastoral visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa, the Vatican’s Migrants & Refugees Section releases a video highlighting how Lucy, a migrant from South Sudan, has contributed to her host country, Kenya.

By Devin Watkins

As part of a series leading up to the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees to be held on 25 September, the Vatican Section dedicated to the issue released a new video on Friday.

In it, Pope Francis underlines the importance of appreciating the contribution that migrants and refugees make to the socio-economic growth of the communities which welcome them.

The Pope says that promoting their talents allows every member of the community to grow together as a society.

“Theirs is a potential that is ready to be realized, if only we give them a chance. In your opinion, how can we foster the development of this potential?”

Making an impact

In order to show that migrants have a contribution to make to their host countries, the video tells the story of Lucy Juah, a South Sudanese refugee currently living in Kenya.

She is employed as a community outreach worker, and in her spare time she is a seamstress and does tie-dye.

Lucy also makes peanut butter and sells it to Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS).

“I can see my work as having a social economic impact in the host community, because I have been integrated in the community,” she says, “and I have women who come to me and they ask me to train them, especially in making peanut butter.”

Teaching a trade

Lucy has taught her craft to many other people, who are in turn helping provide for their own families.

She notes that even buying raw material to make peanut butter at the local community is also a way to contribute economically to the host community.

“As refugees, we don’t just come in empty-handed; we have something that we know that we can share with our host community. Others are doctors; others are nurses; others are human resources experts. They have skills, and they can improve even the economy of Kenya.”

08 July 2022, 10:00