Signing Ceremony of 2018 TAFT Refugee Grant
JRS Refugee Center in Viana Municipality, Luanda
October 30, 2018, 10:00 am
Good Morning Everyone,
I am pleased to be here today at the Viana Refugee Center for the signing ceremony of the grant agreement between the U.S. Embassy and the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS). This grant is made possible because of the Julia Taft Fund. Julia Taft was an American diplomat who dedicated a big part of her life to assisting refugees around the world. The Julia Taft Fund honors her memory by providing support to refugees who have left their homes, families, and countries due to armed conflicts, serious violations of human rights, or natural disasters. The U.S. government is the world’s largest donor of foreign assistance to refugees. TAFT fund projects like the one we are here to inaugurate today play an important role in assisting refugees improve their lives and better integrate into society by providing small, community-focused assistance that demonstrates an immediate impact.
We selected JRS to receive TAFT funds to assist the urban refugee community living in Viana. JRS has provided legal protection, social assistance, vocational skills training, and mental health services to returnee and refugee communities in Angola since 1996, and we have witnessed how passionate and committed JRS members are about the work they do. And so this year, we trust JRS will use these funds to bring a little bit of hope to this community, providing livelihood assistance, improving the housing conditions of the sick and the old, and refurbishing a recreation center that will benefit the youth. We know that this project will not end the daily difficulties and hardship that many people face within this community, but it is our wish to that this project will not just make a meaningful difference in addressing daily needs, but will also provide greater hope for a brighter future. We know that the refugees who live in this community come from many different parts of Africa. In Angola, they have found a safe harbor, a place to live, thanks to the Angolan government that provided shelter, assistance, and documents. We urge the Angolan government to continue to protect refugees in their hour of need. This grant is a contribution from the American people to help improve the lives and livelihoods of this community and help it further integrate into Angolan society. I hope this project involves the community and reaches as many people as possible to create lasting change. I wish you all the best!