EXPERT PRACTITIONER PANEL 1:
Co-Creating Actions for Integration & Inclusion
Promoting refugee inclusion in rural communities (JRS Ruralité)
Lucile Froitier, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Limousin (France)
Lucile Froitier of SHARE Network partner Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Limoges (France) presented the JRS Ruralité programme, launched in September 2018 and implemented in the historical region of Limousin (Nouvelle Aquitaine region). JRS Ruralité aims to:
- Provide families in rural areas with opportunities to meet with asylum seekers and refugees.
- Open the countryside and rural environment as a place of possibility and opportunity for interested asylum seekers and refugees living in urban areas.
- Connect interested asylum seekers and refugees with families, associations and professional networks in rural communities.
JRS Ruralité conducts outreach and holds discussions with families, associations and networks in Limousin, and refugees and asylum seekers living in Paris. While the programme accompanies and supports refugee participants wishing to move from urban areas to live and work in rural communities, ensuring such moves take place is not a primary objective of the programme. JRS Ruralité instead aims to address barriers to the geographic mobility of refugees, by providing them with direct experience of life in rural areas so they can make informed choices about where they want to live.
The programme has three key areas of activity:
- Courts-séjours: Asylum seekers and refugees spend short periods with host families in Limousin, or on farms in the area in placements arranged by JRS Ruralité partner WWOOFing France. In 2019, 15 families hosted 43 courts-séjours for 54 refugees and asylum seekers. The partnership with WWOOFing France facilitated 30 courts-séjours for 34 people, hosted by 9 farms.
- Volet animation: Facilitating the rural participation of youth participants of the JRS Jeunes programme based in Limoges. Activities included a series of 2019 workshops in rural areas using the co-production pedagogic method developed by JRS Jeunes, and monthly hiking excursions in the countryside (2019-20: 30 participants took part in excursions every month).
- Volet Insertion: A volunteer groups to build connections between refugees wishing to move to the countryside and employers, associations, and social and professional networks in the region, and accompany their move and settlement.