Anne Nesbitt, Bookends Project Officer and School Engagement Officer
I joined JRS in October 2017. Prior to that, I was employed for ten years by Sydney Catholic Schools as a learning support teacher. Having immigrated here in 2000 from Boston, I was unaware of the unjust and punitive system endorsed by the Australian Government.
After the Tampa incident, I started volunteering as a volunteer teacher/outreach worker, first with House of Welcome and then at St Bakhita’s Sudanese Catholic Centre. As I graduated from a Jesuit school in the USA, I have been involved with Jesuit ministries for many years. As a parent at the Sydney Jesuit school St Ignatius Riverview, I volunteered with Jesuit Mission for nine years, and was the Chair of the Jesuit Mission Indian Bazaar Committee – the major annual Jesuit Mission fundraiser – for three years.
The Bookends project provides the opportunity to establish, resource, implement and monitor collaborative initiatives supporting asylum seekers in the various ministries throughout the Jesuit Province in Australia. Education is so empowering! JRS enables me to work with students to raise awareness. When students engage with issues seeking asylum, they become informed and feel compelled to address those issues.
I am always amazed at the resilience of people seeking asylum: they have endured so much and they still have such hope. I draw strength from their courage. I am extremely grateful to be part of the JRS team and privileged to be a companion of the asylum seekers. Serving refugees gives meaning to my life, and I have learned far more from them than they from me.
Qualifications: BA Languages, Grad.Dip.Ed., MBA Finance, MA Development Studies.