Fr. Sebastian Crossian SJ

Established in 2014 by Fr. Sebastian Crossian  SJ, the Jesuit Migrants Service (JMS) was created with a profound mission – to address the challenges faced by migrant workers in Tamil Nadu. These workers, engaged in various sectors like construction, textiles, manufacturing, and more, contribute significantly to development through their labor and remittances. Fr. Sebastian Corression SJ and the Jesuits in Chennai  recognized the silent but vital role of migrant workers and their unmet needs. JMS emerged as a response to this oversight, aiming to uplift migrant workers through education, awareness, legal support, health services, and collaborations. Over the years, JMS has become a beacon of hope, advocating for the rights and well-being of these workers.

The Jesuit Migrants Service also seeks to serve primarily the least of this last. Sensing that the children constitute the most vulnerable section among them as they are made to move with their parents to several destinations for survival, they become the first target group for people engaged in JMS. Through education, the JMS chooses to empower the children of the migrants with knowledge. As these children lack opportunities to become beneficiaries of formal education through schools which are not in their vicinity, JMS readily provides supplementary education. It is heartening to observe a good number of students of Loyola College join hands with JMS in this ministry. Yet another compelling reason for their inability to belong to these schools is that the medium of education is entirely alien to them. JMS pays special attention to the children in brick kilns, whose condition is pathetic. Brick-making performed with a clear division of labor forces these children to play their role in it and the family welcomes this offer as the participation of the children implies an additional income. As these children are not available for education during the day, Evening Study is arranged, thus making sure that they read and write in Tamil and English without much difficulty. 

We also organize an annual intensive summer camp for these children to help them to intensify their basic learning, improve their extra academic skills and mold their personality with greater motivation. JMS offers tailoring classes for migrant women, the unemployed ones and motivates them to be entrepreneurs with life-coping skills. Further, it also provides meaningful counseling to migrant women and enables them to find solutions to their problems. Most of the migrant workers who come to Tamil Nadu are single migrant workers. They work on all week days and rest on Sunday. JMS becomes familiar with the adult migrants through regular visits to the latters’ residences. It arranges One-Day seminars on days such as on August 15 and January 26. The workers primarily come together to share their positive experiences, difficulties in their workplace and residence. At such meetings, JMS impresses on them their legal rights and entitlements. These meetings are preliminaries to make them start their relevant organizations in the near future. Most of the migrant workers are unskilled and draw very minimum salary. 

The volunteering migrant workers are guided to take up training like four wheeler driving, motor mechanic and computer programme in collaboration with Seesha NGO and LIBA. The migrant workers from the Northern States of India at times get trapped by the unauthorized labor contractors. Picking up their perils through their phone conversations, the JMS promptly responds to their calls and rescues them from their bondage. Three Assamese from Namakkal Poultry and three Meghalaya-workers from Ambattur industries were rescued and have accommodated them in convenient locations.