Are you a Refugee, an Asylum Seeker, or a Migrant?

We provide the following Services:

Accommodation and food is given to new arrivals and those who have been in the Country for less than six months. Payment of rent arranged for vulnerable people (pending assessment).
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School Fees & Uniforms

Payment of school fees (primary and secondary schools) and uniforms for refugee children whose parents have been in the Country for less than five years.
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Support of Orphans

Support orphans whose foster parents have been appointed by the children’s court.
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Free Language Courses

Free English and Zulu courses.
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Food Parcels

Food parcels for the vulnerable people and those living with the HIV.
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Clothing and Reading Glasses for poor and vulnerable people.
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Free participation in the Healing Touch of Christ workshops.
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Where will money for all this come from? Give a Donation or a Recurring Financial Dedication today.

What is our mission?

Our mission is to offer pastoral and social services to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants with a view to restore their lost dignity, faith and hope, by involving them in healing workshops and social cohesion programs and also ensure justice prevails in all matters affecting them.

Who is the Refugee Pastoral Care?

The Refugee Pastoral Care is the project of the Archdiocese Durban responsible for handling all matters affecting all foreign nationals in the area of the Archdiocese and beyond. The project was started in 1999 and gained momentum in 2002 when it was allocated a full time chaplain.

The pastoral role was and still is, fulfilled with our refugee brothers and sisters receiving counselling and masses said in their own languages. Services have been always offered indiscriminately.

The project has always been under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Durban. It was first administered by the Jesuits, and when they were no longer in a position to maintain a presence in Durban, the archdiocese approached the Spiritans for assistance in running the ministry.

The project is based at the Denis Hurley Centre at the Emmanuel Cathedral since that is the central point for the large population of Refugees living in Durban.

  • People who have passed through our doors

    22 000

  • Victims hosted durning the 2008 Xenophobic Attacks


  • Victims hosted durning the 2015 Xenophobic Attacks


Our Team

Fr Vitalis Vincent Ioryue CSSp
Fr Vitalis Vincent Ioryue CSSp
Chaplain & Director
Refugee Pastoral Care chaplain of the Spiritans order who assists in running the ministry.
Makusha Hupenyu
Makusha Hupenyu
Coordinates and supervises all the daily works, programmes of different departments and supervises all the Refugee Pastoral Care programmes and, links the project with the Archdiocese and other organisation through the Chaplain.
Tito Luhengesa
Tito Luhengesa
Interpreter | Teacher | Counsellor
Interprets and translates interviews in the project and in various departments. Teaches English to new arrivals and also provides counselling to refugees and asylum seekers.
Ladislas Nduwayezu
Ladislas Nduwayezu
Bookkeeper | Orientator | Counsellor
The Refugee Pastoral Care bookkeeper and in charge of the inventory of the project’s stock. Orientates new arrivals to the shelter, to the department of Home Affairs and other departments. Provides counselling to refugees and asylum seekers.
Anna Maphumulo Nonhlahla
Anna Maphumulo Nonhlahla
Office Clerk | Teacher | Counsellor
Prepares office maintenance and teaches isiZulu to the new arrivals. Provides counselling to refugees and asylum seekers.
Emile Nkuzimana
Emile Nkuzimana
Tailor & Distributor of School Uniforms
Makes and distributes school uniforms to refugees and asylum seekers.


  • The Challenges of Today

    With news spreading instantly around the globe, it is easy to be informed about the many problems facing humanity.

    Every day we hear those who live in misery, and those who are spiritually poor because they do not know God. We hear of injustices and structures of sin and evil of various kinds, we hear of violence, aggressions against life from conception to its natural end. The crises of the family as a result of cultural and moral relativism. We hear of scientific and technological developments that go forward at all costs and in any direction possible to inflict hard living conditions to humanity without giving a thought to Ethics.

    Perhaps we hear less of brothers and sisters in Christ who continue to die martyrs in many places of the world, and less still of the hostility shown to many good and innocent people who have to flee for the safety of their lives at the expense of their good living conditions and properties that are taken away from them or been destroyed without any hope when they will ever return to the countries and live a normal life like others do in their peaceful countries.

    The many Africans like Congolese, Burundians, and Rwandese who have to flee their countries currently take refuge in South Africa.

    In such context, as Christians and supporters of better life for humanity, social worker, and pastoral care for refugees.

    How do we react?

    As the Vatican 2 document “Gandium et spes” tells us, the world gives us reasons for sadness but also many reasons for joy.

    It is indeed sad that there are persecutions, problems, sufferings and injustices everywhere, yet every period of human history has had to face and overcome grave problems in their various ways and the means available to them. We are convinced that what is in the message of is hope.
    The message that countless men and women of religions and cultures of good will, will not cease to proclaim throughout the world, as do the catholic Archdiocese of Durban and in fact all the Christian community and the good people of South African Government are preaching.

    The catholic archdiocese of Durban in union with all Christians, has set up a special place within means to proclaim the message of hope for the hopeless, care and concerned for the displaced and less fortunate who due to wars and safety for life are here in South Africa to seek protection and the great message of hope is Christ himself. That is why the name of the organs that is saddled with this responsibility is called Refugee and Pastoral Care with the mission of making life bearable to those who live in fear and fate in their hands wondering where their next meal will come from, where will they stay in reins or sunshine for shelter, their deniable healthy living conditions and lack of proper immigration statues in the country.

    This is Refugee Pastoral Care missions. We want to make use of the instruments offered to us by present day technology to spread the message of hope by the Archbishop his eminence Wilfred cardinal Napier OFM. The chancellor, the diocesan chancery, the Archdiocesan Website.

    The financial administrator, the college of consultors, This Diocesan finance board chaired by Cardinal Napier OFM and the secretary.
    The inter-diocesan matrimonial, tribunal, the diocesan council of priests, the diocesan pastoral council headed by Mrs. Ursula Collings and to all the Deaneries: Durban central and North, Durban South, highway, Midlands, North cost, Pietermaritzburg and Vulindlela, Umvoti as well as institutions in the Archdiocese such as:

    St. Ambrose Formation House
    St. Joseph Theological Institute (Cedara)
    Kimberley Formation House
    Denis Hurley Centre

    The Christian communities, the church, and all people of good will to every corner of the Earth – my dear good people of God, no doubts you are already engaged in this battle with your daily prayer, good wishes, works and sacrifices in your own ways.

    Today the Refugee Pastoral Care suggests that you add to that your support for Refugees to the Refugee Pastoral Care Team.

    You can send a donation by clicking here to find out how you can make a Financial Donation.

    Or call +27 74 173 2201 and we come and collect whatever you have to support the Refugees as you better the life of a person through your donations.

    In this way: you will also help readers who cannot make a donation and enable Refugee Pastoral Care the good work they are doing to reach more than 24 000 (Twenty-four thousand) people that presently receive our services by your electronic mail.

    If you are convinced, please make donation now.

    Cordial greetings and thank you in advance for what you might be able to contribute.

    Rev. Fr. Vitalis Vincent Ioryue CSSp Chaplain/Director
    Makusha Hupenyu – Coordinator

    The Challenges of Today
    Our Success Stories
  • RPC Retreat: May 2017

    DATE: 22-23 MAY 2017
    ATTENDEES: Makusha, Tito, Emile, Ladilas, Ishmael, Anna, Bongi, Nomsa, Yasmin

    Day One


    A hymn ushered participants in the mood of the retreat to acclimatise them emotionally and physically. Welcoming them all, Fr Vitalis explained the purpose and the need of having the staff retreat to reflect on oneself in order to move forward. He stated that the Refugee Pastoral Care’s mandate is delicate in the sense that it involves dealing with afflicted people who have been pained directly or indirectly. Therefore, a proper handling of such people should be required.

    Through Jesus ‘teaching one important lesson was singled out in the retreat which the issue of forgiveness is. He taught humanity to forgive as God does to whoever asks for his forgiveness. A question then was put to the participants: why do people shout? Even though the person could be next to you? It was discovered that when two people are angry at each other a distance comes in to separate them. However, when two people are in love they talk instead of shouting or whisper or at a greater extent they communicate using bodily language. Anger opens up a divergence between people which ultimately separates them.

    The retreat master evoked a thought triggering illustration to the participants. The account was about a man who pretended to be blind when his wife gradually began to lose her beauty. Purposely the man acted that way in order not to discourage his wife as her beauty was fading and, as a result her confidence started dwindling.

    Moral lessons were derived from the accounts which are:

    1. Sometimes it is good to act blind so to ignore other people’s short comings. That is a spirit of forgiveness.
    2. No matter how many times the teeth can bite the tongue, they still stay together. A spirit of forgiveness is demonstrated.
    3. Even though the eyes don not see each other, they sill blink together, cry together, see things together. A spirit of unity prevails.

    Participants were also given very useful quotes to ponder about:

    • Alone one speaks but together one talks.
    • Alone one can enjoy but together one can celebrate.
    • Alone one can smile but together one can laugh.
    • A razor blade is sharp but it cannot cut a tree.
    • An axe is very rigid but it cannot cut one’s hair.
    • We should never look down on people unless one is admiring the shoes.

    The retreat master drew the participants ‘attention to An Extract of Pop Francis message delivered on the 18 may 2017 which was as follow:

    “Paraphrasing him, Fr Vital articulated Pop Francis message emphasizing on the issue of forgiveness in the sense that there is nothing like a perfect family. The latter is composed of individuals who are not perfect themselves thus forgiveness comes in as a vital tool for it survival emotionally, spiritually and health wise. Furthermore, the Pop said that if one cannot forgive, one opens a field for battle. Without forgiveness the family becomes sick, but if one can forgive, the sickness turns into good by cleansing one’s mind and sets oneself free. One needs to forgive in order to be in communion with God. Besides, hate is poisonous, it intoxicates and kills. It will also lead to heartache and eventually to death. Hate is self destructive. However, a family ought to be a place where life springs forth and not a death-trap; a territory of cure and not of illness, a stage of forgiveness and not of guilt. A family being a nucleus of all societies, forgiveness becomes imperative for its survival for it brings joy where there is sorrow. Forgiveness is a product of joy; it brings healing where there is ailment.”

    Fr Vitalis gave another thought enticing illustration to the participants which reads as follow: A psychiatrist drew a car on the board and requested his patients who were mentally sick to push the car sso that they could be released. As all the patients wanted to be free, they rushed to push the car which was drawn on the board, he realised that one patient remained behind then the psychiatrist asked him why he did not join others in pushing the car? He replied that he had locked the car and the key is with him.

    Participants shared various views about the story.


    One writer said: “We are earth born but we are not earth bound”
    It is of prime importance to help those who are in need and that requires sacrifice. The retreat master likened the work in the Refugee Pastoral Care to a candle which burns because it reduces itself. The moment it stops reducing itself, there will be no light in the process.
    Biblical passages were shared from 1King; 17-24, Luke7; 11-17. The moral is that no matter the situation one is going through, one is not bound by it, on the contrary one is bound by God. The true meaning of one’s life is found only in God.
    Participants shared their views.

    Afternoon Session

    Participants looked at the sensibility of life by examining the Ethos, Pathos and logia as a philosopher Aristotle put it. Mathews 25; 31-46 substantiated the idea behind the above terms. The work at the Refugee Pastoral Care should comprise those qualities.

    • Ethos: speaks of ethics, integrity, and creditability.
    • Pathos: speaks of empathy or sympathy. People do not care how much one knows until they know how much one’s care.
    • Logia: speaks about good communication skills, knowing what to say.

    Participants were engaged into sharing their personal experience in relation with the work at the Refugee Pastoral Care.
    The retreat wound down on that note in preparation for the second day.

    Day Two


    Biblical accounts were looked at again substantiating challenges that are bound to occur as God’s people journey in this life. Nevertheless these people never lost confidence in God despite the challenges.

    Genesis 12:10.
    • Despite Abraham’s friendship with God, he ended up being a refugee.

    Genesis 26
    • Isaac was born though Sarah could not bear children.

    Genesis 37
    • Though Joseph had been anointed, he had to be sold by his brothers to catapult him into his destination.

    Deuteronomy 2
    • Despite Moses’ promises by God, he only saw the promise land but did not enter it.

    It was summed up that challenges are bound to come. It is either to teach us a lesson, or to prevent something from happening. Therefore one needs to develop a thankful attitude to whatever that comes our way.

    The retreat culminated in an evaluation conducted by each participant as it drew to a close. The coordinator then seized the opportunity to present his vote of thanks for the time Fr. Vitalis put aside to run a well deserve retreat and for all the participants’ involvement.

    RPC Retreat: May 2017
    Our Success Stories
  • 2015 Xenophobic Attacks

    In 2015, another xenophobic attack happened resulting in 190 victims seeking protection from us. We housed them in a shelter for 54 days. They were provided with all basic necessities. A reintegration programme done and implemented with support from partner organisations.

    2015 Xenophobic Attacks
    Our Success Stories
  • 2008 Xenophobic Attacks

    In 2008, we hosted 580 victims of xenophobic attacks. We kept them in our facilities for over 4 months. During that period, the Refugee Pastoral Care provided all basic necessities for these people. A reintegration programme was drawn up and implemented successfully, without an incident.

    Trauma counselling and healing workshops were run with and for these victims. Support in the victims’ new and old places was given as an ongoing programme. Follow up workshops were done to bring stability spiritually and morally.

    On three occasions places where refugees were staying were gutted with fire, resulting in the destruction of property. The Refugee Pastoral Care assisted the fire victims with clothes, blankets, food and rentals.

    2008 Xenophobic Attacks
    Our Success Stories
  • Zulu & English Classes

    Integration is a primary issue for all who migrate into new places. Communication with indigenous people needs to be in their own languages. The Refugee Pastoral Care offers lessons in isiZulu which is the local language for the people in the area of the Archdiocese of Durban. English classes are given for employment purposes. The classes are offered for no payment to the refugees.

    Zulu & English Classes
    Our Success Stories
  • Healing Touch of Christ Workshops

    The Healing Touch of Christ Workshops is run in line with the catholic doctrines, however without discriminating against any other faith.

    The workshops came about as a result of a realisation that people, especially refugees go through traumatic experiences for which they do not get opportunities to talk about. Some people left their countries because of situations bedevilling them. Some have been involved in wars in which they lost their beloved ones, even their religion. Some might have been confronted with situations that were painful, tried to tell their stories but nobody bothered to listen. As people go through these instances where they do not receive attention, the pain builds up to enormous levels that causes unbearable stress. Some have even succumbed to the stress. However, it has been realised that the best way to deal with the feeling of pain is to talk about it in a religious atmosphere.

    The telling of stories, especially in a religious context removes the burden from the heart and with a “Touch of Christ” a healing process starts. If people cling to their pains and traumas then the burden of carrying other people’s sins becomes theirs through vengeance. So to free themselves from these burdens people need to talk about pain in this sense of forgiving those who have wronged them and peace building so that their hearts can receive relief in reconciliation. In a certain way the same could be said about perpetrators of any evil.

    Healing Touch of Christ Workshops
    Our Success Stories
Go Back

Where will money for all this come from? Give a Donation or a Recurring Financial Dedication today.


Where can we refer Refugees to?



helping only those who are UNHCR recognised refugees and asylum seekers with Section 22 permits


for repatriation


for grants and documentation of unaccompanied children


for documentation


for legal matters

Get in touch

Please contact us to find out more information about the Project and how make a Donation by filling out the form below: