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Celebrating 61 years of CWS at work in Vietnam

Jason Knapp  |  October 5, 2015

In our line of work, disaster, crisis and conflict often consume our attention. And in many ways, rightly so, especially as we seek to fulfill our humanitarian mandate. Last month, however, afforded me the opportunity to remember a different narrative – to see the other side of the story – as CWS joined together with government, fellow NGOs and the private sector to celebrate the remarkable progress made in Vietnam, particularly over the past two decades.
The Vietnam Committee for Foreign NGO Affairs and the People’s Aid Coordinating Committee extended a warm welcome to Church World Service as we marked the 20th anniversary of the normalization of U.S.-Vietnam relations. Government officials, including the Vietnamese Ambassador to the U.S. and Vietnamese officials who made the special trip to Washington for the celebration emphasized the value of U.S.-based NGOs, and our contribution to development within Vietnam.

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The children of Nyarugusu refugee camp

Davide Prata  |  October 1, 2015

There is nothing more innocent and powerful than a child holding your hand.

I am in Nyarugusu, a refugee camp in northwestern Tanzania. I step out of the car and more than thirty children are already coming closer and laughing.

Martin, a five-year-old in a dusty green t-shirt, proudly holds my hand with a great smile. Martin is one of 93,000 Burundian refugees who call Nyarugusu home.I would like him to take me around the camp and show me the tent where he lives. Simply standing close to him I am amazed to discover how life and hope can exist and flourish in the most despairing places.

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The Pope, the Climate and the SDGs: how CWS played a role in all three

Rev. John McCullough  |  September 30, 2015

In the span of 24 hours, our common mission was upheld in three major events this month.

First, I was honored to have been invited to a White House reception for Pope Francis as the Holy Father paid his first visit to the U.S. The Pontiff’s message of caring for people and creation more than profit and politics is obviously resonant with the CWS mission. We have shared common themes in seeking a warmer relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. We have long sought justice for the poor and marginalized, who often bear the expense of a world driven by the blinding power of power and profit. And we share the same call to care for what Pope Francis so aptly calls “our common home,” in calling for more stringent attention to be paid to climate change and our role in addressing it.

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Honoring 30 years of fighting hunger in Iowa

Jordan Bles  |  September 25, 2015

I have been working for Church World Service in Iowa for almost a year and a half now. Yet, the most common way I am introduced at CROP Hunger Walk planning meetings continues to be as,  “the next Russ Melby.” I really don’t think there could be any greater compliment. If I manage to do half of the work that the good Rev. Russ Melby accomplished in his 30 years supporting CROP Hunger Walks and the other ministries, I will feel very good about what I have been able to do.

I had the blessing to spend my first couple of weeks on the job traveling the state with Russ, as he made his last round to the planning meetings. During that time, I got to see just a glimpse of the work he had done. Across Iowa, he knew every road, and he knew every community. And you could feel the passion as he reminisced with committee members, many of whom he had recruited and done this work with for decades. Over 30 years in Iowa, Russ involved more than 500,000 people and raised around $12 million dollars to end hunger and poverty locally and globally. My time with Russ was a powerful reminder of just how much of a difference one person can make, with God’s help.

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Russ Melby was honored with the Iowa Humanitarian Award in September 2015.

On the edge of a forest, drought takes root

CWS Cambodia  |  September 24, 2015

Chheu Teal Korng is the northernmost village in Cambodia. It sits in the shadows of the Dangrek mountain chain, which forms the border between Cambodia and Thailand. Fewer than 500 families live here, with each having about only half a hectare to grow food. Growing vegetables and rice on small plots is the way most families earn a living, in addition to gathering mushrooms and other materials of use in the nearby forests.

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Pope Francis climate message resonates with indigenous people in South American Chaco

Fionuala Cregan  |  September 23, 2015

Using the words of Pope Francis, the Guarani People´s Assembly El Bananal sent a strong message to the new Bishop of Argentina´s Northern Province Jujuy during his installation ceremony earlier this summer.

El Bananal is located on the border areas of the Calilegua National Park in the north of Argentina in one of the most bio-diverse environments in the country , a unique cloud forest corridor linking the tropical yungus to the low land Chaco,  today at risk due to oil extraction activities.

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Walking to end hunger in Kenya

Kevin Kamiri  |  September 18, 2015

Last week, a team of young adults in Kenya held their own CROP Hunger Walk to coincide with the 100 Mile Hunger Walk! I organized the 20-kilometer Walk and used word of mouth, text messages, phone calls and the mobile app WhatsApp to spread the word and gather a group to Walk together. A lively group conversation emerged where members shared inspiration and social media content to provide background on the reason for walking.

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