Joya Colon-Berezin | August 27, 2014
Over the course of the summer many of us have had our hearts broken, over and over again, as we have witnessed the thousands of Central American refugee children crossing the southern border of the United States. This crisis certainly has caught the attention of the faith community and many have asked Church World Service the same question: How can we help? What can we do?
These children are angels. And, no, I am not talking about a supernatural creature with wings. These children are angels in the original sense of the Hebrew word mal’ākh, meaning ‘one who is sent,’ or simply ‘messenger.’ They have brought us an urgent and vitally important message about rising levels of violence, gang activity, drug cartels and life threatening circumstances in Central America. They have brought us a message about child trafficking and humanitarian protection. And they have brought us a message about our broken immigration system and the values we hold as a nation.
Mary Catherine Hinds | August 21, 2014
Recently, I was re-introduced to Monie. After the CROP Hunger Walk team captain rally in High Point, North Carolina, Monie approached me and introduced herself. She said, "I think we've met before..." Monie moved from nearby Greensboro, where she was a valuable team captain for her church and on the Greensboro Urban Ministry CROP Planning Team for several years. As Monie and I continued to talk about her work as a hunger fighter, we realized that we had also had a conversation at a CROP Hunger Walk rally during a brief hiatus when she lived near Pinehurst. This woman is committed to ending hunger. She perseveres, no matter where she lives.
I often joke with people that being a part of the CROP Hunger Walk is like being in the mafia: you can move but they will find you. Once you are in, you are always in. You are not forced to stay, but once you see the difference, feel the joy of bringing others into the ministry of ending hunger and poverty and experience the community of fellow partners in this mission, you are hooked. CROP Hunger Walk leaders are compassionate and committed and I can think of many, like Monie, for whom the next step after relocation is to reach out and find their local CROP Hunger Walk.
Laura Curkendall | August 18, 2014
Tomorrow is World Humanitarian Day, a day to celebrate the spirit of humanitarianism that motivates thousands of people worldwide to dedicate their lives and careers to making the world in which we live a better place. The theme of the day is #TheWorldNeedsMore #________. I’ve spent some time reflecting on how to fill in this statement, and what I’ve realized is that the world needs more hope.
My position at CWS means that I get to spend part of each day bringing our stories of change to a larger audience. I get to lift up the triumphs and progress that our global neighbors experience. I spend a considerable amount of time learning about the good that CWS and similar organizations are doing in the world. I definitely get my daily dose of the challenges and divides that are facing us as a global community, but not a day goes by that I don’t read about a success that the NGO community has had.
Leslie Wilson | August 15, 2014
On my first field trip as CWS Southeast Asia Regional Coordinator, I travelled to northern Cambodia, where CWS has worked for many years. One day I was privileged to meet Hi Sina, who was one of the beneficiaries of CWS disaster recovery efforts following damaging 2011 floods that affected Kam Prak village and many others in Preah Vihear Province. Hi Sina soon became a CWS household partner and, as a partner, she worked with us to make a family development plan which made her eligible to join different project activities based on her family’s needs and her interests. She joined a training on fish farming and received fingerlings, which she is successfully raising for sale. She has also received seeds for subsistence farming and has been a rice bank member since 2012, which helps her family when their own rice, which meets only half their household needs, runs out.
Rev. Bert Marshall | August 13, 2014
It began in the creative minds of a summer camp board of directors, but it officially began for CWS when Pam Burnham, representing the Pilgrim Lodge United Church of Christ camp in West Gardiner, Maine, contacted me a couple of years ago and said, “We want to feature CWS at camp next summer. Can you help us work this out?” Of course I said, “YES!” and now we are engaged in an exciting initiative with summer church camps across New England.
At Pilgrim Lodge we provided resources and training for the camp deans and counselors and made several trips during the summer to do presentations and activities with the campers. Every Tuesday evening, the whole group gathered to make CWS Kits, learn about helping others and get involved in making a difference in the world.
Martin Coria | August 6, 2014
After thirty six years of search, "grandson # 114" was found yesterday by Argentine human rights group Grandmothers (Abuelas) of Plaza de Mayo. Abuelas was founded in 1977 by a small group of mothers of disappeared women who gave birth while in prison before being killed and disappeared during Argentina's U.S.-backed military dictatorship (1976-1983). After creating new false identities to almost 500 newborn children, the military gave them illegally to "trusted" families who adopted them. Some of the grandchildren were recovered by their families in the 80's, some in the 90's and so on. One grandchildren at a time. Some have been found by the Abuelas, some found the Abuelas after doubts about their identity.
Compared to the previous 113, grandson 114 is special as he is the grandson of Abuelas's respected leader Estela de Carlotto (84). Estela's picture and quotes are in today's front-pages of most newspapers not only in Argentina but in most Latin American countries. "Thanks to God," she said in a press conference yesterday.
Margot de Greef | August 5, 2014
Port-au-Prince -On Friday July 25 the United States Congress passed the S.1104, The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act. CWS has played a big role in advocating for the passage of this Act, and encouraged allies in Congress to consider the bill favorably. As CWS Country Representative for Haiti – and someone who has lived in Haiti for many years – I want to thank members of Congress who took an interest in this legislation, which measures the progress of recovery and development efforts in Haiti following the earthquake of January 12, 2010.
Many people have asked many times 'where the money went' that was donated to the people of Haiti and the reconstruction of their country. The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act will contribute to finding a better answer to this question. It requires the Secretary of State to submit to Congress a report on the status of post-earthquake recovery and development efforts in Haiti no later than December 31 and annually thereafter through December 31, 2017. The report should include information of work done by US government agencies, housing strategy, strengthening Haitian governmental and nongovernmental organizational capacity, consultation with civil society, accountability, anti-corruption efforts, and efforts to address the particular needs of vulnerable populations.
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