The CWS Blog

World Humanitarian Day 2014: #TheWorldNeedsMore #Hope

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.

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Seeds and New Beginnings in Cambodia

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.

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Camping for CWS Kits

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.

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36 Years

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.

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Assessing Progress in Haiti

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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Matching Grants for CWS School Kits Spark Congregations’ Imagination

Zach Wolgemuth  |  August 4, 2014

For a child buffeted by war, natural disaster or poverty, a CWS School Kit is an oasis of normalcy and hope. In addition to helping children return to school, the paper, pencils and crayons in the kits give children tools to work through their emotions and their experience.

So when Church World Service recently alerted its member communions and partners that it was short thousands of CWS School Kits to fill pending requests, it touched my heart to think of the thousands of children in need that shortfall represented.

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Why I Am Risking Arrest at the White House with 135 Faith and Immigrant Leaders

Rev. John L. McCullough  |  July 31, 2014

Today, I have decided to risk arrest with more than 135 other faith and immigrant rights leaders outside of the White House. I have not come to this decision lightly, but out of my deep discontent and disappointment at the lack of action by our President to stop the needless deportations of millions of immigrants and the suggestion that our nation should expedite the deportation of thousands of Central American children who are fleeing violence and seeking protection.

As someone who has benefited from the courage and civil disobedience of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, I cannot stand idly by as I see unjust immigration laws damage our communities and our nation. It is a moral imperative that we take action now, particularly after the House Republican leadership has miserably failed to enact immigration reform that the majority of Americans roundly support. While I have been proud to stand alongside courageous Republicans like Rep. Jeff Denham, I do not believe that history will be kind to the dysfunction of this Congress and House leadership.

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