ANNUAL REPORT 2022


Since our start in 1946, CWS has been a faith-led organization that believes we are stronger when we stand together, especially in the midst of challenging times.

2022 has been challenging – from natural disasters and war to unprecedented levels of hunger amid an ongoing global pandemic. Yet we continue the path we began all those years ago – building relationships with local organizations and partnering with individuals around the globe to walk alongside our most vulnerable neighbors in some of the most overlooked and underserved communities in over 65 countries around the world.

Because of the compassionate action of CWS donors, friends and partners we continue reaching the most vulnerable as they rebuild homes, restore livelihoods and renew hope.

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Dear CWS friends,

On a Thursday morning in late February, Russia launched an unprovoked invasion of its neighbor, Ukraine. That attack triggered the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II, and one of the largest in modern history. It pushed the world past a horrific milestone: more than 100 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes. It has also begun to accelerate famine and hunger across the globe.

This has been a turbulent year. Ukrainians have fled in search of safety and peace; so have Afghans, Cameroonians, Syrians, Hondurans, Ethiopians and many, many others. Drought and storms have forced people from their homes, leaving behind rubble or parched earth. Conflict and climate change are also driving hunger and malnutrition to even more disastrous levels.

In response, CWS volunteers, donors, partners and advocates have unreservedly wrapped our global community with welcome and love. CWS has scaled up rapidly in order to respond to these crises. After the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, we worked alongside our member denominations, local communities and generous supporters to find innovative and effective ways to offer a warm welcome to thousands of newly-arriving Afghans across the nation. Around the world, our partners are walking alongside families to build resilience in the face of unpredictable climates. Thanks to you, people can now access livelihoods, nutritious food, clean water, legal support and the other services that they need to build the lives we know we all deserve.

Every step that we take, we take together. I am deeply grateful for all of the ways that the CWS family works to realize our vision of a world where everyone has food, voice and a safe place to call home. I hope you see your welcome, love and generosity reflected in this report, because I see it in action every single day.

Yours in mission,

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Rick Santos
President and CEO
Church World Service

Our Mission

2022 continued to test the strength, resilience and determination of neighbors around the globe. Hunger and poverty, natural disasters and wars – despite these challenges, the unwavering support from CWS donors and friends allowed us to keep working toward a world where everyone has food, voice and a safe place to call home. Together, we ensured communities thrived, families flourished and our neighbors never walked alone.
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Our Mission

2022 continued to test the strength, resilience and determination of neighbors around the globe. Hunger and poverty, natural disasters and wars – despite these challenges, the unwavering support from CWS donors and friends allowed us to keep working toward a world where everyone has food, voice and a safe place to call home. Together, we ensured communities thrived, families flourished and our neighbors never walked alone.
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Responding to Disasters

Leidy and Jorge’s Story

Because of compassionate supporters, CWS walks with neighbors on the road to recovery no matter how long it takes. Leidy and Jorge Sarmientos lost everything two years ago when Hurricanes Eta and Iota hit their community in Honduras. This year, support from CWS donors and friends enabled the Sarmientos family and 92 others to participate in a CWS-sponsored emergency restoration program. Through this program, families received critical supplies to rebuild their homes and resources like agricultural training, seeds and livestock to restore their livelihoods.
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Welcoming New Neighbors

Shukria's Story

Like many other Afghans, when Shukria boarded a plane out of Kabul in August 2021, she did it because she had no choice. It was a matter of life and death. Shukria was one of thousands of Afghan evacuees CWS welcomed through the Afghan Placement and Assistance program after Afghanistan’s capital fell to the Taliban. With help from generous friends, Shukria is building a new life in the United States and working as a CWS case manager to help other refugees. As the number of displaced people increases in our world, CWS supporters continue to be there every step of the way – providing vital support to refugees in the United States and around the world.
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Strengthening Communities

Joseph’s Story

This year, global hunger and food insecurity rose to alarming new levels. As people struggled to provide for their families, CWS supporters came alongside communities as they nurtured businesses, raised livestock, planted gardens and grew crops. A CWS vegetable farming program helped hundreds of our neighbors in Tanzania learn valuable skills to support sustainable farming. Moize Munenwa Joseph, one of the program’s lead farmers, credits the program for improving the yield on his farm. Your support gave Joseph a way to provide for his family of eight and use the skills he’s learned to help his community flourish.
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Displacement:

Finding Peace and a sense of Home

A home is so much more than a place to sleep at night. It’s a safe haven, a comfort zone, a place where memories and traditions are created. 

After Russia attacked Ukraine, Julia and her husband decided she would leave home with their children, while he stayed in Ukraine to continue working as a driver to support the family. Julia knew an abrupt departure would be jarring, but the alternative was worse. 

Julia and her children fled to a CWS-supported Refugee Accommodation Center in neighboring Moldova. Like many refugees fleeing violence, they traveled light – leaving behind the comforts of home. For Julia, that meant abandoning a routine that was the source of fond memories with her children. “My younger son loves when I prepare sweets,” she said.

The shelter lacked basic kitchen equipment like a stove and refrigerator, so Julia’s family ate simple meals that didn’t require much – until the compassion of CWS supporters reached the shelter. 

Thanks to donors like you, Julia and her boys found a sense of comfort when the shelter received $28,000 worth of kitchen equipment. “We are happy to participate in preparing the meals and creating a bit of atmosphere that reminds us of home,” she said.  

Nearly 32 miles away in another part of Moldova, other Ukrainian children who had left home with their mothers were also feeling the effects of war.

No school, no activities and no time with friends. Cherished moments of their childhood passed them by. 

CWS teamed up with a local organization establish an educational center for refugee children and their families. The center provides computer and wi-fi access for children to learn, a safe place for them to enjoy activities, form friendships and be a kid again.

“I enjoy spending time here and making new friends,” shared Michael*, one of the children visiting the center. 

“There are no words to explain how good it is to do online lessons in a special space dedicated to us,” shared Eva.* 

Through your support, Julia and her family, Eva, Michael and other Ukrainian refugees in Moldova found a sense of home in the chaos of war – and hope in times of uncertainty. 

*Names changed to protect refugee identities. 

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Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine forced millions of people to flee to neighboring countries. CWS quickly mobilized to respond in Moldova — one of the poorest countries in Europe and the country with the most Ukrainian refugees per capita. CWS has worked with local partner organizations in Moldova for over 20 years, focusing on sustainable livelihoods and renewable energy projects. Our Ukraine humanitarian response continues that approach, working alongside host communities and local organizations to reach over 5,500 refugees and community members in need. Whether through safe housing, education access, protection assistance or vital food and supplies, CWS continues supporting the most vulnerable and marginalized. As needs stretch from short to medium-term, integrating refugees into host communities and livelihoods support is a top priority. In the coming year, CWS aims to scale up our partner network and response to reach at least 10,000 refugees and host community members in Moldova.

Our Presence

Thanks to the overwhelming compassion of our donors and volunteers, CWS programs operated in 28 countries this year and reached families in dozens more. Check out the maps below to see a sample of what we achieved together this past year.
 WHERE WE ARE  WHERE WE REACH
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Funding Our Work

Our FY2022 audited financial statements have not been finalized and will be posted on our website as soon as they are available.

Awards

John Backer Champions 4 Change Award

When Kabul, Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in August of 2021, thousands of Afghan friends and allies were instantly in danger of persecution and death. In just over a year, through the Afghan Placement and Assistance program, CWS has welcomed 7,644 Afghan refugees and we will continue providing vital support to Afghan refugees who are building a new life throughout the country. This monumental accomplishment would not have been possible without the Afghan advocates and community leaders who stepped up to share their skills – offering to translate for new arrivals and case management for their fellow Afghans. In the spirit of John Backer and in honor of this group of Champions, we recognize the the group of Afghan refugees who are now CWS Staff members. They have been dedicated to supporting and welcoming new arrivals over the past year in CWS local communities.

CWS Ecumenical Award

CWS is proud to present this year’s Ecumenical Award to Diaconia Social Mission in Moldova. When Russia invaded Ukraine, millions of Ukrainians fled to the safety of neighboring countries. Moldova has welcomed the highest number of Ukrainian refugees relative to its population. We have been proud to partner with Diaconia for months to offer shelter, supplies and an educational center to Ukrainian refugees and the Moldovan communities who have welcomed them with open arms. The staff and volunteers from Diaconia are role models for what compassion and generosity look like in the face of a humanitarian emergency, and we are proud to recognize them with this award.

National VOAD Member of the Year

We are honored to receive the honor of National VOAD Member of the Year. This past year has brought cascading crises resulting from tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, war, violence and other emergencies. Together with community partners across the country we welcomed thousands of Afghan evacuees to new homes, assisted unaccompanied migrant minors impacted by the deadly tornadoes in Kentucky, and supported long term recovery groups in several states who are making their neighborhoods stronger and more resilient. This award means so much to us and to our many partners, staff, community groups and volunteers whose great compassion and generosity make this work possible.

Awards

John Backer Champions 4 Change Award

When Kabul, Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in August of 2021, thousands of Afghan friends and allies were instantly in danger of persecution and death. In just over a year, through the Afghan Placement and Assistance program, CWS has welcomed 7,644 Afghan refugees and we will continue providing vital support to Afghan refugees who are building a new life throughout the country. This monumental accomplishment would not have been possible without the Afghan advocates and community leaders who stepped up to share their skills – offering to translate for new arrivals and case management for their fellow Afghans. In the spirit of John Backer and in honor of this group of Champions, we recognize the group of Afghan refugees who are now CWS Staff members:

  • Fatima Mohmand - Interpreter, CWS Durham
  • Hamidullah Amiry - Winchester Office Director, CWS Virginia/Winchester
  • Khovaja Samir Seddiqi - Paralegal for Immigration Legal Services, CWS Greensboro
  • Mohammad Hares Aria - Case Manager, CWS South Florida
  • Sayeed Azhar - Immigration Legal Counselor, CWS Lancaster/Harrisburg
  • Shabina Nasiri - Refugee Health Promoter, CWS Jersey City
They have been dedicated to supporting and welcoming new arrivals over the past year in CWS local communities.

CWS Ecumenical Award

CWS is proud to present this year’s Ecumenical Award to Diaconia Social Mission in Moldova. When Russia invaded Ukraine, millions of Ukrainians fled to the safety of neighboring countries. Moldova has welcomed the highest number of Ukrainian refugees relative to its population. We have been proud to partner with Diaconia for months to offer shelter, supplies and an educational center to Ukrainian refugees and the Moldovan communities who have welcomed them with open arms. The staff and volunteers from Diaconia are role models for what compassion and generosity look like in the face of a humanitarian emergency, and we are proud to recognize them with this award.

National VOAD Member of the Year

We are honored to receive the honor of National VOAD Member of the Year. This past year has brought cascading crises resulting from tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, war, violence and other emergencies. Together with community partners across the country we welcomed thousands of Afghan evacuees to new homes, assisted unaccompanied migrant minors impacted by the deadly tornadoes in Kentucky, and supported long term recovery groups in several states who are making their neighborhoods stronger and more resilient. This award means so much to us and to our many partners, staff, community groups and volunteers whose great compassion and generosity make this work possible.

Spotlights

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Volunteer Spotlight

Claretta Witherspoon, Mt. Pleasant Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, Greensboro, NC

“I go in with the attitude of what am I going to learn,” shares Claretta Witherspoon, captain of Mt. Pleasant Christian Church’s Refugee Welcome Team.  The Christian Church Disciples of Christ denomination encouraged her church to partner with CWS to welcome families. And for 19 years, Claretta has helped welcome refugees from all over the world (Montanyards, Liberians, Colombians, and now Sudanese). She says the key to her church’s success and positive experience is the training, support and weekly calls with CWS case managers. Some families quickly “soar like eagles” and only need the church to prepare an apartment; other families need more support and encouragement to “blossom and fly on their own,” she shares. 

But no matter the need, Claretta has been there to help. She’s learned to use Google translate for important conversations like job applications. She plays rhyming games with the children to help them learn English, and she has perfected her charades skills when language barriers exist. Even when language is a barrier, Claretta knows that compassion always translates. It’s evident as she’s warmly greeted each time she pulls into the driveway of a family she’s helping. “The 3-year-old little boy runs outside with a cold bottle of water. He gives it to me with his whole heart,” she shares. 

Claretta laughs as she reflects on all the fun she’s had meeting and interacting with refugee families. “It has been extremely rewarding and has really gotten our church energized,” she said. Both the volunteers and the families they welcome are strengthened by the experience. “They teach me creativity, how to make things work. I learn new recipes and try new foods,” shared Claretta. “The mother of this family fixed boiled eggs a new way for me that I’ll be doing at my house!” 

Claretta’s advice to anyone considering volunteering: “Do it. Don’t cheat yourself out of an excellent experience.”

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Crop Hunger Walk Spotlight

Cream of the CROP: 2021 Top 100 Walks

Year after year, amazing fundraisers make up our top 100 Cream of the CROP list. Whether a top 100 Walk, Team or Individual Walker, each is committed raising money to end hunger one step at a time.
View the full Cream of the CROP list
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International Funders Spotlight

A Trusted Partner in Delivering Impact

In 2022, nearly 50 government donors, foundations and corporate philanthropy programs trusted CWS to deliver life-changing programs and resources to displaced and underserved populations worldwide. We continue to be a top provider of services for refugees and the displaced for the U.S. Department of State, and have longstanding relationships with private donors such as the Open Society Foundations, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Airbnb.org. We are excited about new relationships built with donors like the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Alstom Foundation. For these as well as other donor governments and the United Nations, CWS has been a strong steward of funding to support refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable populations around the world.  

Here are some examples of how our institutional funding changed lives in 2022:

  • UNHCR funded CWS to implement protection monitoring, a new initiative on the U.S.-Mexico border, interviewing over 1,300 asylum seekers.
  • Canadian Foodgrains Bank, through our longstanding partnership with The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, funded solutions to agricultural and food insecurity in Tanzania including food assistance and technical training. 
  • Through partnership with the Arcus Foundation, CWS established a longevity of support among LGBTQI+ persons within Kenya and South Africa.
  • Because of Airbnb.org’s support, CWS can provide free and safe temporary housing across the United States to newly arriving refugees.
  • Through support from two church partnerships, United Methodist Commitee on Relief and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, CWS was able to provide services to asylum seekers in Miami, Jersey City, Houston and Chicago.
View the full list of funders

Take Action

CWS is continually inspired by our supporters and their efforts to bring about a world where there is enough for all. Whether through monetary gifts or the gift of your time and energy, your support turns an idea into action, a dream into a reality, and has a powerfully transformative impact on the lives of many.

Here are several ways that you can make a difference:

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With your support, we can continue to impact lives and help transform communities across the globe.
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