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.
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,
President and CEO
Church World Service
Leidy and Jorge’s Story
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.
| ||WHERE WE ARE|| ||WHERE WE REACH|
Funding Our Work
John Backer Champions 4 Change Award
CWS Ecumenical Award
National VOAD Member of the Year
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
CWS Ecumenical Award
National VOAD Member of the Year
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.”
Cream of the CROP: 2021 Top 100 Walks
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.
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: