The CWS Blog


AmeriCorps member strengths cultural orientation delivery at Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC)

By Francesca @ Minnesota Council of Churches | April 5, 2017

As I drive up to the classroom for the second day of cultural orientation workshops, I can’t help but worry about attendance. Will students make it to class having only learned how to ride the bus the day before? Will those with longer commutes make their various transfers and connections? Will they be willing to […]

Making space for the invisible among us

Ishmael Ochola | March 30, 2017

March 31 is International Transgender Day of Visibility. Everyone deserves to live and work with equality and dignity. However, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in Kenya are still fighting for this human right, just like in other parts of the world. This is due to prevalent mistreatment and discrimination from transphobic members of the community. […]

National VOAD Recovery Workshop in South Carolina

Susanne Gilmore | March 22, 2017

Communities in South Carolina were affected by widespread flooding in the fall of 2015 and again in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. Over 16 counties experienced devastating flooding during both disaster events. The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster Long Term Recovery Committee, which I currently chair, was approached by FEMA to […]

Reaping the Water Dividends

Caleb Wafula | March 21, 2017

What’s the one thing that can connect food security, education, peace, security and sustainable development? You will agree with me, that it must be water. However, as we mark World Water Day, we must remember that globally over half a billion people do not have access to clean water. This is quite depressing! To tackle […]

Two CROP Hunger Walks, decades apart

Barbara Frandsen | March 14, 2017

Fifty years ago, I was married to a minister. We served the First Christian Church in Killeen, Texas. As the minister’s wife, I needed to find my way to serve, which  turned out to be as a sponsor of the youth group. At that time, many young soldiers from Fort Hood, teenagers themselves, attended our […]

Preparing hidden communities for disaster response

Sandra Kennedy-Owes | March 9, 2017

The CWS U.S. domestic disaster response program focuses on preparedness, response and recovery among vulnerable groups within disaster-prone areas in Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Jersey…

Two journeys, 25 years apart

Leslie Wilson | March 7, 2017

Recently, I spent a few energizing hours with two dozen teenage girls who, after an astoundingly circuitous journey from East Africa to Indonesia, have found themselves in the care and protection of Church World Service. The girls each left home on their own in search of safety and asylum, and none of them has relatives […]

Women speak up!

Abigail Oduol |

The dry arid landscape suddenly gives way into wild grasses and straw huts dotting the landscape like a painting from a children’s book. Red, black and blue basins were dipped into the river and sat carefully on its bank, swirling a packet of laundry detergent into the pristine water. An echo arose and grew louder […]

Water is Life

Jo Wyrick | February 16, 2017

In early February, there was a water main break in Chapel Hill / Carrboro, North Carolina, that created an emergency water shortage. For 24 hours, families couldn’t use clean water. This is a reflection from Jo Wyrick, the coordinator of the Chapel Hill / Carrboro CROP Hunger Walk, from that day. This morning I made […]

Strength from within

CWS Cambodia team | January 30, 2017

Home to just 315 people, Sok San is a tiny isolated community in northern Cambodia’s Battambang province that can only be reached from a small footpath from a main road through the area, which is mountainous and full of challenges. Malaria risk is high in Sok San, and there are uncounted numbers of landmines still […]

We need YOU this spring

Mary Catherine Hinds | January 27, 2017

For many of us, the world today looks drastically different today than it did a year ago. The past year has brought a tremendous amount of change in our nation and in our world. No matter what your political affiliations are, last weekend’s marches showed that millions of Americans aren’t satisfied with standing still. Each […]

Letting kids be kids…

Andrew Gifford | January 17, 2017

I’m not a parent, but I’m definitely a “kid-person.” I think children are fun to be around, they’re hysterical little people to watch and they’re incredible to watch as they grow and develop both in stature and intelligence. Just over seven years ago, two of my closest friends asked me to be their newborn daughter’s […]

Reflecting on REFLECT

Davide Prata |

It just started to rain here in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp in western Tanzania. I am sitting inside a simple wooden structure covered by a plastic sheet roof. With me are 40 Burundian refugee women who live in the camp, all of whom are proudly involved in a new CWS-led refugee empowerment project. We are all […]

The smell of the market

Laura Curkendall | December 22, 2016

Pike Place Market is one of the crown jewels of the tourist scene here in Seattle. When friends visit from out of town, my husband and I make sure we take them to Pike Place. We brave the crowds – very rarely is the market anything other than shoulder-to-shoulder tourists – so that our guests […]

Renewable energy technologies: a win-win in Georgia

Dragan Srekovic | November 18, 2016

For families living in poverty, it can be hard to plan for the long term. When your daily challenges are hunger and cold or you’re trying to determine how a meager income can cover basic expenses, less immediate challenges often fade into the background to be dealt with later. When I visited the village of […]

Rice banks: ending hunger many grains at a time!

CWS Cambodia Team | November 8, 2016

Imagine, for a moment, that you are a poor farmer in rural Cambodia. You and your husband or wife are trying to make ends meet and take care of your young children. There are only 65 or so families in your community. Most are in the same situation you are – trying to get by […]

Hope, resilience and innovation on the Thailand-Myanmar border

Leslie Wilson | November 7, 2016

For more than 20 years, hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers from Myanmar (Burma) have lived inside Thailand along the Thai-Myanmar border – next to their country yet far from their homes . Last week, I visited one refugee camp that is home to about 6,000 people, mainly from the Karen ethnic group, who live in […]

Refugee education in Cairo: a family affair

St. Andrew's Refugee Services |

CWS partners with St. Andrew’s Refugee Services – also known as StARS – in Cairo to provide a number of services and opportunities to the city’s refugee population. Among those programs is the Children’s Education Program. The following is an excerpt from the StARS newsletter about that program. StARS has always thought of itself as […]

In search of the origin of LARA and CWS

Yukiko Maki | November 4, 2016

CWS Japan wouldn’t have been established if there had not been the 2011 East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Actually, it was more like a fateful ‘comeback’ of CWS to Japan. CWS Japan did exist 70 years ago during the postwar period for the mission of LARA. The name LARA has gained renown nationwide due to […]

A sweet treat: pumpkin coconut custard

Isaree Khreusirikul | October 31, 2016

An age old question: is a pumpkin a vegetable or a fruit? When I was young, I thought pumpkin was a vegetable best served as a savory snack. However, pumpkin is also an excellent ingredient for a variety of delicious desserts! One famous Cambodian dessert is Pumpkin Coconut Custard, or as it is called in […]

When a rainy Walk day is a happy Walk day

October 28, 2016

On a windy and stormy day in October, good people of every gender, age and race once again called attention to the plight of others on our earth. These were our CROP Hunger Walkers, who took their faith and love outside the sanctuary. As rain bounced off the sanctuary roof, contributing a quiet background rhythm […]

Providing homes for young refugees in Jakarta

Leslie Wilson, Andi Juanda and Dino Satria | October 27, 2016

The CWS Protecting Urban Refugees through Empowerment – or PURE – program in Jakarta is expanding! In partnership with the UNHCR, the Department of State Bureau on Population, Refugees and Migration and the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, we are opening new group homes for unaccompanied or separated refugee children. Below, three CWS […]

Vocational Skill Training: Critical to Youth Empowerment in Karamoja

Caleb Wafula |

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “youth”-especially in Africa, and more so in the chronically deprived and historically insecure pastoral areas of Karamoja in Northern Uganda? The Youth have been variously labelled as warriors, cattle rustlers and perpetrators of crime and violence. Simple as it may sound, it is a moral […]

CWS and Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea to collaborate on future disaster response

Leslie Wilson | October 26, 2016

In late September, CWS-CROP signed an Memorandum of Understanding with the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea – known as PROK – to facilitate cooperation and productive collaboration in preparing to respond, and when responding, to disasters, particularly in Asia. I was truly honored to join the PROK 2016 General Assembly in Seoul and […]

From one neighbor to another

Kevin Murphy | October 20, 2016

When Sherry Beard, coordinator of the Reno-Sparks CROP Hunger Walk in Nevada, left church in the pouring rain last Sunday morning, she wasn’t sure whether anyone would show up for the Walk that afternoon. On Saturday Sherry had sent me an email asking for prayers for the Reno-Sparks community. She wrote, “Please pray for us […]

When short-term aid isn’t enough

CWS Myanmar team | October 19, 2016

U Pauk Sa and Daw Hla are a married couple in their 60s who live in one of an endless number of flood-affected villages in southwest Myanmar. They live with their daughter and three granddaughters. U Pauk Sa cannot work because he is recovering from a stroke. Daw Hla weaves grass mats, which their daughter […]

For refugees in Cairo, calm and hope amidst the challenges

Steve Weaver | September 20, 2016

Last month, I spent some time visiting CWS partner agency St. Andrew’s Refugee Services – better known as StARS – in Cairo. StARS serves about 11,000 refugees each year with a range of critical services in the sectors of education, psychosocial support, legal aid and protection. During my time at StARS, I observed a math […]

Our commitment to building confidence and self-reliance

Tauch Norneath | September 19, 2016

Recently, I joined 33 of my CWS colleagues in Phnom Penh for a three-day educational workshop on disability. Our staff came from several provinces to learn how CWS can help reduce barriers in our program activities for people with disabilities. First, we reviewed the definition of disability, the physical and social barriers to community inclusion […]

Everything ends up in the ocean!

Lipi Agrawal | September 15, 2016

The Our Oceans Conference takes place this week in Washington, D.C. Organized by the U.S. State Department at the request of Secretary of State John Kerry, this international event will bring together youth activists, environmentalists and political leaders from many countries to discuss marine pollution, sustainable fisheries and marine protected areas as well as the […]

Giving voice to “the forgotten people”

September 12, 2016

I first visited colonias around Corpus Christi and the West Side of San Antonio, Texas, in May of 2016. I was there as part of the domestic emergency response pilot program through CWS. Near Banquete, Texas, I met with colonia residents at the monthly food distribution that has been organized for years by Lionel and […]

The New ‘Normal’ of Extreme Weather-Based Disasters

Jasmine Huggins | September 1, 2016

In what is being labeled an almost “biblical” flood, 13 people were killed and 30,000 were rescued from rooftops, homes or cars after 39 hours of steady rainfall in Louisiana last month. Staggering losses resulted. More than 11,000 persons are in now shelters and 600,000 houses were damaged. Perhaps fewer than 40 percent of homeowners have […]

A Warm Welcome at the White House for Immigrant Leader

Fadia Abdelrahman | August 23, 2016

Earlier this year, Fadia Abdelrahman, President of the Sudanese Community in Central Pennsylvania and an immigrant leader in the CWS network, had the opportunity to attend the first ever Eid al Fitr celebration at the White House with her two daughters. Reflecting on the experience, she noted how the experience made her feel not only […]

One Humanity

Michael Koeniger | August 19, 2016

On World Humanitarian Day, we recognize the humanitarian aid workers who stand on the front lines of conflict and disaster, braving tremendous dangers and difficulties to help those who need it most. One of these humanitarian aid workers is my colleague, Harun Tambing. Harun has been a team member and leader in many of the […]

World Humanitarian Day: Building Resilience in East Africa

Caroline Njogu |

“World Humanitarian Day is an annual reminder of the need to act to alleviate the suffering. It is also an occasion to honour the humanitarian workers and volunteers toiling on the frontlines of crises. I pay tribute to these dedicated women and men who brave danger to help others at far greater risk.” – United […]

World Humanitarian Day: behind the numbers

Takeshi Komino | August 15, 2016

By the time that the East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami struck Japan in 2011, I had been an international aid worker for years. I had been part of CWS emergency response efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar and Thailand already. As a Japanese national, I was always “an expat” in my work. Generally, things had to […]

Three days in Tana Toraja

Michael Koeniger |

Day 1 I am in Tana Toraja on South Sulawesi island in central Indonesia this week to meet with community and government partners. Together, we will be building on the Indonesian government’s Resilient Village initiative in a new program called SOLIDARITAS. SOLIDARITAS will address the issues that communities face as they begin to adapt to […]

They gave me a voice

Luciano Cadoni | August 12, 2016

This is Elis Regina dos Santos, a confident and outspoken 21-year-old speaking to the Brazilian congress in March at a special event regarding discrimination against Afro Brazilian Youth. She is an outstanding community leader, and I’m proud to say that CWS had a role in getting her to where she is today. A decade ago, […]

World Breastfeeding Week: Progress in Vietnam

CWS Vietnam team | August 1, 2016

Po Thi Thanh, 33, has been working at the Muong Te district health center in the rural north of her country of Vietnam for more than a decade. One of her priority tasks is to hold community awareness-raising events for women about breastfeeding and healthcare for pregnant women, especially in the remote villages of Vietnam’s […]

Promoting Better Lives. Together.

Isaree Khreusirikul | July 25, 2016

Our team in Cambodia is continuing our integrated community development work in a new project called Promoting Better Lives. This will be a two-year project that will support 67 communities in Battambang and Preah Vihear provinces in central and northwest Cambodia. Though this project is not specifically designed as a disaster response project, it has already supported distribution […]

For Burundian refugees in Tanzania, turning waiting into self-reliance

Davide Prata | July 22, 2016

More than a year since Burundi’s current crisis began, more than 140,000 men, women and children remain in refugee camps in Tanzania, unable to return home. The spread of violence within Burundi, coupled with an economic collapse, mean that Burundian refugees in Tanzania will likely not be able to safely return home soon. As the […]

Compassion in Aktion (Club!)

Megan Miller | July 20, 2016

On June 14th, the monthly meeting of the Westminster, Maryland Aktion Club opened with business as usual: one member rang the bell, another took attendance, the treasurer gave a report on club finances, and the president made announcements about upcoming club happenings. Next, the Aktion Club focused its attention on a service project, something that […]

The life-changing magic of the PEDRA program in Mozambique

Sarah B. Tum | July 18, 2016

When she stood up to address the students and parents at Molumbo Boarding Center in Zambezia Province, Mozambique, Alefa Jome made me think about the life changing magic of the CWS Bursary program. At only 20, Alefa can speak confidently and with great respect. Alefa is among the recipients of a PEDRA (“stone” in Portuguese) […]

Celebrating Mandela Day with Safe Spaces in South Africa

Guillain Koko | July 15, 2016

This July 18th, colleagues from around the world will join the Church World Service Pretoria office in celebrating the International Mandela Day for Freedom, Justice and Democracy. To prepare for the day, the CWS Safe Space Program in South Africa has conducted trainings with faith leaders on how to create safe spaces for LGBTI refugees […]

Congressional briefing on Setting the Global Table: Faith, Food Security and Nutrition

Maurice A. Bloem and Martin Shupack |

The Interfaith Working Group of Foreign Assistance was formed in April 2013 to bring together Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other faith communities to advocate for robust funding of humanitarian and poverty focused development assistance. The IWGFA currently includes 50 participating organizations and is co-chaired by Bread for the World and CWS (the latter is represented […]

Ripple effects: agricultural training in Cambodia

Seng Layseang | July 8, 2016

Last month I joined a dozen farmers from central and northern Cambodia for a four-day workshop hosted by CWS about climate resilient agriculture linked to markets. Participants learned new techniques for growing organic vegetables, making organic fertilizer and pesticides and identifying markets to determine the best prices at which to sell produce. As I listened […]

Handwashing. We take it seriously!

July 7, 2016

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. That definitely proved to be the case for Rev. Vy T. Nguyen, Executive Director of CWS partner Week of Compassion and Rev. Brandon Johnson, who recently visited CWS-supported projects in Kampong Thom province in north central Cambodia. Vy and Brandon had the opportunity to meet […]

Applying spiritual principles to climate change

Ian Hamilton | July 1, 2016

The last six years of my professional life have revolved around the concepts of environmentalism, sustainability and climate change. One of the most interesting experiences during this period was the three years that my family spent living and working in Tunisia. When people ask why we were based in Tunisia, I usually give a fairly […]

The poverty trap of perennial flooding of Kenya’s Tana River

Caroline Njogu |

The best place to start this story is probably at the beginning. In early June, I traveled to Kenya’s Tana River to visit communities whose homes had been destroyed by recent flooding. The purpose of the trip was to help us better plan our Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) work in the area for the next […]

Why are farmers being killed or harassed in CWS-priority countries?

Martin Coria | June 28, 2016

CWS has a long history of partnering with local churches and civil society groups in Honduras, the Dominican Republic  and Paraguay to eradicate hunger and poverty and promote peace and justice, especially in rural areas where low-income farmers and Afro-Latino and indigenous families struggle to produce enough food to eat. These are also nations where […]

Meeting the new Cambodian Minister for Rural Development

Isaree Khreusirikul | June 27, 2016

Our CWS team in Cambodia regularly partners with the Ministry of Rural Development to ensure that we are effectively meeting needs of rural communities. We work primarily in remote areas where government services aren’t enough. Our programs in Cambodia include the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene – conveniently known as WASH – Training Resource Center as […]

Pakistan, drought and climate change

Fr. Tomas King | June 22, 2016

This blog has been adapted from a piece in the March/April edition of the Columban Mission magazine. Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ endorses the science that says human activity is a major contribution to the ecological crisis facing planet Earth. “A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of […]

Injustice Calls Us to Welcome the Immigrant in Mississippi

Anna Del Castillo | June 21, 2016

Growing up in South Mississippi was a formative, frustrating, and eye-opening experience. As the daughter of a first generation Peruvian-Bolivian immigrant father and a social justice activist mother, much of my childhood was spent in immigrant communities. When I was a child, my mother helped start a hispanic ministry through the United Methodist Church called […]

Leading and learning by example: peer exchanges in the Argentinian Chaco

Margot DeGreef |

  At CWS, we are continually learning, whether it is from other people, organizations, countries or mistakes. In that spirit, we have encouraged an exchange program between our food security program in the Northwest of Haiti and our South American Gran Chaco program. In 2013, the Program Officer working with CWS’s Gran Chaco program visited […]

Many hands make light work

Alex Morse | June 6, 2016

“Many hands make light work.” In Haiti’s Northwest Department, this is more than just a common saying. This is the principle behind the work that Foods Resource Bank supports through CWS and other partners. I recently traveled to Haiti and met with some of the cooperatives that the program supports. Through the work of local […]

Japan earthquakes: stories of resilience

Takeshi Komino | May 27, 2016

It has been more than a month since the Kumamoto earthquake in Japan. Hundreds of aftershocks continued for weeks. Homes and businesses were destroyed, and thousands of people were displaced. Because the quakes happened right at the beginning of a new school year, tens of thousands of children had their school year disrupted. A month […]

Standing up for Humanity: Commitment to Action

Takeshi Komino | May 25, 2016

The first World Humanitarian Summit from May 23-24 in Istanbul convened 9,000 participants from 173 countries, and the Summit reaffirmed to restore humanity at all levels. The Chair’s summary was issued, which emphasizes acting early to prevent conflict, addressing the root causes of conflict, adhering to international humanitarian law and strengthening the role of local actors in […]

Update from Istanbul: the World Humanitarian Summit starts tomorrow!

Takeshi Komino | May 22, 2016

The final preparation day has concluded in Istanbul, and the World Humanitarian Summit starts tomorrow morning.  The booth of the Japan CSO Coalition for DRR – in which CWS  plays a secretariat role – is set, with its key commitments and “10 Lessons from Fukushima” in various languages.  This will be a booth where we will proactively communicate […]

Emmanuel’s Optimism and Hope

Jean Guy Kwuimi, Project Officer, CWS South Africa | May 21, 2016

Emmanuel has spent much of his thirties seeking asylum in South Africa. He is now 40 years old, and regularly renews his asylum seeker permit that allows him to live, study and work in South Africa. He has had to continually renew his permit since he began his application, almost five years ago in 2011. […]

World Humanitarian Summit: preparations are underway!

Takeshi Komino |

The final countdown for the World Humanitarian Summit has begun.  The actual summit is in a day and half, and CWS, along with partners and colleagues from Japan, ACT Alliance, Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network, Global Network for Disaster Reduction, and WHS Regional Steering Group member for Asia, is getting ready here in Istanbul.  The […]

Global Superheroes: Ani and Nini

Maurice Bloem | May 19, 2016

If we are to achieve the Global Goals by 2030 we must start by empowering girls and women. Data and experience has taught us that goals that work for women and girls are goals that will work for the world. Therefore we consider 2016 as the year for girls worldwide to be global superheroes, the […]

When we dare to listen

Rev. Dr. Curtis Karns | May 18, 2016

When we dare to listen, God often speaks to us through nature.  In scripture a bush burns but is not consumed; a new star shines and the Savior is born; a donkey refuses to go forward and so tells us what fools we are, walking into danger. “Listen,” Job 12 tells us, “the birds in […]

Still Going Strong

Marie Ramtu | May 17, 2016

Mental Health and Well-being of LGBTI Refugees In northwest Kenya, only 80 miles by road to South Sudan, is the country’s second largest refugee camp.  Frequented by dust storms and flash floods, the land surrounding the Kakuma Refugee Camp is challenging.  Still, the camp today hosts over 100,000 refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi, […]

For Europe’s Roma communities, bright hope despite steep challenges

Maurice Bloem | May 6, 2016

Europe’s Roma communities face daunting challenges that come from decades of marginalization. A lack of proper legal documentation means limited access to housing, education and job markets. As a result, these populations can be particularly vulnerable to different forms of exploitation. In Belgrade, Serbia, CWS and our partners assist Roma communities, particularly women and children, […]

Waiting…but for how long?

Maurice Bloem | April 22, 2016

If you’ve watched the news in recent months, you’ve almost certainly seen the stories of refugees fleeing in large numbers to Europe: more than one million in 2015 alone. Families are fleeing from terror, devastation and, in many cases, war zones in search of safety and security. In Serbia, CWS has been working alongside the […]

Creating a durable solution for Burundian refugees in Tanzania

Davide Prata | April 20, 2016

Today I am at the youth center hall of the Nduta Refugee Camp in western Tanzania. CWS and our ACT Alliance partner Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service contributed to renovate this community space in January. Since then, hundreds of youths have come here every day to participate in sport, theater, music and information sharing groups. This […]

Crystalizing Disaster Risk Reduction efforts into a National Action Plan for Kenya

Caroline Njogu | April 18, 2016

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to represent CWS at the National Disaster Risk Reduction workshop in Naivasha, Kenya. This workshop was organized by the Kenyan National Ministry of Interior and Coordination in conjunction with the Office of the United Nations Strategy for Disaster Reduction and UN Women. Last year the United Nations adopted […]

Fighting climate change and poverty in Georgia

Maurice Bloem | April 11, 2016

In the nation of Georgia, the average rural family makes under 3,000 USD annually, and unemployment is 70 percent. Often, these rural communities don’t have public access to electricity. As families cut trees for wood to heat their houses, cook and meet other basic needs, deforestation and the corresponding environmental challenges have been on the […]

Making invisible children visible

April 8, 2016

“I don’t tell my friends about my dad because they make fun of me, they say that I’m a thief’s son.” – Juanito, 11, lives in the Dominican Republic and is the son of  a father who has been in prison for three years. It has been two years since he saw his father. CWS […]

Counting the Safe Space Milestones in Kenya

Marie Ramtu | April 4, 2016

It’s been exactly two years since the Safe Space Program was initiated in Kenya. Around the globe, gender and sexual orientation non-conforming persons continue to be persecuted, enduring both physical and psychological harm. In spite of legislation in some countries to protect individuals, many still are forced to flee communities and their homes. Within Africa, […]

Climate change and the right to food in Haiti

Jasmine Huggins | March 30, 2016

One-third of the population of Haiti – more than one million households – is food insecure. The nation faces a serious drought as the result of El Nino, which has been aggravated by the results of climate change. As I mentioned in my International Women’s Day blog, it is an understatement to say that farmers […]

Protecting Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from the effects of climate change

Jasmine Huggins | March 23, 2016

Advocates recently reminded us that unless rapid and urgent action is undertaken, the world is at risk of irreversible damage; not within centuries, but decades. Just last week, retired NASA  Scientist James Hansen said that “we are at risk of handing over a planet to our children and grandchildren that is out of their control.” […]

Water in Haiti: primary need, or luxury?

Margot DeGreef | March 21, 2016

The soil is dry and cracked, houses are dusty, animals skinny. Inhabitants of rural communities in the Northwest department of Haiti have not seen such a prolonged and extreme drought before. Water is without a doubt the one and most important primary need of people to live and to survive. Yet, even at the occasion […]

Safe water, healthier students in Vietnam

CWS Vietnam team |

“From now on our students will have safe drinking water and no longer drink the unsafe well water from the field near the school.” -Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thao, Thanh Cong Kindergarten No. 2 Principal, Thai Nguyen province, northern Vietnam In late 2015 a CWS-supported school water and sanitation program began in Thanh Cong commune, one […]

Ending water woes in Mondi, Kenya

Caleb Wafula |

Poverty is an epidemic in the Mondi area of Baringo County, Kenya. The terrain and climate of the region are rough, the road and communication infrastructure are poor and the region has been embroiled in protracted  conflicts with neighboring communities. Most important is the lack of access to safe and clean water for domestic use […]

International Women’s Day: Haitian women carry a disproportionate burden

Jasmine Huggins | March 8, 2016

“We need to lighten the burdens on the backs of Haitian women..  On international Women’s Day, Haitian women commemorate the battle that we are still fighting to have our rights recognized and to play a full equal role in Haitian society. ”  – Marie Frantz Joachim, Solidarite Fanm Ayisyen. Marie Frantz Joachim is the coordinator of Solidarite […]

We already are

Amber Blake | March 7, 2016

1/22/16: “Is it difficult being a woman leader in this community?” Marta Gutierrez (La Vanilla, Nicaragua) is clearly confused by my question. I’m asking the wrong thing. Let’s try again with someone else. Later, on 1/22/16:  “Why did you decide, as a woman, to step up?” Marina smirks as she looks around at Nance, Nicaragua’s […]

“One of the proudest moments of my life”

Abdikani Hassan | February 22, 2016

One of the proudest moments of my life was getting a job with CWS RSC Africa in Pretoria, South Africa. In 1996, when I was eight years old, I fled Somalia and began living in Ethiopia. I was in the town of Jijiga and went to boarding school in Addis Ababa. In 2008, upon completion […]

Six Years Away From His Family – Jacques’ Story

Shawn Smucker | February 12, 2016

This post was originally published on shawnsmucker.com. The sky spit a cold rain on that January afternoon, the kind of light mist that barely makes it to the ground. I locked the door of our house on James Street and walked south on Queen, down past The Belvedere and the street lined with shops and […]

A reflection from the U.S. / Mexico border: governments looking to the Church

Jen Smyers | February 5, 2016

I just returned from a heart-wrenching trip to McAllen, Texas and Reynosa, Mexico. These communities face one another in the Rio Grande Valley, pierced by a jagged border of fencing, walls, levies and patrols. The trip was planned by National Justice for Our Neighbors, a United Methodist ministry that provides immigration legal services across the […]

What´s in a map? CWS Chaco Program helps indigenous communities recover land and plan for the future

Fionuala Cregan | February 4, 2016

In the heart of the Argentinean Chaco a dusty seven hours by road from the nearest city of Salta is Lote Fiscal 14-55.  One of the areas with the highest levels of poverty in the country, it is also one of the largest land claims in all of South America involving  1576, 532 acres of […]

Hala, Bothaina and Nadia

Jovana Savic | February 3, 2016

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have passed through the registration center in Presevo, Serbia – it’s the entry point for refugees passing through Serbia from Macedonia. I have been organizing CWS’s response to the refugee crisis in Europe since September, and I have seen hundreds of families come through Presevo. Thousands of faces, each with […]

A journey to survive

Patrick Walker | January 28, 2016

The Pacifique family is much like any other. Enjoying meals together, working, and going to school, their daily routines are the same as millions of other Americans. However, their journey to create this life was far from ordinary and often a journey to survive. Their journey started in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, the […]

Death threats and detention in Paraguay

Fionuala Cregan |

This article by CWS staff Fionuala Cregan refers to a report documenting death threats, illegal detention and other acts of violence against human rights defenders in the Chaco region of Paraguay. It was originally published by Intercontinental Cry here: https://intercontinentalcry.org/death-threats-and-detention-in-paraguay/ The protection of those working to defend the rights of the poor and margainlized is […]

Turkey and biscuits: the less-mentioned ingredients for safe communities

Brianne Casey | January 27, 2016

For the past two years, Kessler Park United Methodist Church has brought together church members and newly arrived refugees to share a First Thanksgiving Meal.  In 2014, 65 church members and recently arrived refugees came together to give thanks and share food while children played games. In 2015, the church planned to repeat the successful event. […]

A new borehole well in Tanzania

January 26, 2016

If someone told you today that you only have 15 liters of water: How would you use them? For cooking, showering and washing clothes; would that 15 liters be enough for you? 15 liters of water per person per day – about four gallons – is the minimum requirement to be delivered during an emergency. […]

Drought and climate change in Haiti

Rony Janvier | January 25, 2016

In recent years Haiti has suffered from a recurring drought characterized by the lack of rainfall and drying up of several water sources in rural areas. One of its root causes is the uncontrolled felling of trees in local forests for the production of charcoal. Last summer, especially, the heat rose to an unimaginable, even […]

CWS Kits support newly-arrived refugees in Ohio

Anna Berger | January 19, 2016

For newly-arrived refugees in the United States, the worries are many. How will I learn English? Where will I live? How do I get help for my medical condition? How do I enroll my children in school, and who will help them to get to school everyday? How do I make friends here? At Community […]

SAFE Act harms refugees

Erol Kekic | January 15, 2016

Earlier this week I had the pleasure to hear Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, speak at Seton Hall in New York City.  She spoke to the students and audience members on how the world looks to the U.S. to lead on the great issues of our time. The world is currently facing […]

New year, new you

Dominick Cordi | January 8, 2016

It’s the beginning of a fresh new year, a time to make New Year’s resolutions. A time to better yourself by parting with negative habits that hold you back from your goals, while creating new healthier, positive habits to assist in making yourself into a “better you”. Our New Year’s resolutions determine the direction that […]

Seventy never looked so good

January 6, 2016

Church World Service turns 70 in 2016. The journey of our agency from 1946 to today is nothing short of miraculous and next year will see a renewal of CWS and our mission. CWS was formed at the height of the refugee crisis after World War II. Millions were displaced, hunger was rampant. The world […]

Bonne Annee – “Happy New Year”

Rev. Russell Pierce | December 30, 2015

Twenty years ago today I was walking through the Rwanda refugee camps surrounding Goma, Zaire (now the Democratic of the Congo). This was not the typical Christmas break experience for a college student.  Traveling as a designated observer for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), one of CWS’s long-time partners, my task was simple: […]

Christmas Eve reflections

Rev. John L. McCullough | December 23, 2015

In his Gospel, Matthew writes, “Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way.” Luke opened his text noting, “I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you…” The Christmas narrative we revere today is the result of scholarly work. In fact, all […]

Oh Holy Day

December 18, 2015

Don’t we all have that one person (or those dozen people) in our lives for whom, every year – every single solitary stinkin’ year – we think: Oh holy day. WHAT are we going to get (him/her/them) this year? EVERY year, we ask ourselves this question, right?! Often more than once. Often with such inner […]

#WeChooseWelcome

Rev. Virginia Lohmann Bauman | December 14, 2015

Last week I made a new friend.  Her name is Leena Ayesh, and she is a 17 year old Muslim youth who lives in Columbus, Ohio with her family.  She attends a local school and she knew a lot more about my iPhone than I did, just like my own 17 year old daughter! Leena […]

COP21: World leaders must listen now on climate change

Rev. John L. McCullough | December 11, 2015

Pope Francis could not have been any clearer in his message: We, as humans, have a clear duty to take care of creation and protect “our common home.” It is not just about the planet, but also a concern for people, for individuals, families and communities whose lives are being transformed by climate change. Let […]

Xa’s Courage

CWS Vietnam team | December 7, 2015

Ly Lo Xa, 13, is from the La Hu ethnic minority group, a nomadic tribe without a tradition of sending children to school. His house is in a mountainous village, Ta Ba, where many of the community members face poverty. The roads and paths are in poor condition and Xa and his fellow students travel […]

Melecio’s story: three years later

Alex Morse | December 3, 2015

You have been introduced to Melecio Cantoral before. He is a farmer living in a rural and mountainous part of Honduras with his family, three hours from the nearest paved road. Thanks to a CWS and Foods Resource Bank program implemented by local partner CASM, Melecio learned and put into practice a number of new […]

I am joining COP 21 in Paris. Here’s why.

December 2, 2015

1988 was an important year. My son was born, and the U.S. Senate was first alerted to the threat of climate change. Three years later, I personally learned about climate change as a graduate student. I learned from my instructors who monitored global temperatures, rainfall patterns and sea level rise. Ice core analysis for climate […]

Global Warming and the Pan African Summit on Climate Change

the Rev. John L. McCullough | November 27, 2015

Two weeks ago, I addressed representatives from all over Anglophone Africa: parliamentarians, ministers of the environment, faith leaders and civil society leaders. The occasion was the Pan African Summit on Climate Change which took place in Nairobi, Kenya. I was there in my capacity as the US Ambassador for the ACT Alliance Climate Change Campaign. […]

Rep It For Refugees

Hana Sahar | November 25, 2015

How are CWS and fitness competitions related? On a chilly Sunday in November, Liberated Fitness in New York City generously agreed to host Rep It for Refugees, where $1,610 was raised for the CWS response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Gym members and their friends signed up to participate in a fitness competition held in […]

Creating welcome spaces one child and one family at a time

Ivette Pineda | November 23, 2015

In the midst of the anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric that is currently dominating our politics, it’s not easy to see the path towards a society where all are welcome. At North Valley Caring Services this path is already being established one child and one family at a time. NVCS’ Family Literacy Program provides the necessary […]

The Syrians I know

Sarah Ivory | November 20, 2015

The Syrians I know are shy middle schoolers who love science and look up to their mom who was a physics teacher before her country fell apart. The Syrians I know work hard to learn English and complete cultural orientation and love to laugh and make silly faces and joke with their friends. The Syrians […]

Emergency aid for Myanmar flood survivors

Leslie Wilson | November 19, 2015

A largely silent, slowly growing disaster continues wreaking havoc on the lives and livelihoods  of tens of thousands of poor rice farming families in the Irrawaddy River delta of far Southwest Myanmar (Burma). This is an area much of the world first knew of only because the massively destructive Cyclone Nargis, which made news headlines […]

Supporting Burundian refugees in Tanzania

Davide Prata | November 13, 2015

I am sitting on an old wooden school desk in the youth center of Nduta refugee camp. I am looking at more than fifty single mothers, all of them refugees from Burundi. Today we are all attending a training organized by CWS, in partnership with Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service, to raise awareness on human rights […]

Small steps towards welcoming communities

Erol Kekic | November 11, 2015

Just over two months ago, the world was held captive by the image of a Syrian toddler who tragically drown as he and his family fled the widespread violence in their home country. His photo and the story of his family’s struggle to seek safety touched the hearts of millions and gave the tragic situation […]

Historic Election Day in Myanmar

Yoko Ito | November 9, 2015

As I went to sleep in a very quiet Yangon last night, I was hopeful that all of Myanmar would remain calm as results from  historic elections, which I am privileged to witness, came in.  Waking up to the news that the National League for Democracy – the opposition party of the famous democracy activist […]

From Kenya to New Jersey: ministry and mission with refugees

Pastor Jim Butler | November 3, 2015

As the Care and Community Pastor of NextGen, an American Baptist Church, I’m privileged to help lead our mission experiences both abroad and in New Jersey.  At NextGen we believe that vision, mission and action are at the core of a thriving faith community. Last August we took a group of youth and adults to […]

Refugee and migrant crisis in Europe: Life on the road

Jovana Savic | October 30, 2015

Since September I have been organizing the CWS response to the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe. This is a complex emergency. But the needs of the families I am meeting are not. So often, the first request we hear is for bread. The road for these refugees is long and the children are hungry. […]

Providing school supplies in Vietnam

CWS Vietnam team | October 28, 2015

Heavy rains recently hit northern Vietnam in Quang Hanh district of Quang Ninh province, located near three big coal mines. During the flash flooding, a dam holding back coal residue broke, damaging many homes and the Quang Hanh Kindergarten and Tha Cat Primary schools. The Quang Hanh kindergarten has around 800 students between the ages […]

Hurricane Patricia, Climate Change and God’s Call to Protect Creation

Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie | October 27, 2015

This blog was originally published by The Huffington Post on October 26 here. Two historic events collided this past week: Hurricane Patricia, the most dangerous hurricane in recorded history hit Mexico and diplomats from around the world gathered in Bonn for UN climate talks meant to produce a new accord to be signed this December in […]

Invisible children, invisible hunger

Martin Coria | October 19, 2015

Children in households with one of its members incarcerated are more likely to experience hunger. With more than 1.3 million people in prison, a growing number of children across Latin America share one thing in common: an incarcerated parent. A risk-factor poorly researched and understood by child advocates, policymakers, practitioners and donors, parental incarceration has […]

World Food Day: Fighting hunger and poverty in rural Indonesia

the CWS Indonesia team | October 16, 2015

Social protection and agriculture: Breaking the cycle of rural poverty is the theme of World Food Day today. It is important to highlight the importance of agriculture in reducing rural poverty and helping ensure people’s access to food. In Indonesia, massive disparities persist between urban centers such as Jakarta, which are mostly located on Java, […]

40 years of ending hunger in Erie County

Leslie Wilson | October 15, 2015

The chance to walk last week’s 40th anniversary Erie County CROP Hunger Walk with 600 fellow Pennsylvanians was a great privilege for me and my two sisters who were able to join me from Rochester, NY and Chicago, IL.  The 5.5 mile walk along the shores of Lake Erie on a sunny, cool fall day […]

CROP Hunger Walk 2015: many faces, one goal

Holli Long | October 12, 2015

This blog was originally published by Holli Long here. This year, my family and I participated in our third CROP Hunger Walk.  Well, for three of us, it was our third.  For my husband, more like his 10th or 12th or so as he grew up walking with his family.  It was the second year […]

Building the welcome for Syrian refugees in Lancaster

Christine Baer and Halley Gradus | October 9, 2015

As we watch the crisis of Syrian refugees and pray for all those lost on the Mediterranean Sea, CWS in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is welcoming several Syrian refugee families from the current crisis. On a rainy September weekend, a five-bedroom townhouse in Lancaster city is undergoing a special transformation. The building, which has been sitting empty […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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

Fionuala Cregan | September 23, 2015

“For Indigenous peoples, the earth is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best. Nevertheless, in various […]

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 […]

National Citizenship Day 2015

Dev Bhandari | September 17, 2015

As we celebrate National Citizenship Day and National Welcoming Week, we asked Dev Bhandari, a Bhutanese refugee resettled in North Carolina, to share what citizenship means to him. As a soon-to-be citizen of the United States, he shares his thoughts on what it means to be a citizen and how it will impact his life […]

My story of refugee resettlement

Amina Abdul Qayum | September 15, 2015

Fifteen years ago, my family and I came to Richmond, Virginia, as refugees from Afghanistan. I am still amazed at how my parents were able to make the move. How could we suddenly bring ourselves to leave the place we called home for thousands of generations? Or leave behind people we loved knowing that we […]

Behind the façade of immigrant family detention

Rachel Smith | September 14, 2015

On a humid Saturday morning in Washington, D.C., I sat on the steps of a Columbia Heights church with twenty other immigrants’ rights advocates. Speaking a mix of English and Spanish, we practiced songs and chants as we loaded into cars headed towards Berks Family Detention Center. Earlier that week, and similar to most of my time at CWS, I had researched immigration legislation, made visits to Capitol Hill for Congressional hearings and briefings, and analyzed proposed reforms to the family detention system. Despite my work to prepare and knowledge of the system, I had no idea what I would actually see later that day as I witnessed the realities of family detention first-hand.

Four hours later, our caravan pulled up on a rural country road in Leesport, Pennsylvania, surrounded by over 100 other activists and their families from Philadelphia and the surrounding communities. Restricted from the detention center property itself, we gathered on a grassy area across from the parking lot. We stared at the place that many of us had talked about so many times in our advocacy work and what so many politicians lauded as a solution to an outdated and immoral immigration system. What most people first commented on was how unsettling it wasn’t. It looked like a brick elementary school, with a soccer field where children were playing. It didn’t seem like a prison – there were no fences around the kids’ field, just cones marking their play area. It was nothing that lived up to my previous ideas of prison. It was down the road from a quiet public library where daily life in the community went on around this center.

2015 is the time for global action

Zero Hunger | September 9, 2015

This piece was originally printed on the Zero Hunger Challenge blog: http://blog.zerohungerchallenge.org/global-goals-zero-hunger/ 2015 presents a historic and unprecedented opportunity to bring the countries and citizens of the world together to decide and embark on new paths to improve the lives of people everywhere. These decisions will determine the global course of action to end poverty, […]

Fighting climate change TOGETHER in Uganda

Sara Bedford | September 2, 2015

Longorok Lolen looks down with a frown and adjusts the red Karamojong woven cloth hanging over his shoulder. “All of the old men say that it didn’t used to be like that.” He is talking about changes in the weather cycles essential for his livestock, farms and his own health. He is talking about climate change. Lolen lives in a remote region of Uganda, about an hour’s walk off the nearest sub-county road that can barely be meandered by car, through a rough dirt road across a sizeable river.

On the walk to our destination: a micro-watershed site that is part of the TOGETHER program implemented by CWS, MAP International and ECHO and supported by the St. Mary’s Methodist Church Foundation. Lolen passes two cows that lie dead from a tick-borne disease on the road. For the Karamojong, their cattle are the lifeblood of culture: a source of livelihood, assets, pride and a centerpiece to any community activity. Families are already dangerously short on food with crops not due until this later this month. The community chooses to deal with diseases that may result from eating the meat instead of facing continued hunger.

For many parents, the start of school means a return to good nutrition

Mary Catherine Hinds | September 1, 2015

Facebook is full of “first day of school” pictures and updates about how happy everyone is to be finally sending the kids back. My fellow working parents and I are breathing a collective sigh of relief that we managed to cover child care all summer long. On the flip side, stay-at-home parents are looking forward […]

The stories of Nyarugusu Refugee Camp

Jason Knapp | August 28, 2015

As I walked slowly through the camp, the crowds of refugees would quickly gather around me. The kids squeezing in first, the men and women gathering quietly around them. A community leader would soon narrate the enormous difficulties of daily life here in the camp, the horrors of the past weeks and months. It’s now […]

Who’ll stop the rain?

Matt Hackworth | August 26, 2015

Franklin Elementary School looks like any other in New Orleans, surrounded by shotgun homes and a small playground where once colorful ladders and slides have faded and weathered under years of happier memories. Just inside the gray, two-story building is a place where the children who survived Hurricane Katrina re-visited the terrors that come with […]

Reflecting on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Donna Derr | August 25, 2015

Although many colleagues will tell you that I often have an adverse reaction to the “anniversary” events around major disasters, they are, in fact, often a time of reflection for me as I think about how such events highlight both the weaknesses in our response systems and the best of our humanity as we respond […]

These shoes were made for walking

Middletown CROP Hunger Walk Committee | August 21, 2015

In Middletown, New York, one of our CROP Hunger Walk participants has developed a unique yet practical approach to communicating his participation in the Walk. He purchased a pair of neon orange running shoes dedicated specifically for fund raising for the Walk. Ten months out of the year these shoes reside in their box in […]

Responding to floods in Myanmar

Ye Htwe | August 18, 2015

I arrived in Tamalo village located in the Ayeyarwady Delta region of Myanmar (Burma) with staff and volunteers last week.  Although the village had already begun to flood, we knew the situation would become much worse with the forecast of more rain in the coming days. CWS is working in the Delta region to educate […]

Children of incarcerated parents: an invisible population in the Dominican Republic

Luciano Cadoni | August 14, 2015

Since 2013, CWS has been actively supporting different actions and initiatives geared towards raising awareness about the rights and needs of the 2,000,000 children and youth from Latin America and the Caribbean that have an incarcerated parent. As part of these efforts, and thanks to the support of the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic, […]

Indigenous communities fighting climate change

Princess Daazhraii Johnson | August 11, 2015

The crying of a loon carries across the lake – it’s more of a howl, actually – and I say to Chief Galen Gilbert, “zhoh?” To my untrained ears it sounds so much like a wolf, and I have wolves on my mind since one had just wandered into the village the week before.  The […]

Peer Education for Hygienic Latrines

Huong Nguyen and Ngo Dung | August 5, 2015

In remote and mountainous villages in the northwest of Vietnam, where many ethnic minority groups live, most people do not know that open defecation near streams is a health risk not only to their own families, and their neighbors, but also to the other families in communities in downstream areas. Since 2010 CWS has been […]

Oklahoma: A Climate of Denial and a Climate of Silence on Climate Change

Rev. Dr. Mark Davies | August 4, 2015

Oklahoma is one of the most overtly religious states in the United States, and Oklahoma may be more culpable than any other state in its responsibility for the practices and policies that contribute to human induced global climate change. Being critical of oil and gas company practices is the “third rail” that very few dare […]

Stories from the Field: The RSC Africa Regional Deployment Unit

Kevin Brassell | August 3, 2015

Djibouti is a very small nation, with Somalia to the south, Eritrea and Sudan to the north and Ethiopia to the west. In this small space, there are three distinct refugee camps, named Ali Addeh, Holl Holl, and Obock.  In the past, the camps have traditionally housed primarily Somali and Eritrean refugees, however recently a […]

Testing how radiation levels affect children in Fukushima

Leslie Wilson | July 29, 2015

Of all the activities CWS supports in Asia, this one – measuring, documenting and sharing radiation levels information following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster – is most amazing to me. Here is my brilliant colleague who decided to address the fact that radiation effects on children need to be measured low to the ground, and […]

What water and latrines mean in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp

Aaron Tate | July 20, 2015

The pump of the water truck rumbled, letting the camp know that the day’s water was coming. Two giant plastic water tanks installed by CWS and local partner Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service were being filled. The owners of the buckets that had been left in the queue since earlier today came to take their place […]

Celebrating Children in Haiti

Rodrigue Joseph | July 10, 2015

Haitian children look forward to the National Day of Children every year as their special day. Thirty-five percent of the Haitian population is less than 15 years old. The two main Haitian governmental institutions working on child protection, the National Institute of Social Wellbeing and Researches and the Brigade of Protection of Minors, hold in […]

Clean Water for Kindergarten Children in Vietnam

Leslie Wilson, Nguyen Thi Huong and Quoc Dung | July 7, 2015

When given the chance to partner with CWS member the Disciples of Christ to work with a community with a clear and present need, our CWS team in Vietnam readily named the Thanh Cong commune. Not least because it is one of the poorest places in northern Vietnam, but also because we have a partnership […]

Our Churches Are Burning

The Rev. Dr. Earl Trent | July 1, 2015

Our churches are burning. In the two weeks since the massacre at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, fires at predominantly African-American churches are again terrorizing communities. Now is the time for the United States of America to confront this violence visited on houses of worship and the African-American community, directly and resolutely. During the […]

Bringing Water to Refugees

Aaron Tate | June 25, 2015

As I step on to the red dirt of Nyarugusu Refugee Camp in Western Tanzania, I am surrounded. Of course, the children come first, they greet the car as it rolls up and they follow us as we get out, laughing and joking as we go. We visit the mass shelters laid out in rows, […]

Welcoming the Pope’s Clear Message on Climate Change

Jasmine Huggins | June 23, 2015

Last week, Church World Service joyfully welcomed Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si (Be Praised). In it, he calls for a new relationship between humankind and the earth; reduced consumption; a renewed focus on people living in poverty and for justice in their access to and quality of natural resources; for greater investments […]

World Refugee Day: Hard work pays off for family

Edwin Harris | June 19, 2015

Everything on the walls is crisp and unwrinkled. The white carpet is so clean that it almost shines. It’s not hard to see 41-year-old Nai Ponyar’s work ethic evidenced in every part of his two-bedroom apartment in Carrboro, North Carolina.  A calendar with two pens neatly tucked under the eight remaining months of 2015 sits […]

Weeping for Charleston

Rev. Dr. Earl Trent | June 18, 2015

Last night, a peaceful Bible study group was shattered by an act of senseless gun violence in Charleston, S.C. It is with profound grief, sadness and tears that Church World Service reacts to the tragic shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, an historic congregation of the CWS member African Methodist Episcopal Church. The […]

World Refugee Day: We are one

Mandy Maring | June 17, 2015

Sitting on the curb outside his Durham, North Carolina, apartment complex, James shares his mantra, “We are all one.” It’s an accepting and inclusive declaration, especially coming from someone who has faced unimaginable oppression and religious persecution. His legal name is Mohammad Mirab, but he goes by James.  His father died while James was still […]

World Environment Day 2015: Lessons from Sesame Street

Jasmine Huggins | June 5, 2015

Was anyone out there a hardcore Sesame Street fan?  I certainly was.  Perhaps I should be embarrassed, but even today, at my ripe old age, I still remember many of those songs and their lyrics so very well.  One of them was about Willie Wimple, who walked around the streets tossing garbage everywhere, in streets […]

Somalian 16-year-old escapes for a new life

Lisa Hayes | May 20, 2015

When I recently visited the CWS refugee center in Jakarta, Indonesia, I spoke with a 16-year-old girl from Somalia. Covered in the traditional Muslim hijab, she had a thin frame and shy demeanor. For security reasons, I’m not able to reveal her name nor show her face. But I can tell her story. “I saw […]

Mud is heavy and other lessons in disaster response

Barry Shade | May 13, 2015

Mud is surprisingly heavy. That’s the very first thing I learned about disaster response.  It was 1972 and I was in my twenties, helping a family friend clean up after Hurricane Agnes caused the nearby Juniata River to rise to 30 feet above the flood stage. The basement and main level of our friend’s house […]

Mothers and Water

Beth Oppenheim | May 8, 2015

Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate and appreciate the mothers and women that form our cities, communities and ourselves. We may get together for a nice meal, or just to spend time with those we care about if we’re lucky enough to live close by. This Mother’s Day weekend, I myself am 9,000 miles […]

In Northeast Uganda, “God Brings the Clouds and Clouds Bring the Rains”

Chris Herlinger | April 30, 2015

Near Kotido, Uganda — In the Karamoja region of northeast Uganda, talk about climate change is well beyond the theoretical. People here know the changes in climate are real. Though the region has had ups and downs in recent years with rain and dry spells, the overall patterns in general are clear: drought is taking […]

Ecumenical Advocacy Days: Mass Incarceration and Systems of Exploitation

Luciano Cadoni | April 22, 2015

“We’re here to raise the voice of those whose voices have been shut.” These were the words of Emira Woods, one of the main speakers at Ecumenical Advocacy Days this weekend, where I had the opportunity to present a workshop in my capacity as CWS staff. This year’s theme was “Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration […]

Freedom Bound: Sermon from Cathy Han Montoya’s End of Life Celebration

Rev. Noel Andersen | April 21, 2015

Cathy Han Montoya was an amazing organizer, strategist, visionary and best friend to all in the immigrants’ rights and queer movements. As a result of senseless and apparent random violence, she was tragically murdered in her home on April13, 2015, leaving behind her wife and family. There are no adequate words to comfort us, but […]

First Refugee Arrival in Jersey City

Mahmoud Mahmoud | April 17, 2015

An individual would never flee his or her country given the choice. On the contrary, a refugee flees his or her country of origin because they have been persecuted because of their race, religion, political opinion, nationality or they are a member of a particular social group and cannot return because they will be harmed. […]

It’s a Moral Tragedy to Continue the Delay on President’s Immigration Actions

Rev. Linda Jaramillo and Rev. John L. McCullough | April 16, 2015

This article was originally pubilshed on The Hill on April 16, 2015: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/civil-rights/238995-its-a-moral-tragedy-to-continue-the-delay-on-obamas Justice delayed is justice denied. Last July, we stood in front of the White House with 112 clergy and immigrant leaders in civil disobedience to tell President Barack Obama that we could not wait for relief from deportation any longer. After continued […]

Getting uncomfortable: why we’re joining the Moral Imperative to End Extreme Poverty

Rev. John L. McCullough | April 8, 2015

My first call after I was ordained as a minister in the United Methodist Church was to a wealthy congregation in Massachusetts. It was a comfortable assignment, but it wasn’t where I needed to stay. God was about to call me to a very uncomfortable place. I left New England for a small village in […]

Zita’s Story: Her Journey from Central African Republic to the U.S.

Zita Solange, as told by Suzanne Colton and Therese Murray | April 7, 2015

As originally published by CWS-RDU, 03/27/2015 CWS volunteers Suzanne Colton and Therese Murray had the opportunity to meet with Zita Solange, a refugee from the Central African Republic, who was recently resettled by CWS in Durham, North Carolina. Like many refugees fleeing persecution, Zita became separated from her family through the conflict in CAR and […]

My Heart Went Out to the People of Vanuatu This Weekend

Jasmine Huggins | March 26, 2015

As CWS launched its appeal for the island of Vanuatu, devastated on March 13 by Tropical Storm Pam, my heart went out to the people of this small island nation.   The cyclone decimated dozens of villages.  Thousands have been left homeless.  Root crops – a staple of the national diet – have been stripped from […]

Syria: Responding to an Unprecedented Crisis

Steve Weaver | March 23, 2015

This month marks the 4th anniversary of the devastating war in Syria with little hope of it ending anytime soon.  This conflict has led to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world with 3.9 million Syrians escaping to surrounding countries and another 7.8 million displaced within Syria.  That means nearly half of Syria’s 24 million […]

Clean Water Makes All the Difference

Lisa Hayes | March 20, 2015

Poverty is widespread in Soe on the island of West Timor in Indonesia. Poor infrastructure, lack of educational opportunities and little access to basic necessities creates major challenges for people living in rural areas. On my visit there, I met with Nakor Sabu, a community leader in Oeulasi village outside of Soe, and his wife […]

Implementation of the New Framework Would be the Key!

Takeshi Komino | March 18, 2015

After hours and hours of negotiations, the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction has finally come to an agreement, and the new framework is now called “Sendai Framework for Action: 2015-2030.” Some of the topics that concerned some states during the negotiation have been around inclusion or deletion of certain words, such as conflict […]

Interfaith Dialogue on the Role of FBOs in Disaster Risk Reduction

Takeshi Komino | March 16, 2015

ACT Alliance and Soka Gakkai International held an interfaith session on the role of faith based organizations in reducing disaster risk. John Nduna, Secretary General of ACT Alliance opened the session that overfilled the room and forced us to turn away many. The session highlighted the strength of FBOs, especially on their outreach capacity, material […]

Vanuatu and Reducing Disaster Risk: Who Will Shape the Future?

Takeshi Komino |

Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu, leaving unprecedented damage to the pacific island state.  Vanuatu president Baldwin Lonsdale told media at the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction that ’90 percent of buildings in the capital’ have been destroyed. The country must start anew.  The president also indicated that “after all the development that has taken place, […]

More Focus on Technological Hazards for the First Time Ever

Takeshi Komino | March 14, 2015

CWS Japan took part in one of the official proceedings of World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction called “Working Session:Technological Disaster from Risk to Recovery”.  In fact, this was the first time in history that technological disaster has been brought up in such a high-level DRR conference as one of the main sessions.   The post-2015 […]

Fukushima: The Situation is Not Under Control

Takeshi Komino | March 13, 2015

The Global Citizen’s Conference on Fukushima held this week in the city of Fukushima has attracted many citizens, activists and organizations from both Japan and abroad.  The conference has officially launched the booklet “10 Lessons from Fukushima – Reducing risks and protecting communities from nuclear disasters.”  During the conference, citizens from Fukushima have raised their […]

During Lent: Fasting with a Purpose

Lisa Hayes |

As a Christian, I observe the season of Lent with prayer, fasting and almsgiving. On days when I fast, I think back to a boy I met in one of the CWS unaccompanied minors’ shelters in Indonesia. He is a Rohingya refugee from Myanmar (for security reasons, I can’t use his real name). The Rohingyas […]

Our women can now give birth in peace

Sarah Krause | March 6, 2015

In January of this year, I visited several CWS water projects in West Pokot County, one of the driest areas of Kenya. The county is prone to drought, with erratic rainfalls and temperatures that average 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Here, CWS partners with Yang’at, an organization that began in 1999 by a group of college girlfriends […]

In Cambodia, Self-Help Groups Build a Foundation for Solidarity

Nou Vary | March 3, 2015

(Editor’s note: In late January, CWS Cambodia Partnership Project Coordinator Nou Vary joined two annual meetings for self-help groups organized by the Khmer Community Development Association, known as KCDA, which is a CWS Cambodia project partner. Here are Nou Vary’s reflections on the meetings, and her impressions of the impact the groups have on local […]

FFA and CWS: 60 Years and Going Strong

Andrew Gifford | March 2, 2015

What’s your longest friendship? Maybe 10… 20… 30 years? Can you imagine having a friendship for over 60 years?! I’m sure some of you can, but my guess is that most of you are like me. I’m literally just under halfway there myself as far as birthdays go so to think of having a friend […]

Foreign Assistance: Why It Works and Why We Gotta Do More

Rev. Noel Andersen | February 24, 2015

The average American believes we spend a whopping 26 percent of the U.S. budget on foreign aid – but the fact is that we actually spend less than one percent. On top of that, the amount actually dedicated to humanitarian response and alleviating poverty, disease and hunger is only 0.5 percent. Yet the best kept […]

Refugee Children in Indonesia

Lisa Hayes | February 20, 2015

When I first arrived at a shelter CWS runs for unaccompanied minors, it appeared dorm-like. Perhaps like a fraternity house on a college campus, with many boys sharing rooms, about 10 bunking in each. It appears normal – the boys eat together, play sports, study English. But there are many differences between the youths here […]

5 Must Know Facts on the Texas Court Ruling on Immigration

Jen Smyers | February 18, 2015

As you may have heard, a Texas judge has issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks the implementation of President Obama’s new DAPA and expanded DACA programs. Below are 5 important facts for you to know and share with your community, and attached is a briefing note on the decision. 1. Individuals who currently have […]

Land Rights Equal Justice

Paul Jeffrey | February 12, 2015

Ten years ago today, 73-year old Dorothy Stang was gunned down in the Brazilian Amazon as she read from the Beatitudes to her killers. Dorothy was Catholic nun, a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, and she had spent almost forty years as a missionary in Brazil, accompanying rural families as they […]

A Roma Education in Belgrade

Brandon Gilvin | February 9, 2015

The cold war era high rises cast a long shadow behind us as we trudge along the muddy lane to the settlement.  It’s been an unseasonably warm winter, so the ground is still wet from the floods from several months ago.  It’s passable–if you dodge the puddles. Both sides of the lane are covered with […]

On the Border – from Fear to Hope

Rev. Noel Andersen | February 3, 2015

Over 500 people are estimated to die along the U.S.-Mexico border every year as they flee from poverty and extreme violence, searching for safe refuge. Many of those who perish on the treacherous journey are never found, their remains lost to the extreme conditions of the desert wilderness. A loss which never allows their family […]

Climate Change is Fact. Now is the Time to Act

Jasmine Huggins | January 28, 2015

I thought that my father was joking when he told me this story years ago, but it turns out that he was right.   Roast pork was not invented by a creative cook, but by a hapless peasant who inadvertently one day burnt his hut down with all his pigs in it.   Upon entering the smoldering […]

The Essentials

Matt Hackworth | January 26, 2015

The roads have been salted. My driveway has been, too. The i-things have all been charged. We have plenty of food. Toilet paper. Oreos and popcorn. The fireplace is even operational, with plenty of blankets to go ‘round. All life’s essentials, right? Essentials. It’s funny how that definition is so fluid when someone like me, […]

When Disaster Strikes, a Need to Organize Recovery Quickly

Carol Fouke-Mpoyo | January 22, 2015

Karen C. and Martin K*. are among more than 10,000 southeastern Michigan residents  whose homes suffered damage and loss last August from devastating flash flooding. Both are trying to do what they can on their own to clean up.  And despite their own best efforts, both find themselves coming up short.  Government aid, insurance payments […]

Together, a Uganda Community Feels Empowered, Organized

Chris Herlinger | January 20, 2015

I recently heard from a Roman Catholic priest I interviewed last year during an assignment in South Sudan. He told me that some of those he knew who had fled during political violence had died of hunger. My heart sunk when I heard this. Though crises like those in South Sudan often cause food, and […]

Defending our Victories for Immigrant Families and Children

Jenny Siegel | January 16, 2015

Together the CWS network has been part of huge victories for immigrant families in 2014. We fought to keep protections and humanitarian screenings for Central American children fleeing violence while the House of Representatives wanted to take it away. We assured ample funding for refugee resettlement when they tried to repurpose it. We won executive […]

Here’s the Honest Truth about Haiti

Martin Coria | January 12, 2015

I honestly believe five years after the January 2010 earthquake that hundreds of thousands of lives have changed for the good in Haiti. At the same time, I think one of the wisest and responsible things foreign and local humanitarian agencies can do the next five years is to remind ourselves and others of the […]

Dreaming of Citizenship

Zana Devlin | January 9, 2015

A long time ago, before I even started high school, my dream in life was to study and work in a country where I was free and could pursue any kind of studies that I wanted to.  To be exact, I wanted to study and work in the United States. Growing up in Prishtina, Kosovo’s […]

His Donation Took My Breath Away

Rev. Phil Hoy | January 6, 2015

As we walked in our CROP Hunger Walk on the West Side of Evansville on a cold Indiana day, a man carrying a backpack who appeared to be homeless, asked why we were walking. When told we were walking for hungry people in our community and throughout the world, he reached into his backpack and […]

On New Year’s: To Change the World, Start Changing Your Habits

Chris Herlinger | January 1, 2015

I’m old enough to know that New Year’s resolutions do me little good. Like a lot of people, I can be full of ambitions for things like more exercise, less weight and a cleaner desk. But I usually stumble by Feb. 1. The life lesson for me? I’d do better to chip away at things […]

What a Difference 10 Years Makes

Matt Hackworth | December 26, 2014

As Indonesians came to grips with a natural disaster that would forever change their lives, Church World Service went to work helping communities to meet immediate and long-term needs. In the initial days and weeks following the Dec. 26, 2004 disaster CWS worked alongside international ACT Alliance and other local partners to provide immediate help: […]

What a Difference 10 Years Makes

Matt Hackworth |

As Indonesians came to grips with a natural disaster that would forever change their lives, Church World Service went to work helping communities to meet immediate and long-term needs. In the initial days and weeks following the Dec. 26, 2004 disaster CWS worked alongside international ACT Alliance and other local partners to provide immediate help: […]

Indonesia Tsunami – 10 Years On

Michael Koeniger |

I vividly remember the collective gasp on the plane as we broke through the clouds near Banda Aceh and the coastline came into view for the first time; it was early January 2005 and below us was a scene of utter destruction that stretched as far as one could see. The tsunami had travelled far […]

Home for the Holidays

Rev. Amy Gopp | December 24, 2014

At this festive time of year, I can’t help but recall the many Christmases I have spent away from home.  I am mindful of so many in our world that can merely dream of being “home” for the holidays.  Home, for some, is but a distant cherished memory, as they remain exiled in refugee camps […]

A Future with Hope

Joya Colon-Berezin | December 23, 2014

A few years ago, Church World Service created a short video titled A Future with Hope. The video invites congregations, and people of faith, to partner with CWS in the unique face-to-face ministry of welcoming refugees – acting as friends and mentors as refugee families resettle in the United States. The name for the video […]

A Fukushima Mother’s Story

Yukie Hashimoto | December 19, 2014

Knowledge, empowerment, and future preparedness I have spent days that felt both long and short these three and half years since the Great East Japan Earthquake.  The experience during these three years was something my family and I have never gone through before. My hometown is just 50km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. […]

Nuclear on agenda for World Conference in Sendai

Takeshi Komino | December 18, 2014

At the 2013 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, a Japanese newspaper article stated “Nuclear will not be on the agenda of World Conference in 2015.” Someone was trying to advocate for this and the Japanese government’s stance was the same as this headline. They stated that the Hyogo Framework for Action should […]

What’d you give?!

Rev. Courtney Richards | December 15, 2014

“What did you give?” “What’d you get? What’d YOU get? What’d you GET?” Isn’t that often the refrain? At birthdays, Christmas, whatever gift giving occasion there may be … we see the size of the box, or hear the rattle, or wonder at the shape and we always want to know what someone gets. But […]

2014: In Humanitarian World, Fight Against Climate Change and Hunger Continue

Chris Herlinger | December 10, 2014

The year in the humanitarian world? It ends with agencies scrambling to respond to another typhoon in the Philippines (luckily not as severe as last year’s but still plenty worrisome), as well as bravely continuing work in the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. What 2014 has principally been, though, is a year of constant and churning […]

ICN2 – Better Nutrition Means Better Lives

Julia Suryantan, M.D. | December 9, 2014

We know that to achieve nutrition security, we need not only food, but we need good quality of food, and access to health care, safe water, sanitation and a healthy environment. In late November, I and over 2,200 other participants attended the Second International Conference on Nutrition, including representatives from more than 170 governments, 150 […]

“Whaddayaknow” About Giving?

Amy Porter | December 3, 2014

Every year, I am impressed with the Nashua Interfaith CROP Hunger Walk in New Hampshire for their commitment to raising awareness as well as funds to fight hunger locally and globally. This year at Nashua’s 30th anniversary Walk, the group took the lead of Deirdra Schmidt, long-time education coordinator for the Walk, to create a […]

Faced with Insecurity, We Find Solidarity

Malinda Britt | November 24, 2014

Last year, Honduras declared a state of emergency due to coffee rust plague, a plant disease that caused widespread devastation of farms across Central America. For families living in the rural communities of Nueva Frontera, a municipality in western Honduras, devastation is an understatement. Whether they are small coffee producers or hand labor on larger […]

Championing the Cause of the Hungry Can Exact an Ultimate Price

Chris Herlinger | November 20, 2014

This week the world commemorates the killings, 25 years ago, of six Jesuit priests (five of them from Spain), the clerics’ housekeeper and her teen-age daughter. All were killed on the grounds of Central American University, a Jesuit institution in the capital of San Salvador. For many of us who remember, this and other tragedies […]

Laid-Off Executive Finds Joy in Service with Disaster Survivors, Others in Need

Ron Turney | November 17, 2014

In this journey of life, it’s great when a wide, well-marked road stretches as far as we can see in front of us.  It’s another matter when that road abruptly ends and there are no clear signposts toward the future. Almost six years ago, my wide, clearly marked road ran out.  After a 38-year professional […]

It’s More Than Raising Money

Andrew Gifford | November 14, 2014

I’m going to be honest, before a few months ago I had never actually walked in a CROP Hunger Walk before in my life. My involvement with CWS was through theCWS Blanket Sunday my church did every Mothers’ Day. But what an experience it has been to see communities come together to raise funds and […]

Establishing Community for Refugees in Cairo

Beth Frank | November 11, 2014

When I walk into St. Andrew’s Refugee Services (StARS) in Cairo each morning, I feel myself perk up a little bit. The guards smile and say good morning, students are laughing and jumping rope or kicking around a soccer ball in the courtyard, and people are genuinely happy to be there. I am not alone […]

Giving From the Heart

Joya Colon-Berezin | November 10, 2014

Each year, as late November rolls around and Thanksgiving and Christmas appear around the corner, we experience being truly thankful for all that we have received. We also have the opportunity to recognize what it means to give generously, and from the heart. Recently I learned about one such act of generous giving. Ray and […]

Another Way of Looking at ‘Development’ – the Need to Train Leaders

Chris Herlinger | November 7, 2014

In working through my notes from a recent visit to the Chaco region of Argentina and Bolivia, I’ve had some good back and forth with my CWS colleagues in Buenos Aires. One of the things we’ve discussed is what “development” means. The term has come to mean different things to different people. Some do not […]

The Power of Welcome

Erika Iverson | November 6, 2014

By the time I started college, I’d lived in six different cities and towns. My tendency for transience followed me into adulthood. While I like to think that I’m pretty good at moving now, I didn’t always feel that way. When I was young and moving around the Midwest, adjusting to each new place was […]

President Obama, You Can End the Nightmares of 5.5 Million Children

Rev. John L. McCullough | November 5, 2014

As originally published by The Hill, November 5, 2014, 3 p.m. thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/civil-rights/223059-president-obama-you-can-end-the-nightmares-of-55-million Can I be honest? I am sick and tired of the predictable victory and concession speeches that we hear on election nights. Politicians promise to listen to all their constituents – both those who voted for and against them. They promise to go […]

Tanzania Plans to Naturalize 160,000 Refugees

Erol Kekic |

This year, The United Republic of Tanzania, a long time host to multiple refugee populations, has recently introduced a groundbreaking initiative – granting citizenship to over 160,000 former Burundian refugees in the country.  This heroic action has the potential to become an example for the rest of the world to follow. There are more people […]

For The Love of Others, Vote

Krista Connelly | November 4, 2014

There’s a reason why the CROP Hunger Walk is considered the “granddaddy” of all walks. It is not just because CWS has been hosting walkathons longer than any other organization. It is not just because CWS is filled with pacesetters who pave the way for others to go out and fight the injustices of the […]

From Bhutanese Jail Cell to U.S. Voter Booth

Pasaputi Acharya |

Pasaputi Acharya shares his journey as a Bhutanese refugee to the U.S. and voting as a new American citizen. Why did you need to leave Bhutan and why couldn’t you go back? In Bhutan, my family comes from a minority ethnic group from the south of the country and the government was trying to force […]

Empowering New Americans to Get Out and Vote in Georgia

Stephanie Jackson Ali | November 3, 2014

Here in Georgia, this election season has been incredibly exciting with the rising electorate – women, minorities and voters under 25. At the same time, our organization, the local CWS affiliate, has merged with one of our long-time community partners to become New American Pathways. This merger has allowed us the opportunity to expand our […]

Strengthening Welcome for Immigrants Means Getting Out the Vote

Rev. Noel Andersen | October 30, 2014

It’s election season once again and while I am no fan of the partisan bickering or political pundits, this moment is an exciting opportunity to engage new people in the voting process. At CWS, we believe that voting is a critical component tobuilding welcoming communities – particularly as we accompany new citizens and new voters […]

Where Life Will Take Them

Katherine Rehberg | October 29, 2014

Children and young adults leave Eritrea for a myriad of reasons: to avoid forced indefinite military service, escape early arranged marriages, or flee domestic and family violence.  Many decide to cross the border into neighboring Ethiopia; however, this act of fleeing to Ethiopia leaves them branded as traitors, unable to then return to their home […]

Advocating for the Cuba 5

Martin Coria | October 28, 2014

At a time where CWS leadership begins a new journey in favor of friendship between the U.S. and Cuba, I am convinced God is touching minds and hearts in both countries, right now.   As an agency with more than 65 years of experience forging transformative partnerships around the world including Latin America, CWS believes it is […]

Caring for Unaccompanied Children: Lessons From My Native Country of Zambia

Kelvin Kings Mulembe | October 24, 2014

As I have witnessed the plight of Central American children fleeing violence to the U.S. and throughout the region, it has brought up painful memories in my own life. The issue feels like déjà vu, because it reminds me of my own personal encounters with unaccompanied children fleeing to my home country of Zambia. I […]

Racing for Refugees

Kelly Cohen-Mazurowski | October 23, 2014

The Race Home is amazing. I’ve been walking around saying that for the last two months now—to runners at local running groups, to church groups, to youngsters studying for their bar mitzvahs, to anybody who will listen. The Race Home is CWS’s third annual 5K in Durham, North Carolina, that brings together community members and […]

Zero Hunger: It is Possible…

Lesvi Roselim | October 17, 2014

World Food Day 2014 lifts up family farming – the way of life for most people in West Timor. People like Yance Banunaek, a mother of three from EnoNabuasa village in Timor Tengah Selatan District. However, water is scarce on this small island in eastern Indonesia, and Yance and her fellow villagers struggled to access […]

World Food Day: You Too Walk On, Because ZERO is the Hero

Maurice Bloem | October 16, 2014

“Home… hard to know what it is if you’ve never had one Home… I can’t say where it is but I know I’m going home That’s where the heart is.” Lisa Rothenberger, a former CWS board member, sent me U2’s “Walk On” to listen to during my first 100 Mile Hunger Walk three years ago. […]

Family Farming in the Bolivian Chaco on the eve of World Food Day

Fionuala Cregan | October 15, 2014

“When my grandfather was a child he did not go hungry. There were fish in the river and honey and fruits in the forest all year round. The land was for everyone. It pains me today to see our children go hungry, to see a river with so few fish, the forest without fruit,” says […]

Students Growing in Greensboro Refugee Garden

Margaret Evans | October 14, 2014

The CWS Refugee Community Garden project in Greensboro, North Carolina, provides spaces which offer serenity and foster opportunity for refugees. Shortly following the conclusion of the summer season in the United States, CWS’s community garden project shifted towards a new approach, involving collaboration with the 4-H Youth Development section of CWS partner, the NC State […]

Columbus Day: For Indigenous People, a Time to Mourn

Chris Herlinger | October 13, 2014

A few days back, Fionuala Cregan, one of our colleagues based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, wrote this on Facebook: “October 12 will be a national holiday in Argentina. Once called ‘Columbus Day’ it is now denominated ‘Day of Cultural Diversity.’ For indigenous people this day represents the death of 60 million of their ancestors across […]

Vermont Congregation’s “Special Drive” Nets 116 CWS School Kits

Lynn Thomas | October 10, 2014

For more than 30 years, the Federated Church of Rochester, Vt., has made Church World Service one of its major missions. Estelle Holmquist has led this drive since she joined the church. Every spring we have a drive to make as many CWS Kits as we can. Then Estelle loads them up in her husband’s […]

Mourning the Death, Celebrating the Life of Joann Hale

Barry Shade | October 7, 2014

On Saturday, Sept. 20, family, friends and colleagues of Joann Hale from near and far gathered in Grand Island, N.Y., to mourn her untimely death from a heart attack Aug. 18 and to celebrate her life and legacy as a loving wife and mother, friend, and advocate for the vulnerable, especially those coming through disaster […]

An Unusual and Heartfelt Donation

Jackie Carlson | October 1, 2014

Our morning here at the Church World Service office was going as it usually does – answering email, meeting with colleagues in person or constituents over the phone – when a man walked in the door. Our receptionist talked with him first – and then she called me. “I have a man up here who […]

Confessions of a Food Stamp Challenge Flunky

Mary Catherine Hinds | September 24, 2014

The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina issued the Food Stamp Challenge to be in solidarity with people who live on $4.06 worth of food each day. I accepted the challenge and then searched grocery websites for the cheapest prices and sought tips from friends before making a 5-day meal plan. I visited […]

Climate Change: Silent No More

Matt Hackworth | September 22, 2014

The bullhorns made sure everyone was aware: 12:58 p.m. was the moment for silence. Silence? In this crowd of hundreds of thousands of people? Official estimates vary but the most consistently reported number was more than 400,000 turned out for this, the largest march of its kind in support of action on climate change. There […]

As Climate Change Summit Nears, the Chaco Offers Some Clues

Chris Herlinger | September 18, 2014

In the last three months, assignments have taken me to northeast Uganda and the Chaco region of Argentina and Bolivia. In both locales, change is afoot – those who have tilled the lands for decades and those who work with them say that conditions are different. Something is happening and it’s not good. “Seco, seco, […]

14 Year-Old from Burma Reunited With His Parents

Rebecca Schaeffer | September 17, 2014

When Saw Min Min Thu (pictured above, second from right) was three years old, his parents fled as refugees from Burma to neighboring Malaysia.  Unfortunately, due to the dangers involved in making this journey, they were unable to take Saw Min with them, so they made the difficult decision to leave their young son in […]

Help for the Weary Traveler

Tolu Olubunmi | September 10, 2014

Originally published by The Huffington Post here on September 10 at 1:26 p.m.  Click here to learn more about CWS’s work with unaccompanied children. Last night, in the midst of mounting frustration over the foot dragging on immigration reform and executive action, I attended a fundraiser organized by Church World Service (CWS) and National Justice […]

When a Training Workshop Becomes Something More

Isaree Khreusirikul | September 8, 2014

The new Country Representative of CWS Cambodia, Isaree Khreusirikul, writes about her experience during an environmental sanitation workshop carried out by the CWS WASH Training Resource Centre. WASH stands for water, sanitation and hygiene. I assumed my position as Country Representative of CWS Cambodia in the beginning of July and since then, my schedule has […]

CWS Meets Needs Around the World – and Just Down the Highway

Larry Conover | September 4, 2014

I am so glad to know that Church World Service is there to meet needs around the world – and just down the highway from where I live and work, among households now cleaning up following flash floods August 11 in eastern Michigan. That evening, I had a CROP Hunger Walk recruitment meeting in Grosse […]

Church Members Assemble CWS School Kits During a “Participatory Sermon”

Abbie Watters | September 2, 2014

On a recent summer Sunday at worship at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, Wash., we prayed with our hearts, minds and hands. We had our first-ever participatory sermon, during which we assembled kits of school supplies for distribution here in the United States and throughout the world in case of disaster or violence that leaves school children […]

Angels to Angels

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 […]

Litany of “Saints”

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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

Rev. John L. McCullough | July 31, 2014

As originally published by The Huffington Post, July 30, 2014 2:46 p.m. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mccullough/why-i-am-risking-arrest_b_5634905.html 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 […]

What You Don’t Know About Migrant Children May Kill Them

Jen Smyers | July 30, 2014

As original published in Roll Call, July 30, 2014 at 5 a.m. http://www.rollcall.com/news/what_you_dont_know_about_migrant_children_may_kill_them_ commentary-235275-1.html  A family in Guatemala City received a knock on the door. Standing there were several gang members with one demand. “We’ve come to take your daughter,” they said, according to one of our local Church World Service partners. “Our boss wants […]

CWS and IOCC Collaborate to Bring “Help and Hope” to U.S. Disaster Survivors

Daniel Christopulos | July 23, 2014

To sit and listen to hard-working people who have just lost their homes and sometimes livelihoods to disaster is indeed humbling.  As they come to ask us for help, it helps us realize that, regardless of how faithful or hard working we might be, in the world we “will have tribulation” (John 16:33). As U.S. […]

How a Micro-Loan is Changing Christopher’s Life

Julie Brumana | July 21, 2014

I had an amazing opportunity this fall to travel to East Africa with several other U.S.-based CWS staff colleagues to visit with CWS staff, partners, and projects throughout Kenya and Tanzania. I met many people whose lives had been touched by their partnership with CWS. I met schoolchildren enjoying the benefit of desks, latrines and […]

CWS Committed to Continuing Support for the People of Fukushima

Yukiko Maki-Murakami | July 15, 2014

Three years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, CWS continues to support local partners working to help survivors. Yukiko Maki-Murakami, project officer for CWS Japan, visited Fukushima with one of our generous donors in May 2014 to see firsthand some results of CWS’s recovery work with survivors of the disaster.  Following are some of […]

Mehrabudin: We are not Alone in this Difficult Time

Kelli Siddiqui | July 10, 2014

“It was Friday, and I was out looking for daily work. I waited until around noon where laborers gather to find daily work. On that day, no one selected me for work so I returned to my village. This region is very hilly. As I passed a hill near my village, I saw a lot […]

In Northeastern Uganda, “the Diversity of the Team” is Making a Difference

Chris Herlinger | July 8, 2014

KAMPALA, Uganda – A telling moment as I finished up an assignment here in Uganda came not when I was in the impoverished Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda, the focus of my work, but here in the capital of Kampala. Getting lunch at my hotel, I spoke to some fellow visitors and they asked me […]

Holistic View of Malnutrition Solutions Looks Beyond 2015

Rev. John L. McCullough | July 2, 2014

As original published on the 1,000 Days Nutrition Newsroom, June 25, 2014 http://news.thousanddays.org/maternal-child-health/nutrition-leaders-blog-series-rev-john-l-mccullough/ There’s a saying amongst those humanitarians who respond to disasters as their professional focus. “If you’ve seen one disaster … you’ve seen one disaster.” No two disasters are alike. Disaster rips bare the tissue that makes up a community revealing all parts […]

Keep Vulnerable Migrant Children Out of Washington Politics

Rev. John L. McCullough | June 27, 2014

As originally published by The Hill, March 28, 2014, 3 pm http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/210707-keep-vulnerable-migrant-children-out-of-washington Our nation would rightfully be outraged if another country turned away 52,000 children seeking safety from violence, gang conscription, rape and drug wars. Yet, as this happens right now inside our own borders, some lawmakers have the audacity to use these innocent migrant […]

The Zero Hunger Challenge: Why it Works and a Call to Action

Angela Rupchock-Schafer | June 24, 2014

As originally published by The Zero Hunger Challenge, 6/19/2014 http://blog.zerohungerchallenge.org/the-zero-hunger-challenge-why-it-works-and-why-we-should-fight-for-it/ We are winning the fight against hunger and poverty. We are winning it in concrete, measurable ways.  Ways most visible in the numbers of young lives saved and communities changed through targeted, sustainable and strategic programs. Global hunger has been reduced by more than 34 […]

Osman’s Story: Fleeing Violence in Darfur

Sidney Traynham | June 18, 2014

Osman tells his own story of fleeing violence in Darfur, Sudan and how he came to America as a refugee.

Hassan’s Story: From Somalia to North Carolina

William Haney | June 16, 2014

Hassan left his home in Somalia in 2008.  He left a country that has been torn apart by civil war and famine for over 20 years.  In that time hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees have fled violence, persecution, and starvation.  They crossed deserts and borders to find themselves living, getting married, having children, and […]

In the DR, ‘Winning the Battle,’ But With Still Much to Do

Jasmine Huggins | June 13, 2014

At last, some progress – though limited – for Dominicans of Haitian descent and their struggles in the Dominican Republic. You may remember that earlier this year, a Dominican court ruling started a process which would have, in effect, “de-nationalized” hundreds of thousands of Dominicans, previously recognized as citizens, whose parents, grandparents and forebears were […]

I Never Thought This Would Happen to Me!

Rev. Amy Gopp | June 12, 2014

“I never thought this would happen to me!”  I have lost count of the number of times I have heard that phrase.  Almost without fail, this is the gut response of those who have experienced a disaster.  No one ever expects the tornado to rip through their town, and certainly not through their very property.  […]

It Only Takes a Spark

Amy Porter | June 4, 2014

There is a hymn that begins: “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.” Lately, I’ve been thinking of that hymn when I speak to people who want to start a new CROP Hunger Walk in their community.  These people, who we always say make our day and week and month, are the […]

On My Son’s 5th Birthday

Angela Rupchock-Schafer |

On June 4, my darling son, Deacon turns 5 years old. For his birthday, we are throwing Deacon an epic Hobbit-themed party and plan to spoil him rotten with hugs, kisses and all our love. So tonight, as we celebrate Deacon’s five years in our little family, moms like me EVERYWHERE should celebrate. This year, […]

Guarani Indigenous Youth Seeing a Different Future

Fionuala Cregan | May 30, 2014

It is sugar cane as far as the eye can see, acres and acres of it stretching far into the horizon. I am in Ledesma in the north of Argentina, home to the country´s largest sugar processing plant.  In the 1800’s Guarani indigenous people from neighbouring Bolivia were brought to work here and today continue […]

Morality of Preparation

Rev. John L. McCullough and Rev. David Beckmann | May 28, 2014

As originally published by The Hill, May 27, 2014, 4 p.m. thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/207117-morality-of-preparation Most of us tend to consider disasters – manmade and natural — to be an exception in life. But in poor countries disaster can be a way of life. As our congressional legislators in Washington work under budget constraints, they need to know […]

Having an Impact for Refugees in Africa

Chris Herlinger | May 21, 2014

It’s impossible for any humanitarian agency to be everywhere at once. As a practical matter of logistics and programming, of staffing and finances, CWS can’t respond to all emergencies in all places. We don’t, for example, have programs “on the ground” in a number of locales in East Africa. There, several countries – Somalia, South […]

Naturalized Citizens: Speaker Boehner Needs to Hear from You!

Sidney Traynham | May 16, 2014

This past Monday, House Speaker John Boehner said he would look to the reaction of naturalized U.S. citizens to judge whether Congress had gotten immigration reform right. “They are the people I will look to, because whatever it is we agree on, that’s the straight-faced test,” he said. “How do the people who did this […]

Imagine…

Larry Conover | May 13, 2014

Imagine – growing up in a small, rural, impoverished community in Kenya. Imagine – going to a school that had no real building, no desks, no private toilets, and no access to water. Imagine – having a parent who didn’t value your education because they believed you wouldn’t accomplish much in life anyway, and expected […]

Our Other Mothers

Mary Catherine Hinds | May 9, 2014

When I was 22 years old I moved to a small village in East Africa as a member of the Peace Corps. I rented a concrete block room which shared a courtyard with an elderly Eritrean woman whom I called “Adey” which is the T’grinia word for mother. As this Mother’s Day approaches, I find […]

The ‘Aid Machine’

Chris Herlinger | May 8, 2014

I think a challenge is good for the soul, don’t you? It used to be that humanitarian groups were praised no matter what they did. Few doubted the efficacy of emergency aid or the need for “development” assistance. But the same kind of critical consciousness that has taken on the media, politicians and religious institutions […]

Giving Children a Place to Call Home

Rev. Lary Jackson | May 1, 2014

I remember being a sixth grader at Trix Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan, anxiously awaiting the bell which signaled the end of the day.  Anxious because I was a bit of a fraidy-cat back then.  As it rang, I ran to my locker, making sure my friends were in clear sight for the journey home.  […]

CROP Hunger Walk Recruiter Discovers CWS’s Role in Disaster Recovery

Julie Phillips | April 25, 2014

I’m passionate about ending hunger – and about being a mom, and being involved in the community.  This story is about how all those pieces of my life are fitting together – and yes, Church World Service is an important part of my story! My husband Scott, our son Joshua and I live in Longmont, […]

Faith Leaders Calling to Stop the Deportations

Rev. Noel Andersen | April 21, 2014

I just got back from the Fast for Families six-week bus tour, where CWS was deeply involved in coordinating events in  90 congressional districts to push for just and humane immigration reform. In each city we heard testimonies of the devastating impact of deportations that are tearing families apart. As the House of Representatives continues […]

CWS Is a Disaster Recovery Partner That Sticks Around

Sara Echols | April 17, 2014

I first got to know Church World Service during the severe storms and floods last April and May that were so widespread that 49 Illinois counties received federal disaster declarations.  I had just taken on my new responsibility for partner relations with the American Red Cross Greater Chicago Region. CWS support for flood survivors started […]

The Youngest First Grader

Joel Cooper | April 14, 2014

After nine months relaxing in the cushioned comfort of his mother’s womb, baby Namoki now spends his days quietly sleeping on the divoted concrete floor in the back of his older brother’s classroom at Lokiding Primary School. Karamojongs like Namoki have it rough from day one. What would be considered neglect in the West is […]

Life Lessons Learned

Catherine Powers | April 9, 2014

“For I know the plans I have for you…” After more than 32 years of employment with Church World Service, I’ve “graduated” to another life-stage known as “retirement.” Milestones such as this often present themselves as times to reflect upon one’s life journeys, achievements, discoveries – of which I have many during my tenure with […]

Superstorm Sandy Recovery Effort Reaches Critical Phase

Barry Shade | April 5, 2014

The bigger the disaster, the longer the recovery. That is certainly true following Superstorm Sandy. The storm hit in October 2012, but a big push to expedite repairs and rebuilding is just beginning – especially in hard-hit New York City and New Jersey. That takes organization, and local community-based long-term recovery groups are key to […]

Boehner is Distorting Our Democracy

Rev. John L. McCullough | March 31, 2014

As originally published by The Hill, March 28, 2014, 3 p.m. thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/201955-boehner-is-distorting-our-democracy By refusing to bring immigration reform up for a vote, Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) perpetuates an immigration system that is broken, immoral, and hurting this country. As a Christian and as an American, I am outraged that House Republicans value delay tactics and partisan […]

What Are You Called to Do?

Krista Connelly | March 27, 2014

Around the age of 10 I told my mother I wanted to work for CWS. Seriously, I stared at her and said, “I want to do that when I grow up.” Surely she looked at me and thought “yeah, okay” but little did she know I was called to this work. Was it fate, destiny […]

A Long Way to St. Albans, Vermont

Bert Marshall | March 26, 2014

“I’m sorry.  I get emotional talking about it.” Edith Steinhorst, 85, paused several times while telling her story, gathering her composure.  I wondered what images were swirling through her memory in those moments. We were sitting in the church parlor with her pastor. It was a cold winter’s day in northern Vermont, and she had […]

World Water Day and You

Holli Carey Long | March 21, 2014

As originally published by Joy is the Grace, March 20, 2014 http://www.hollilong.com/2014/03/20/world-water-day-and-you/ Oh, you know, this Saturday I think I’ll “Hang Out” with Glennon Doyle Melton.  Wanna join me? No really, I’m completely serious.  I’m going to hang out with Glennon (yes, the Glennon of Momastery) and the really awesome folks over at Church World […]

A New Year, A New Walk

Meghan Parsons | March 20, 2014

This is my fourth year on the planning committee for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County CROP Hunger Walk. I spent many years in grade school participating as a walker before taking a position on the planning committee, and my dad has been on the committee for over 18 years now. (I don’t even think he’s counting anymore). […]

Refugee Run Club

Kelly Cohen-Mazurowski | March 18, 2014

Nearly every day, new refugees from Iraq, Iran, Burma, Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea come to Durham, North Carolina. Those of us who work in refugee resettlement, social services and our local public schools get to know these families, but for many in our community, refugees remain invisible. They live in different apartment complexes, shop in […]

Small Congregations Have Big Hearts

Amy Bobbette | March 15, 2014

I headed west last Sunday on the New York State Thruway to Fredonia, NY, to speak to the Fredonia Presbyterian Church. They asked if I would speak about the work of CWS as they have supported our efforts for years and would be in the midst of working on CWS Hygiene Kits at for the […]

CWS Strengthens New Jersey’s Sandy Recovery

Keith Adams | March 14, 2014

Church World Service efforts in response to Superstorm Sandy have had tremendous positive effects on the overall ability of New Jersey’s many long-term recovery groups to help folks rebuild homes and lives in the aftermath of the storm. From the infancy of New Jersey’s recovery, CWS was on site providing valuable training in the long-term […]

Going the Extra Mile

Ronald Blaum | March 12, 2014

I was recently fortunate to join other CWS staff on a trip to Kenya and Tanzania.  During our visit we were privileged to see a number of locations where the support you provide to CWS has resulted in tangible, life-changing improvements for those in a particular community. We saw everything from rehabilitated schools where students […]

Fulfilling Dreams

Rev. Amy Gopp | March 8, 2014

Her eyes were the deep, gorgeous brown of chocolate kisses. And the moment she looked at me, I felt as though she was telling me something without ever uttering a word. Her eyes said it all. This child, such a beautiful girl, was destined for something. She had almost run into me as she raced […]

Blankets Matter

Andrew Gifford | March 7, 2014

I’m sitting here in my warm office in Ohio having survived two or three polar vortexes and several massive dumpings of snow.  One thought seems to continually enter my head: What are the people who call the outside home doing this winter? And then a second question: What am I doing for them? There are […]

From Invisible to Visible … At Least for a Day

Luciano Cadoni | March 5, 2014

If someone told you they took part in an event where both children and adults were extremely happy … where they all played, had fun, respected the rules and – most important – respected one another and had a moment to forget about all the problems they have … probably the last thing you would […]

To Be a Face of Welcome

Kelly Cohen-Mazurowski | March 3, 2014

One evening a month I lead volunteer orientation here at CWS in Durham, N.C. College students, retirees, moms with young children, immigrants and many others surround the table to learn about refugees. I am always impressed by the incredible enthusiasm of our volunteers to get involved with refugees – people they’ve never met, whose languages […]

Hearing Disaster Survivors’ Grief and Worry, Helping Them Recover

Joann Hale | February 27, 2014

The February 18 meeting with survivors of January’s ice jam flood in West Seneca, N.Y., was seething with raw emotion. About 100 people filled the pews at St. John’s Lutheran Church. I was at the podium, talking about the long-term recovery process following disaster, when audience members started shouting out questions and accusations. “You don’t […]

Now Is the Time for Improved Relations with Cuba

Rev. John L. McCullough | February 25, 2014

I am looking forward to spending time this week with representatives from the Cuban Council of Churches, who will be in Washington D.C., Feb 26 – 27, to make the case for improving relations between the United States and Cuba, from a Cuban religious perspective. It has been more than five decades since the U.S. […]

Do You Know Your Neighbor?

Joya Colon-Berezin and Sarah Ivory | February 24, 2014

Mother Teresa once said: “I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?” In saying this, she takes a biblical axiom – ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself’ – and emphasizes that concern for one’s neighbor is rooted in something deeper: relationship. The CWS Immigration […]

Why I Was Arrested in Front of the White House

Noel Andersen | February 19, 2014

My Presidents’ Day this past Monday was filled with powerful prayers, arms of blessings, and Bishops, clergy and immigrant leaders kneeling down in front of the White House holding signs that said “Not One More Deportation,” and “Praying for Relief.” Together we sang songs – Amazing Grace, We Shall Overcome and Marching in the Light […]

How Valentines Are a Global Issue

Meagan Church | February 14, 2014

Want to know how to get a heated conversation going on Facebook? Start posting images that challenge people’s thoughts on traditional Valentine’s gifts. Take this one for example. Not everyone found that data helpful when I shared it on Facebook. One guy complained that his wife wouldn’t accept that as an excuse to not receive […]

Keeping the Love Alive

Paul Jeffrey |

I’m in Tacloban, which was ground zero of the November typhoon in the Philippines. Survivors observed today by placing red and white balloons all over the city’s ravaged waterfront, with the slogan “Keep the love alive” and the handwritten name of one of the UN agencies or NGOs working here. I got back from a […]

How Clean Water Changed Nipaeli’s Life

Larry Conover | February 12, 2014

As a single mother of four children, Nipaeli Waioto understands firsthand struggling for food security.  It’s not just a concept to her, it’s reality. For years, she awoke each day wondering if she was going to be able to find enough food for her and her children.  Nipaeli owns a small field where she would […]

Protecting Haiti’s Vulnerable Children

Chris Herlinger and Jasmine Huggins | February 8, 2014

In the months after the disastrous January 2010 Haiti earthquake, a lot of our staff started learning about the plight of “restaveks” – Haitian children and young people working in some type of indentured servitude. It took a major disaster for us to discover this very sad dynamic in Haitian society – in a country […]

Who’s Tired? Raise Your Hand…

Krista Connelly | February 6, 2014

::Raises Hand:: As I’m drinking a very large cup of coffee and typing this blog entry I’m wondering how many times a day I mention how tired I am. To anyone who knows me, I LOVE sleeping. It may be the best gift in the world. I would rather sleep than shower. Sleep than eat. […]

A Job Most of Us Never Expected

Rev. Rick King | February 4, 2014

I remember sitting in a Board of Trustees meeting at our church Wednesday evening, Sept. 11, 2013, and watching the hard rains continue to fall, as they had all afternoon, and remarking to myself: “This is not good. This is not normal, hard rainfall.” There was something about the weather that reminded me of the […]

People Who Value Desperate Communities

Julie Brumana | February 2, 2014

In my twelve years on staff with CWS I have had the opportunity to really get to know and understand this organization.  I have had the pleasure of personally visiting CWS partners and projects in Nicaragua, Haiti, Dominican Republic and most recently in Kenya and Tanzania.  These partners and projects vary widely in their location, […]

Pope Francis and the Blessings of Breastfeeding

Angela Rupchock-Schafer | January 30, 2014

Breastfeeding needs all of the friends in high places it can get. So with Pope Francis’ recent statements in support of breastfeeding, I can imagine a collective cheer going up among nutrition and early childhood health advocates around the globe. When the leader of the worlds’ Roman Catholics makes such public gestures in support for […]

Principled Immigration Reform or Second-Class Status?

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Rev. John L. McCullough, and Rabbi David Saperstein | January 29, 2014

As originally published by The Hill, January 29, 2014, 2 p.m. thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/196691-principled-immigration-reform-or-second-class-status As Congress works to repair our nation’s immigration system – broken and immoral – we are encouraged by Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) announcement that the Republican leadership will soon release principles to guide the House of Representatives’ legislative work on immigration reform. An […]

Fast for Families Across America

Rev. John L. McCullough | January 27, 2014

This morning I joined partner organizations in announcing the next phase of the Fast for Families, the prophetic spiritual movement for immigration reform and citizenship held for thirty days in a tent posted outside the National Capital last November and December. Faith leaders from many traditions were actively engaged in the courageous and self-sacrificial fast […]

A Year of Blogging

Angela Rupchock-Schafer | January 24, 2014

Ever volunteer for something at work, immediately regret that you did, but eventually go full circle and psych yourself about it? And then fall in love with said project and forget what life was like beforehand? And then maybe, and this is just between us, become a tad territorial about that project in the process? […]

Thank You, Congress, for the Food

Angela Rupchock-Schafer | January 21, 2014

It’s pretty easy to hate on Congress lately. Its approval ratings are at lows that haven’t been seen since, well, forever. It seems every other story out of Washington D.C. is about dysfunction and gridlock over legislation.  But I’m not here to bash Congress today, but to celebrate something they have done right.  Congress is […]

What the West Virginia Water Contamination Teaches Us About Breastfeeding

Meagan Church | January 17, 2014

When a woman in the United States decides whether or not to breastfeed, she might consider a variety of factors, but access to clean water is not typically one of them. In a country where clean water is abundantly available at the turn of a faucet handle, a U.S. mother doesn’t have to worry about […]

My Feet Were Made for CROP Hunger Walking

Rev. Lary Jackson | January 15, 2014

Feet . . . some people think feet are ugly. They don’t like looking at them, touching them, let alone smelling them. Others adorn their feet with rings, tattoos, polish, fancy pedicures and exquisite footwear. Still others take feet for granted, simply walking around to and fro without regard to the blessing of mobility. And […]

Make 2014 a Year of Recommitment to Haiti

Chris Herlinger | January 12, 2014

As originally published by Huffington Post, 01/10/2014, 3:02 p.m. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-herlinger/make-2014-a-year-of-recom_b_4576834.html A few years back, I was in Haiti on assignment and had the honor of spending Easter morning with a Haitian colleague, the Reverend Herode Guillomettre, high up in the hills overlooking the capital of Port-au-Prince. Guillomettre heads the Christian Center for Integrated Development, known […]

Haiti: 4 Years After the Earthquake

Rev. John L. McCullough | January 10, 2014

It is easy to forget that this Sunday – January 12 – marks four years since Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake. With crises in Syria, Africa and Asia, and this year’s record- breaking winter temperatures affecting Europe and North America, the world’s focus has – understandably – long since moved on from Haiti. But four years […]

On My Retirement from CWS

Tom Hampson |

“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.” Thich Nhat Hanh My colleague Angela, who coordinates this blog, asked me to reflect on my 30+ years with CWS in light of my January 2014 retirement. While that sounds like a long time, it doesn’t feel that way – until Angela reminds me […]

When a Blanket Counts

Carol Fouke-Mpoyo | January 9, 2014

I just got a little taste of what it’s like to be affected by a disaster and suddenly in need of a CWS Blanket. It was just for one night. But it was enough to remind me that disaster and need can hit anyone. And it was enough to make me proud of CWS and […]

39 Days Out of Africa

Kathy Dodson | January 7, 2014

New Years Day. Number one resolution: “Extend the gratitude and graciousness of the African people who are the recipients of the goodwill and support of Church World Service back to their generous donors.” The Sunday before Thanksgiving I arrived home into a whirlwind of activity in preparation for the holiday season.  I just hadn’t done […]

CWS School Kits and Our Indian Mission

Jeanne Jacoby Smith | January 3, 2014

If anyone has wondered what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a CWS School Kit, my husband and I recently had that experience. Two years ago, we were assigned to do short-term teaching at our seminary in Gujarat, India. One evening we were taken out in the country to the Church of […]

Bringing Experience Back Home

Sandra Kennedy-Owes | January 2, 2014

I’ve lived most of my life in Mobile, Ala., where the last thing we expected last Christmas was a tornado. But that’s what we got. What’s more, we got hit twice. On Dec. 20, 2012, Mobile was in full Christmas preparations mode when an EF-1 tornado struck the downtown area. It damaged more than 100 […]

Through a Humanitarian Lens: An Unusual Year

Chris Herlinger | December 30, 2013

As originally published by Huffington Post, 12/27/2013, 4:16 p.m. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-herlinger/through-a-humanitarian-le_b_4508556.html If we look at 2013 through a humanitarian lens, what do we see? An unusual year in some ways — a year in which conflict situations nearly equaled natural disasters outside the United States (think Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic) and yet, natural disasters […]

Refugees Follow Jesus’ Path to Egypt

Paul Jeffrey | December 28, 2013

Following the birth of Jesus, a politically insecure Herod wants to know where the new king has been born. Yet the streetwise Magi take another route home, leaving Herod in the dark. The furious king strikes out blindly, sending his troops to Bethlehem to kill all the boys under two years of age. When Joseph […]

In Japan, Many Remain in Limbo as ‘Nuclear Refugees’

Chris Herlinger | December 26, 2013

Disasters occur. They uproot people. The world pays attention for a bit. And then the world largely forgets what happened to those who survived. It’s part of being human, I guess, but it’s still a too-common scenario. And sad, whenever or wherever it happens. Case in point: the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan […]

During Advent, Waiting for Change

Rev. John L. McCullough | December 24, 2013

As originally published by Huffington Post, 12/23/2013, 2:08 p.m. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mccullough/during-advent-waiting-for_b_4493895.html As the church has celebrated during this Advent season, we often hear the expression that “Advent is a season of waiting.” But as I hear this refrain repeated, I wonder if maybe these words have lost their meaning in the commercial rush of Christmas and […]

“Like New”

Joya Colon-Berezin | December 23, 2013

Christmas can be a profoundly joy-filled holiday. Beyond all of the gift giving, and gift getting, it is a celebration, for Christians, of the birth of Jesus. The meaning of Christmas can be understood as the incarnation of God’s Kingdom on earth; there is something new born into the world that has the power to […]

Why I Fasted Three Days for Immigration Reform

Rev. Noel Andersen | December 20, 2013

I never thought that I would have had the will power to fast for more than just a day. And maybe I had a good excuse since most of my friends in the Fast for Families tent agreed that I was already too thin and lanky. However, after I got through the first day of […]

Bumpy Roads

Rev. Isaac Varner | December 18, 2013

As originally published by Irreverin, December 10, 2013 http://www.patheos.com/blogs/irreverin/2013/12/bumpy-roads/ A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough […]

2 Degrees and CWS Partnership

William Wildey | December 14, 2013

As originally published by Two Degree Food, 12/9/2013 http://twodegreesfood.com/2013/12/2-degrees-church-world-service-partnership/ I like snack bars.  But, who would have thought the snack bars I eat could be related to my passion for fighting hunger?  Working for CWS, where we believe strongly that no one ever go hungry, I am very excited about 2 Degrees and the promise […]

The Wonders of Rwanda

Meredith Lang | December 12, 2013

Less than twenty years ago the world watched as Rwanda, a small, landlocked country in Eastern Africa, erupted into violence and experienced one of the most violent and deadliest genocides the world has seen.  Since those darkest days in the spring of 1994, the world has also watched as Rwanda has orchestrated one of the […]

Fighting Global Hunger Knows No Sectarian or Religious Boundaries

Chris Herlinger | December 9, 2013

Church World Service is rooted in the Christian traditions of our member communions. But we are also proudly part of an ecumenical and interfaith tradition that works across lines of religious difference. In our midst are colleagues, supporters and friends of different Christian traditions (mainline and evangelical Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, predominately black church, the […]

The Zero Hunger Challenge

Maurice A. Bloem | December 6, 2013

Just getting to the CWS Therapeutic Feeding Center in West Timor is a challenge for many. When I visited our programs in Indonesia a couple of weeks ago with a group of CWS supporters (including CWS board member, Patricia de Jong) from the U.S., it took around 20 hours of air travel, followed by several […]

Anacleto’s Plans for the Future

Fionuala Cregan | December 5, 2013

I am surrounded by “palo borrachos” in the heart of the Argentinean Chaco. Known in English as Cieba Chodatii, their name in Spanish translates as “drunken stick,” humorously describing their swollen pot belly trunks. They are characteristic of dry regions due to their ability to retain water and are an endearing feature of the world´s […]

In an Emergency, Is It Best That Everyone Is a Firefighter?

Chris Herlinger | December 2, 2013

A friend and colleague of mine recently painted the following scenario: “Your neighbor’s house is on fire. The fire department is there. All the hydrants are pumping water. Would you run across the street with another fire truck and more water?” Of course you wouldn’t. But if you saw images on television of a huge […]

Blessed to be a Faster

Rev. Dr. Ken Brooker Langston | November 27, 2013

As originally published on the Fast for Families blog. (http://fast4families.org/blog/rev-ken-langston-blessed-to-be-a-faster/) As Eliseo Medina, Dae Joong Yoon, and Christian Avila enter their seventeenth day of fasting on Thanksgiving, I am humbled by their sacrifice. I ended my second day of fasting early this morning. I wanted to fast for a third day, but unfortunately I was […]

No Major Natural Disaster in the U.S. This Year?

Susanne Gilmore | November 26, 2013

Thankfully, the United States didn’t suffer a Katrina- or Sandy-scale disaster in 2013. Or did it? An incessant string of regional disasters has affected thousands of households. There was not a neat “spring storms” or “fall tornadoes” season this year. Instead, since the spring, the disasters have just kept on coming and the toll has […]

On Immigration, Let us Herald New and Welcoming Communities

Rev. John L. McCullough | November 25, 2013

As originally published by Huffington Post, 11/22/2013, 12:50 p.m. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mccullough/on-immigration-let-us-her_b_4311360.html The Judeo-Christian heritage provides a lens through which we view and treat immigrants not as outcasts but as our neighbors. We have an historic, spiritual and biblical tie to migration. From Genesis onward, the journey of migration is critical in shaping the paths of Abraham, […]

They’ll Do the Rest

Lisa Carlson | November 23, 2013

Kigali, Rwanda, is a city with no street signs.  There are no addresses, no way to pinpoint a place.  The only way to explain a location is by describing it in relation to something else.  The result is that, in order to find your way around, you must already know where you are going. Other […]

Family is … Joy

Angela Rupchock-Schafer | November 21, 2013

We all do it. We get so caught up in the day-to-day bits and pieces of our lives, sometimes we forget to sit back and marvel when joy finds us. For the past month, CWS has been working together with Google+, RYOT news, UNHCR and Refugees United to make something new and vibrant happen in […]

We Must Act Now and Continue to Advocate for Immigration Reform

Jen Smyers | November 20, 2013

The movement for immigration reform continues to grow stronger by the day. The general public supports a path to citizenship, and we know that we have enough votes in the House of Representatives to enact an immigration reform bill. However, as the 2013 congressional calendar dwindles it has become increasingly clear that House Speaker Boehner […]

Open the Gates

Joel Cooper | November 18, 2013

As I stepped off the airplane onto the tarmac in Nairobi, Kenya, I glanced at my first Kenyan gate, and honestly, I have no memory of it. A gate at an airport is commonplace, but that was the first of literally hundreds of gates I have seen since. Gates surround restaurants, houses, hotels, malls, schools, […]

A CWS Intern’s Tale

Rachel Pizatella-Haswell | November 14, 2013

On October 1st, I woke up to go to work at Church World Service, where I had been interning for 10 months, with horrible anxiety. This was the first day of the government shutdown- something that had not happened since I was 7 years-old, and something that few believed would actually happen this year. As […]

Bringing Back the Smiles of Children and Youth Caregivers

Everlyne Nairesiae | November 8, 2013

When the morning comes, it may sound like a normal day for everyone around the world. The sun rises in greeting and its rays give light and bring warmth to everyone – rich or poor, flora and fauna. The birds are heard singing and chanting in their mother tongues, celebrating the prospects of a new […]

Back to School in Haiti

Rony Janvier | November 7, 2013

School: establishment where people teach. At school children receive the bread of instruction. A society cannot function without school, because school is the intellectual base of all of society. According to the ancient saying, “As school is, such is society.” The greatness of a nation is directly linked to the quality of its educational system […]

When Two Cultures Embrace for the First Time

Carol Roxburgh | November 4, 2013

Resettlement to a third country is one of three durable solutions for refugees.  The remaining two are to return to their home country or integrate into the country where they have fled.  Church World Service works to resettle refugees in 34 local affiliates across the United States. Having come from one of these offices to […]

When It Comes to Hunger, People ‘Feel Connected to the Issue’

Chris Herlinger | November 2, 2013

“Thank you for sharing your feet. God bless you.” With those words, Mary Catherine Hinds, CWS’s Senior Field Director for the Southeast United States, bid good luck to the hundreds of Raleigh, NC, residents who were about to begin the three-mile trek of this year’s Raleigh CROP Hunger Walk. I’m no stranger to CROP Hunger […]

Changing Seasons, Changing Lives

Joya Colon-Berezin | October 31, 2013

For some the transition from fall to winter – falling leaves, colder weather – represents a metaphoric transition from life to death. Even the roots of Halloween, which many of us celebrate this week, are often traced back to the ancient Celtic celebration of the New Year on Nov. 1. This date marked the end […]

In Syrian Refugee Crisis, Resettlement Viewed as a Way Forward

Amali Tower | October 30, 2013

With the international community deadlocked over a political solution to the ongoing Syrian civil war, the humanitarian community turns to refugee resettlement as a way forward to protect more than two million refugees created by the crisis. The conflict is now widely regarded as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, burdening refugee host countries – Lebanon, […]

Superstorm Sandy: Through the Long Journey to Recovery

Barry Shade | October 29, 2013

A year after Superstorm Sandy destroyed her hair salon and badly damaged her house in Far Rockaway, N.Y., Destiny is still “too stressed.” I met Destiny – a single mother with a son in college – during a recent visit to Sandy-affected coastal areas of New York City and Long Island. She was on her […]

From Numbness to Action: Ending World Hunger

Mary Catherine Hinds | October 25, 2013

As originally published by Sojourners, 10/18/2013, 4:32 p.m. http://sojo.net/blogs/2013/10/18/numbness-action-ending-world-hunger My child ate today. Breakfast was pancakes and sausage. Walking to school I said, “If you don’t like the leftover hamburger that I put in your lunchbox, just buy something from the cafeteria. You have plenty of money in your account.” Tonight we will have tacos, […]

People of Faith Ready to Escalate the Push for Immigration Reform

Jen Smyers | October 23, 2013

Once again, the push for immigration reform is defying conventional wisdom. With so many twists and turns in Washington over the past few weeks, the future is beginning to look hopeful again that the House will take up immigration reform soon. When the government shut down on October 1, immigration advocates started to see prospects […]

Welcoming Strangers!

Rev. Joseph Roberson | October 21, 2013

The faith community continues to play a central and crucial role in the welcoming of immigrants and refugees to the United States.  One of the primary reasons that CWS was established in the aftermath of World War II was to afford churches and denominations the opportunity to work ecumenically in the resettlement of refugees. Local […]

CROP Hunger Walk Youth Drama Group

submitted by Amy Porter for the Youth Drama Group | October 19, 2013

This is the fourth year a group of terrific, socially conscious kids (ages 14-18) have created educational skits and activities to present to religious school children throughout the greater Nashua, New Hampshire area. Their idea is simple: to both teach elementary school age children about world poverty and hunger, and to inspire them to put […]

World Food Day: Growing the Food Supply Through Cooperation and Change

Dan Tyler | October 16, 2013

Africa is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and vast tracts of land for agriculture development. These resources represent opportunities for governments to develop their infrastructure and expand support for their citizens. However, having resources is one thing, knowing how to use them efficiently and effectively is the key to dynamic growth. One of […]

World Food Day in Latin America and the Caribbean

Fionuala Cregan | October 15, 2013

Imagine a population two and a half times that of the United States. That is: 842 million children, women and men. This is the amount of people who, according to the United Nation´s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), go to bed hungry and malnourished every single night all over the world. Eradicating hunger and poverty […]

A New Generation Walks

Holli Carey Long | October 14, 2013

As original posted on Holli Carey Long’s blog, Joy is the Grace, 10/7/2013 http://www.hollilong.com/2013/10/07/a-new-generation-walks/ This weekend, I walked in my first CROP Hunger Walk. It was their first walk, too. (Well, “walk” is a loose term here. They ran. And strolled. There wasn’t much walking on their part, really.) But it wasn’t his first walk. […]

A Call to Reclaim Our Immigrant Roots

Mark Sandlin | October 12, 2013

“I didn’t come here because I wanted a job… I came here because I wanted to live.” These words from an undocumented immigrant came early on in CWS’s Summit on Immigration Reform in Washington, D.C. They could have easily been the words of Mary, mother of Jesus, as they fled to Egypt during his childhood. […]

As Pakistan Events Show, Emergency Assistance is Simply a First Step

Chris Herlinger | October 11, 2013

Herald Angelo and Kelli Siddiqui, two CWS colleagues in Pakistan, recently submitted a story that is worth sharing widely because it shows why humanitarian assistance is so needed immediately after a disaster. The story is about a small Pakistani village where a flood wiped out the villagers’ source of food and a nearby fishing farm […]

‘I Have to Do Something’

Sarah Krause | October 7, 2013

I first became interested in refugee resettlement while working as an intern with a non-governmental organization in Washington, D.C. I was asked to assist in the preparation of an asylum case and while doing that work, I stumbled across a file on Sierra Leone. What I found in that file changed me. I saw pictures […]

A Mixed Report Card in the Fight Against Hunger and Poverty

Chris Herlinger | October 5, 2013

The last two weeks have been a kind of “report card” time for those of us in the humanitarian field. Last week, the member states of the United Nations took stock of the Millennium Development Goals that were set more than a decade ago as benchmarks in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty (and tackle […]

One Government Activity Continues: 1,100+ Deportations a Day

Rev. John L McCullough | October 4, 2013

As originally published by Huffington Post, 10/03/2013, 5:01 p.m. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mccullough/one-government-activity-continues_b_4037736.html Like many Americans, I am dismayed that ideological rigidity and the unwillingness to compromise have brought our nation to a government shutdown. Yet as vital services are stopped, one government activity continues: the deportation of more than 1,100 people every day. This moral stain continues […]

‘I Could Do Something’

Beth Oppenheim-Chan | September 30, 2013

I stood at the photocopy machine, trying to make sense of the large file before me. Certain documents had to be copied once, while others needed more than one made. A bit confused, I went back to our Associate Director for Immigration to ask for more direction. We were conducting a naturalization workshop in partnership […]

October is for Immigration Reform!

Jen Smyers | September 27, 2013

In less than two weeks, CWS will host its first annual Global Summit in Washington, DC. The event will focus on the very timely topic of immigration reform, and will include more than 250 pastors, lay leaders, and grassroots organizers from across the country who have been working tirelessly for immigrants’ rights. October will be […]

CWS Humanitarian Fought Hunger, Poverty at Home and Abroad

Chris Herlinger | September 24, 2013

As originally published by National Catholic Reporter, 09/21/2013. http://ncronline.org/news/people/church-world-service-humanitarian-fought-hunger-poverty-home-and-abroad I am filled with respect and admiration for the women of my mother’s generation: those born before or during World War II who are now in their 70s. They were (and are) a “transition generation” that, in the 1960s and 1970s, witnessed and experienced great change […]

Happy Citizenship Day!

Andrew Fuys | September 23, 2013

Did you know that September 17 was National Constitution and Citizenship Day?  226 years ago on that date, the US Constitution was signed in Philadelphia, creating the foundation for a system of government still in place today. I celebrated Citizenship Day in New York at an event organized by the NALEO Education Fund to recognize […]

Child Mortality: Progress, Yes, But Much More to Do

Chris Herlinger | September 21, 2013

As originally published by Huffington Post, 09/19/2013, 4:46 p.m. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-herlinger/child-mortality-progress-_b_3957338.html Seeing children suffer is a horrible constant in the world. More than a decade ago, on an assignment for Church World Service, I visited a displacement camp in Mashlak, outside of the city of Herat, Afghanistan, and saw large numbers of malnourished children, some of […]

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Rev. John L. McCullough | September 20, 2013

A few weeks back I wrote that the time had ended to be silent about possible U.S. military strikes in Syria. I argued that there was, and is, a “humanitarian option,” in Syria. “Rather than missiles, now is time to fully utilize the diplomatic channels available to the United Nations,” I said. Happily, I wasn’t […]

Three Surefire Ways to Have a Successful CWS Fundraiser

Mary Catherine Hinds | September 18, 2013

During a sabbatical this summer I set a goal to exercise every single day, lose 20 pounds and raise $1,000 to support CWS hunger programs. Three principles guaranteed my success and they can work for you, too! Don’t go it alone, try something new and hold firmly to your mission. I made my challenge very […]

Just a Cup of Milk

Holli Carey Long | September 16, 2013

As originally posted by Moms Encouraging Moms, 09/23/2013. http://www.momsencouragingmoms.com/just-a-cup-of-milk/ It is such a mundane thing. And really, it can sometimes border on annoying, as I’m totally on to his stall tactics. I mean, a cup of milk about 10 minutes after bed? Come on. Just a widdle biddle milk, Mom? Please? Add a pair of […]

Of Hudson River Views and Refugee Resettlement

Sandra Vines |

As I look out my office window at the Hudson River with its two-way currents, flashy speedboats and lonely barges, I ponder my to-do lists, reports to send out, forms to pilot and matrixes to create.  Suddenly an email comes in from a CWS affiliate colleague at Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM), and with it, some […]

Preparing for ‘Disaster in Paradise’ – and on the Mainland

Ku'ulei Funn | September 14, 2013

Hurricane Flossie is on the way, and Hawaii residents prepare for the worst.  People behave predictably.  Frantic shoppers pack grocery stores, buying out every last bottle of water, canned good, and toilet paper roll.  Lines of cars idle outside gas stations as stressed drivers wait to fill their tanks. This is a familiar scene every […]

A Proud Teacher and Friend

Margie Nicoara | September 13, 2013

The first weeks and months in the U.S. are usually very difficult for refugees, and I am honored to be part of a team that welcomes them and tries to make them comfortable in their new country. Working at Bridge Refugee Services in Knoxville, Tennessee, as the English Language Training Coordinator gives me a unique […]

No Time to Be Silent

Rev. John L. McCullough | September 9, 2013

As originally published by Huffington Post, 09/09/2013, 3:15 p.m. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mccullough/no-time-to-be-silent_b_3880851.html This week, the 67-year-old humanitarian agency I lead signed a contract to provide humanitarian assistance to – among others – Syrians fleeing for their lives. It’s not a job any of us want. It’s also not a job we can accomplish while keeping silent. The […]

Making the Connections: Global Crisis, Local Response

Joya Colon-Berezin | September 7, 2013

Although it may seem simplistic, it can be tremendously challenging to make the connection between the global and the local. I received a reminder of this when I got a call from Fr. Anthony Sabbagh, Pastor of St. George Orthodox Church in Allentown, Pa. He is deeply concerned about the needs of the growing Syrian […]

Together We Are Strong

Elizabeth Kakai | September 6, 2013

Teaching the skills necessary for women to gain control of their economic lives is a key tool of empowerment. In Lunkhoge, Uganda, a CWS education and microfinance program is helping women embrace the possibilities for improving their lives through entrepreneurship underwritten by small loans. The women in Lunkhoge are anxious to learn and are extremely […]

To Really Make a Difference, Get Prepared Well Before Disaster Strikes

Barry Shade | September 4, 2013

September is National Preparedness Month, a good time to consider how to be prepared to care.  I write as someone who has been involved in disaster preparedness for more than 30 years, as a volunteer and as a professional in the Air Force, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and now Church World Service. Start by […]

How High Can We Go?

J.M. Mwangi | August 30, 2013

Sometimes something as simple as observing colleagues is enough to motivate someone to set higher goals, as this Kenyan schoolteacher discovered after taking part in a peer exchange with another school district. The visit was part of the CWS School Safe Zonesprogram in East Africa: “Even with being on the right track, you can get […]

March on Washington: The Fierce Urgency of Now for Immigration Reform

Rev. John L. McCullough | August 28, 2013

As originally published by Huffington Post, 08/28/2013, 9:26 a.m. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mccullough/march-on-washington-the-f_b_3818593.html As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King and the many other courageous civil rights leaders who helped fostered the progress we have seen in this country. I am proud to count many in the Church […]

Faith and Protection: A Dialogue Gains Momentum and Recognition

Chris Herlinger | August 27, 2013

In a world where international borders are often unceremoniously shut down and support for those who are displaced get shouted down, there is a small bit of good news to report. The United Nation’s lead refugee agency and representatives of many of the world’s faith groups recently unveiled a declaration that could embolden the work […]

Your Success Depends on You

Robin Dunn Marcos | August 20, 2013

Since 1990, CWS has operated the Resettlement Support Center, or RSC Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya.  Working as part of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, CWS staff at RSC interview refugees throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, compiling their biographical and other information that U.S. Government officers will need to determine whether they are eligible to resettle to […]

Why I Am a Humanitarian

Dino Satria | August 19, 2013

When people asked me years ago what did for a living, I said that I worked for an international non-governmental organization that focuses on relief and development work. Now after nearly a decade with different assignments under my belt, I answer that I have worked in the fields of disaster relief, development projects and, in […]

Faith in Times of Disaster

Susanne Gilmore | August 17, 2013

In my work as a CWS Emergency Response Specialist, one of my main “talking points” is the important role of local faith communities in disaster preparedness and recovery. So when I learned that Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska would hold a statewide summit August 9-10 on the role of faith communities in disaster recovery and response, […]

Migrant Youth in the Dominican Republic

Luciano Cadoni | August 15, 2013

Young people make up a significant share of the global number of international migrants. In 2010, there were an estimated 27 million international young migrants. While migration can often offer valuable opportunities and contribute to the development of communities and society at large, it can also pose risks and lead to discrimination and exploitation. One […]

A Book About Hunger Can’t Ignore the U.S.

Chris Herlinger | August 14, 2013

The fight against hunger is part of our DNA at CWS, and it is being re-affirmed with a new recommitment in our programs and among our staff. As part of that effort, United Methodist photographer Paul Jeffrey and I are starting work on a book on global hunger – the third of a “humanitarian trilogy,” […]

Undocumented and Unafraid

Myrna Orozco | August 12, 2013

As we celebrate International Youth Day, we stand with Myrna Orozco — a brave and fearless undocumented youth and good friend of CWS. Orozco is a recipient of the 2012 CWS John Backer Award and is National Field Director for the United We Dream Network, based in Kansas City, Mo. Question: What is your immigrant […]

Protecting Children

Jasmine Huggins | August 10, 2013

The world’s attention in recent weeks has been focused on the royal baby – Prince George of Cambridge. While the media frenzy of the prince’s birth has died down a bit, the attention paid to the young prince has been nothing if not outsized. Much less attention has been paid to “protection” legislation being considered […]

Living by Faith

Krista Connelly | August 9, 2013

It has been over three years since the 2010 Haiti earthquake, yet when walking down the streets of Port-au-Prince there are moments when you feel like it just happened. You turn the corner to look over the mountain and see hundreds of blue tents lined up back-to-back. There are still a half million Haitians living […]

Breastfeeding and Early Childhood Nutrition

Felci Sanam Opat | August 6, 2013

Breastfeeding is the world’s most effective way of reducing early childhood deaths and is vital for proper infant nutrition. In Indonesia, CWS is helping mothers learn about the benefits of breastfeeding and empowering them with the tools they need to ensure their children get the proper nutrition they need to thrive. New mother Felci Sanam […]

The Short- and Long-Term Benefits of Breastfeeding

Meagan Church | August 5, 2013

When it comes to newborn and infant nutrition, breast is best. Numerous studies have shown that when a mother chooses to breastfeed, she provides herself and her child with a variety of short-term and long-term health and wellness benefits. Not only do the positive effects cover simple factors, such as convenience, but also even more […]

Taking Out the Trash

James Landis | August 2, 2013

I am perhaps the only smiling garbage man in all of Mathare slums in Nairobi, or for that matter in all of Kenya. But there are great reasons to smile. Those young folks who were trailing the garbage “truck” are part of the Giving Hope youth program that is supported by CWS in Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and […]

Back to School Shopping Made Awesome

Angela Rupchock-Schafer | August 1, 2013

It’s that combination of dread and joy: going back-to-school shopping with your kids. Dread at the thought of not having your little ones at home all day… joy at the thought of not having your kids home. (I kid.) Some conflicting emotions to say the least. But at the end of the day, it’s a […]

Fundraising Safari: Hunger Fighters Just Wanna Have Fun

Nick Kiger | July 31, 2013

Hunger is a serious issue and those of us who work to end it are serious about our mission.  That doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun while doing it! A colleague and I recently staffed the CWS booth at the Presbyterian Youth Triennium held at Purdue University.  Some 5,000 Presbyterians from Alaska to […]

I See People, Not Problems

Tom Hampson | July 29, 2013

I’ve worked for CWS for over 30 years and will retire in January 2014.  What an amazing privilege.  To do meaningful work with committed colleagues who make the world a better place – it doesn’t get any better than that!  As an added bonus, under CWS auspices I’ve travelled to dozens of countries and met […]

No Child Should Go Hungry

Mary Catherine Hinds | July 27, 2013

Ending hunger is my passion. I have seen real hunger. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa in the 90’s I looked into the sunken eyes of starving children and even today, many years later, I still feel tight in the chest when I think of my beloved students – Tsegeweini, Samuel, Ghenet, Tesfalem, Gebre. […]

Not All Agencies Support Such Processes

Luciano Cadoni | July 25, 2013

“Not all agencies support such processes.” I´ve been thinking about this phrase since I came back from CWS Latin American and Caribbean regional team meetings in the Dominican Republic. After the meetings I visited our long-standing partner in the Dominican Republic, Caminante Proyecto Educativo.  While there, I talked with Yesica (a social Worker), Yocasta (a […]

Coming Together to Help in Upstate New York

Rev. Leslie Foltz-Morrison | July 23, 2013

In Fulton and Montgomery counties in upstate New York, long-term recovery following 2011’s Tropical Storm Irene was floundering until four members of the Fulton Montgomery Long-Term Recovery Group took the CWS Recovery Tools and Training workshop. The group didn’t exist before Irene.  After the storm, it took a long time to get organized.  A small […]

A Day in the Life of a CWS Intern

Casey Smith | July 20, 2013

As originally published on http://cwsrdu.org/2013/07/16/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-cws-intern/ Today’s guest post comes from Casey Smith, CWS-Durham’s summer case management intern. Casey recently graduated from East Chapel Hill High School where she assisted with day camps for refugee children, events for refugee awareness, and worked to tutor refugee high school students. She will be attending Wesleyan University this fall. […]

Put the SNAP Back into the Farm Bill

Rev. John L. McCullough | July 19, 2013

Right now, 45 million people in the United States are hungry.  In fact, we can count in weeks the amount of time before even more of our nation’s most vulnerable people – seniors, children, the working poor – face the prospect of going to bed hungry. I have a hard time getting my head around […]

Immigration Reform: How Will the House Represent American values?

Rachel Pizatella-Haswell | July 17, 2013

On June 27, the Senate passed The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act with a bipartisan majority of 68 votes for and 32 against. This bill includes a fair pathway to citizenship along with other measures to ensure that individuals have the opportunity to become American citizens. If enacted, this bill would help […]

Celebrate Mandela Day: Engage with the World

Angela Rupchock-Schafer | July 13, 2013

The call to action is simple and compelling: “Whether as an individual, community, business, non-governmental organization (NGO) or a government department, all you have to do on July 18 is donate 67 minutes of your day to doing something good in any way you can. Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life to the […]

Failure Is Not an Option: A Migration Story

Robin Stephenson/Bread for the World | July 12, 2013

As originally posted on Bread for the World’s Bread Blog:http://blog.bread.org/2013/07/surviving-is-not-an-option-the-migration-story.html My dad was a born a migrant. He likes to talk about the storm that was raging the night of his birth, but there was an even greater urgency than finding shelter from pounding rain that evening: hunger was pushing his family west. In an […]

How Working with Refugees Inspires Me

Shannon Linehan, Benson Area Refugee Task Force | July 8, 2013

Working with refugees through Omaha’s Benson Area Refugee Task Force, I get to be inspired every day. Our task force extends extra support to refugees being resettled to Omaha, Neb., many of them by Church World Service. Many of the refugees work more than 40 hours a week, have three or more children, and attend […]

Celebrate Independence Day: Fight Hunger

Angela Rupchock-Schafer | July 6, 2013

Around the United States communities are celebrating the 4th of July this weekend with fireworks, festivals and parades. Families are coming together for Independence Day cookouts. Except not everyone that gathers this holiday will have enough food to put on the (picnic) table. “In our country, in the richest, most powerful nation in the history […]

July 4th

Carolyn Self | July 4, 2013

Growing up, the first week of July was pretty much always spent on vacation in Myrtle Beach with my grandparents.  Often the fourth of July included a concert with fireworks, sometimes the concerts even featured my grandfather playing cornet or trumpet.  Grandpa Laurie was a pretty phenomenal horn having played solo cornet in the Royal […]

Immigrants: They’re Also Here to Give Back

Daniel Rearick, Uniting NC | July 2, 2013

As originally published on the Uniting NC website: http://www.unitingnc.org/2013/06/no-story-highlights-immigrants-generosity/#comment-1122 Last Saturday we continued our series of service events bringing together immigrants and non-immigrants to give back to their community. And again the response was wonderful. This time we had over 30 volunteers from 10 different countries all working together on a community farm that provides […]

Fundraising Safari: Big Change Comes in Small Packages

Nick Kiger | June 29, 2013

When organizing CROP Hunger Walks, the phone is your friend.  CWS field staff spend a lot of time calling congregations, colleges, individuals or anyone else who will listen about growing CROP Hunger Walks. Nothing is better than getting a call from a person who wants to start a CROP Hunger Walk.  Seriously, you should see […]

Let’s Continue to Make Progress on Immigration Reform

Jen Smyers | June 26, 2013

As I’ve worked on immigration reform for the past six and half years with CWS, I’ve felt the heartbreak that so many of our community members have experienced due to the failure of our lawmakers to achieve reform. But this moment is different. It looks like we have the necessary votes – plus a few […]

CWS in Cambodia: A History

Nao Sok and Jacqui Collis | June 25, 2013

During their recent visit to Cambodia, Dr. Kirk G. Alliman, former executive director of CWS’ Asia Program and his wife, Jean, visited the CWS staff at the Phnom Penh office. Alliman last stepped foot in Cambodia 34 years ago, during the aftermath of the fall of the Khmer Rouge that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to […]

A Nomad in Pursuit of Helping Those in Need

Shanna Snider | June 22, 2013

I am a disaster responder — a nomad in pursuit of helping those in need. Almost 15 years ago, I had the opportunity to witness a presentation by Don Tatlock, Church World Service Central America and Caribbean liaison, on work he was doing in Haiti. As I listened in awe, my heart was filled with […]

World Refugee Day: Being Part of the Solution

Erol Kekic | June 20, 2013

Today is World Refugee Day, offering an opportunity to stop and reflect on the work we do collectively throughout the year. We normally mark this day by inviting former refugees to share their stories, allowing us to try to understand and sympathize with their lives and struggles. They recall the times of hardship and suffering […]

The ‘Audacity’ of World Refugee Day

Joya Colon-Berezin | June 17, 2013

President Obama’s second book is titled The Audacity of Hope. In it he recounts his upbringing and the insights that his culturally diverse background instilled in him. His message is that our country has the potential to offer “hope” to everyone regardless of their background or experiences. And yet, in order to guarantee equal opportunity […]

One Father’s Journey

Bert Marshall | June 15, 2013

Each day of our visit to Serbia, we traveled from our hotel in Belgrade in and out of the city, past several buildings that had been bombed by cruise missiles during NATO strikes in 1999.  The buildings have not been repaired and the charred twisted sections where the bombs struck were clearly visible from the […]

Today’s Humanitarianism Reflects a World in Flux

Chris Herlinger | June 12, 2013

When you hear the term “faith-based humanitarianism” (admittedly, a mouthful), what do you think of? Do you think it means trying to promote a certain religious faith? Does it mean passing out religious tracts along with blankets and cleanup buckets during an emergency? Or does it mean that, if you work for a faith-based organization, […]

Feeding Hungry Little Minds and Bodies in Serbia

Amy Bobbette | June 10, 2013

The Naša Radost school is an inclusive pre-school in Smederevo that serves the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in Serbia. Children from Roma settlements and children with developmental and other disabilities attend the school. They are not only being prepared to enter primary school but, along with their parents and teachers, are learning to grow […]

Festival Matches CWS Push for Reform

Sarah Ivory |

As the city of Greensboro gathered for the fourth annual international Mosaic Festival Saturday June 8th, festival goers voiced their support for the current Senate legislation on comprehensive immigration reform. The free annual event celebrating local diversity through international music, food, and art is sponsored by local non-profit CWS Greensboro in an effort to foster […]

Volunteers Keep Us Walking

Amy Porter | June 8, 2013

My first meeting with volunteers after starting with CWS eleven years ago was a post-Walk celebration for the Southwick/Granville CROP Hunger Walk at the Roma Restaurant in Southwick.  I was a bit nervous, but so warmly welcomed by co-coordinators Clayton Cigal, Sr. and Carolyn Mills – who was stepping down after many years and to […]

Service is Worship: Church Stocks CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets

Kathryn Goldsmith, Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church | June 7, 2013

One year ago, Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas launched a concept called “Micro Mission Trip.” The idea was simple – engage more members in service by offering short service opportunities during the typical Sunday worship time slot four times a year. The idea of worshipping and serving simultaneously was born in a Community Outreach […]

Nuns on the Bus Visits CWS in North Carolina

Sister Judy Best, SSND, Nuns on the Bus | June 4, 2013

On May 31, the CWS Raleigh/Durham office was visited by the Nuns on the Bus tour, a group of Catholic nuns traveling around the country to raise support for compassionate immigration reform. In Durham they learned about refugee resettlement, had a chance to meet refugee clients, and held a press conference. The following post was […]

Now I Can Smile

Ngura Kapalee | June 3, 2013

The lack of access to water close by is not just a threat to health and hygiene and livestock.  It can also put at risk the lives of people looking for water to graze their livestock.  Fifteen-year-old Ngura Kapalee gives an account of what he endured before a CWS project made water easily available in his […]

Chorequepaio is Blooming

Fionuala Cregan | June 1, 2013

In the indigenous Guaraní language in Bolivia, chorequepaio means new flower.  It is also the name that ten families gave their community when they moved here seven years ago.  Most had worked as labourers on large private estates – long hours under difficult conditions for wages well below the minimum.  With support from CWS Chaco […]

Pakistan and Afghanistan: Two Enduring (and Endearing) Places

Chris Herlinger | May 30, 2013

Those of us at CWS lucky enough to have spent time with our colleagues in Pakistan and Afghanistan know that theirs is a very special part of the world. In the last decade, of course, since the events of 9/11, the region has taken on great geo-political significance. And if you look at the website […]

How Do You Respond?

Krista Connelly | May 25, 2013

When a natural disaster strikes such as Hurricane Sandy or most recently the Oklahoma tornado, how do you respond? There are those who go on social media such as Facebook and Twitter to express their thoughts and send out prayers. While there are others who sit patiently by the television and wait for an update […]

From a Supporter, a Word of Help and Thanks

Chris Herlinger | May 23, 2013

It is nice to be thanked in public. But it is equally nice to be mentioned in a way that elicits helpful understanding. This is what happened when the Rev. Emily C. Heath, the pastor of the West Dover (Vermont) Congregational Church, penned a terrific piece for The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-emily-c-heath/five-tips-for-ministry-af_b_3315619.html) on tips for clergy […]

Oklahoma Tornadoes: What You Can Do To Help

Angela Rupchock-Schafer | May 21, 2013

A huge tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma, yesterday and earlier tornadoes devastated communities across the Central U.S. As I was watching the news last night and today, scanning my Twitter feed for the latest information, all I can think is, “How can I help?” First off, you can help the most by staying put. Don’t […]

Marie Antoinette: Empowerment in Haiti

Amy Porter | May 20, 2013

In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, CWS supports the Haitian Christian Service (Service Chretien d’Haiti), which was founded by CWS in 1954. Working with CWS, SCH helps people in times of disaster and provides vocational training, agricultural assistance and economic opportunities to help people to climb out of poverty. Two years before the January 12, 2010, earthquake, CWS […]

Three Decades of Service

Matt Hackworth | May 17, 2013

One of the things I love about CWS is its history, and that so many of my colleagues have been around to witness it. The agency is the kind of place where people have come to spend their whole careers. Just a couple of months ago I helped celebrate the tenures of three colleagues who […]

Study … Play … Changed

Bert Marshall | May 15, 2013

“Hi there, how’s everyone doing?” I blurted out in a crowded room full of teenagers who were in the midst of their English class. Without missing a beat, they all responded “Fine! Nice to meet you. Come on in. Welcome.” I asked how long they’d been studying English. The answer: two weeks. Two weeks and […]

WINNING Compassionate Immigration Reform

Rachel Pizatella-Haswell | May 14, 2013

Tuesday May 14, denotes the second day of the bipartisan immigration bill S. 744 mark up process, where the Senate Judiciary Committee will be considering amendments concerning employment-based visas. Although I have only been interning with CWS for 5 months, this day encompasses work that has aggregated over years of advocacy efforts. I began my […]

A Mother’s Service

Mary Catherine Hinds | May 11, 2013

My mom was a member of the Altar Guild at St. Michael Catholic Church in Gastonia, NC. As a young girl I would join her on Saturday mornings to help clean the sanctuary. My job was to scrape out the residual wax from the bottom of the candle holders and place a new candle into […]

Refugee Mothers: Endless Potential

Beth Oppenheim-Chan | May 10, 2013

Mother’s Day is almost here! On Sunday, May 12, millions of people across the country will have brunch, give cards and presents, and say thanks to their mothers for being one of the most important sources of support and inspiration in their lives. For some newcomers to America, celebrating Mother’s Day has an extra special […]

Nutrition for Mothers and Infants

Chris Herlinger | May 9, 2013

Earlier this week (and in commemoration of Mother’s Day this Sunday), our colleagues at Save the Children issued a report about the state of the world’s babies through the lens of the very critical first day of a child’s birth. The report, Surviving the First Day: State of the World’s Mothers 2013, contains some somber […]

When Literacy Saves Lives in the Dominican Republic

Carolyn Self | May 7, 2013

I never thought much about being literate. I learned how to read when I was a kid and never looked back. While I have some memory of learning cursive, I don’t remember a time before I knew how to read and write. The whole gift of literacy had largely been lost to me; I just […]

I Gotta Walk and (Don’t) Look Back

Maurice Bloem | May 4, 2013

I have received a lot of likes on the picture taken by Matt Hackworth where you see me walking on the road from Concord to Pittsburg. However, the reality was much less idyllic than the picture shows. I didn’t have a lot of space to walk and cars were passing me with high speed. I […]

A Movement of “Faith”: A Reflection on the Tri-Agency Conference

Joya Colon-Berezin | May 3, 2013

We all know the history, right? In the aftermath of World War II, people joined forces to respond to the needs of refugees. Virtually all the U.S. resettlement agencies began as Christian-based movements: motivated by faith, they felt called to a ministry of welcome. Now, over half a century later, the refugee resettlement landscape seems […]

A New Urgency on Immigration Reform

Rev. Noel Andersen | May 1, 2013

Three years ago, faith leaders from CWS member denominations gathered with DREAMers outside the Capital to pray with them as they cried. The DREAM Act momentarily broken after the Senate filibuster in 2010, another DREAM delayed after also failing to get a comprehensive immigration reform bill off the ground in Congress in 2009. 2013 is […]

Educate and Advocate: Portland’s CROP Hunger Walk

Robin Stephenson, Bread for the World | April 30, 2013

As originally posted on Bread for the World’s Bread Blog: http://blog.bread.org/2013/04/educate-and-advocate-portlands-crop-walk.html Ending hunger takes a village. Churches, non-profits, and faithful individuals respond to hunger in different ways. Holistic approaches to fighting hunger acknowledge immediate need while also advocating for changes to policies that address the root causes of hunger and poverty. CROP Hunger Walks, community-wide […]

I Read, I Write and the Feeling is Awesome

Jeniffer Sindiri | April 27, 2013

There is much to be said for the liberating power of education, which begins with simply learning to read and write.  This is a story Jeniffer Sindiri shared with us after she enrolled in a CWS adult literacy course in East Africa. I enrolled in a literacy class in 2008, after attending a life-changing meeting […]

Trust

Annie Griffiths | April 25, 2013

My work for CWS began nearly fifteen years ago, when I photographed the first CWS calendar.  It was a whirlwind trip with staff members in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Mozambique.  I even recall needing a driver in Maputo and finally bribing a guy to take me around if I bought him a new battery […]

Ending Hunger One Volunteer at a Time

Krista Connelly | April 22, 2013

As my first year at CWS comes to a close I look back at all that my CROP Hunger Walk volunteers have accomplished.  What a difference they have made in the fight against hunger. Together they have advocated for the 925 million people who do not have enough to eat. They have educated others on […]

Oscar Romero Lives On; A New Start for Youth in Haiti

Margot de Greef | April 19, 2013

On March 24, 1980: a man named Oscar Romero got killed in El Salvador. A man who stood up for the poor and oppressed. Thirty years later, CWS named its vocational school after this man. Oscar Romero, a dream that arose from the rubble of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. A place where youth get a second chance. […]

Food: The Tie That Binds

Matt Hackworth | April 18, 2013

We stood on a street corner, squinting in the morning sun. Me with a video camera, he perched against a wall, cigarette in one hand and his dog’s leash in the other. Even though Gary is homeless, it wasn’t long before we found our common ground. Sweet, hickory-smoked common ground. “It’s a pulled pork sandwich […]

CWS Joins Interfaith Blessing for Immigrants’ Rights

Rev. Noel Andersen | April 17, 2013

As the sun beat down, a small breeze gave slight relief to the line of forty clergy from diverse traditions waiting to go on stage to face a crowd of nearly 100,000 people all coming with the demand that the “Time is Now, All In for Immigration Reform. “ Right before the band Santa Cecilia […]

International Day for Street Children: Serbia

Matt Hackworth | April 12, 2013

It’s almost 1 a.m. and Alen Radosavijevic is hard at work. The problem is he’s only 12. Like many of Belgrade’s street children, Alen works a job to help provide for his family, who are among the hundreds of thousands of Roma systematically and directly discriminated against because of their heritage. Alen’s status as a […]

Following Up with the Lost Boys

Rev. Joseph Roberson |

On March 31, the CBS News show 60 Minutes focused an episode on the resettlement of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” to the U.S.  The boys, all survivors of the civil war in Sudan, literally walked for years to reach the safety of the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Beginning in 2001, resettlement in the […]

When It Comes to Food Aid, “Buying Local” Makes the Most Sense

Chris Herlinger | April 11, 2013

The heroic images of food shipments being lifted up onto cargo ships bound for Europe after World War II continue to warm the heart – and are certainly a proud part of CWS’s history. But times change. What worked well two or three generations ago isn’t efficient anymore. Most of the world now realizes cash […]

Faith in Action

Angela Rupchock-Schafer | April 9, 2013

The famed cherry blossoms aren’t blooming quite yet. But that didn’t stop some 800 Christian advocates from meeting in Washington, D.C., for Ecumenical Advocacy Days. I was proud to be one of them. The energy and excitement for food justice was electrifying all weekend and being a part of that was a blessing. We were […]

A Salute to a Dear Friend and Prophetic Leader

Rev. John L. McCullough | April 8, 2013

Congratulations to our long-time colleague and friend Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who was just awarded the 2013 Templeton Prize for his contribution to “spiritual progress” in the world.  He certainly deserves the recognition and the $1.7 million award that comes with it. Few people have been as comprehensive and consistent in their work and […]

Empowering Communities in the Dominican Republic

Luciano Cadoni | April 2, 2013

“CWS has helped me a lot, they do great work and I like to participate in these activities.” This sentence has a lot of meaning, but to me it had a stronger meaning particularly because it was said by Adolfo, a 17-year-old Haitian youth who lost pretty much everything, most importantly his mum, in the […]

What Does Refugee Resettlement Mean?

Sierra Kraft | April 1, 2013

Mohammed and his three sisters wait patiently in the airport for their mother and youngest sister to arrive; the time is 2 a.m. The children are full of energy running around the baggage claim with balloons in their hands anxiously waiting to see their grandmother, whom some had never met. This family was separated by […]

A Doctor and an Engineer Too

Carolyn E. Self | March 29, 2013

Asking a child what they want to be when they grow up is often a favorite question by adults. The earliest response I remember giving was ambulance driver. It’s a question we often don’t think about asking, yet the implications can be perilous. Such was the case when our group asked it to a CWS-funded […]

My sister is my nuclear family

Jen Smyers | March 27, 2013

This year has seen exciting momentum toward immigration reform, with key leaders on both sides of the aisle supporting a path to citizenship for the 11 million men, women and children who are undocumented in the United States. All of us are eager to see the bipartisan group of eight Senators introduce immigration reform legislation […]

Seeing lives changed in Vietnam

Joan Leof | March 25, 2013

Recently I traveled to northern Vietnam with a group of fellow CROP Hunger Walk volunteers to see firsthand how CROP Walk dollars are used.  We visited several ethnic minority villages in the far northwestern district of Muong Te, which lies in the “frontier” region of Vietnam bordering China.  The CWS staff in Vietnam had to […]

“College Students Can Make A Difference – If You Just Let Them”

Rececca Hasko | March 22, 2013

Starting a CROP Hunger Walk at the University of Connecticut has been both a thrilling and frightening experience. I wanted to get involved because I truly believe in the cause; that there is enough food for all in this world. There is nothing better a person can do than to help those in need and […]

When is an image more than just an image?

Chris Herlinger | March 21, 2013

When is a photograph more than a photograph? What happens when it becomes an “entry point” into understanding how we decide which images to use, or to shun? That is one of the themes of an essay I wrote that appeared recently in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin. The piece, “Exposing the Fine Lines,” is ostensibly […]

Water for Life in Central America

Don Tatlock | March 20, 2013

In my current visit to Guatemala and Honduras water has been on my mind. I’m thinking about World Water Day and visiting several of the communities and families where CWS works. It’s funny how we look at water and how it affects us and sometimes it’s hard to even imagine the challenges and difficulties rural […]

Water, Gardens and the Weenhayek

Fionuala Cregan |

Weenhayek community leader Emeterio Torres tells us how, just 10 years ago, to visit a government office or participate in meetings involved a one day bicycle ride on dusty unpaved paths across dense Chaco forest.  Punctures were a regular occurrence and repair kits an essential travel companion. Today that has all changed. Today we arrived […]

Children and Hidden Hunger

Julia Suryantan, M.D. | March 15, 2013

Just a few days before heading to Stuttgart, Germany, for the Hidden Hunger Congress I went to one of my son’s school events.  While watching the students show their creativity, I thought that these children have a chance to grow.  One can assume that they got the best care during their first 1000 days. At […]

Immigrants Old and New Harvest Food for Food Bank

Daniel Rearick | March 14, 2013

As originally published on the Uniting NC website: http://www.unitingnc.org/2013/02/immigrants-old-and-new-work-together-to-help-our-community/ Last month another amazing group of recent immigrants and longer-time North Carolinians came together to give back to our community. We harvested 1,500 pounds of fresh produce at Goodwill’s farm outside Durham, NC. All that food will be distributed to needy area families by the Food […]

Pope Francis and Latin America

Martin Coria |

I write from an Argentina still in shock after the election of Pope Bergoglio. I did my 12 years of primary and secondary (high school) education at the Jesuit school in Buenos Aires where I was born. Witnessing in the same day that the first Jesuit, Latin American, Argentinean, native from Buenos Aires is elected […]

Nutrition and the Children of West Timor

Ilmi Suminar and Vinsen Surma | March 12, 2013

As originally published on the 1,000 Days Nutrition Newsroom blog: http://news.thousanddays.org/maternal-child-health/nutrition-and-the-children-of-west-timor/ Indonesia has reached some milestones towards Millennium Development Goals especially on eradicating absolute poverty and hunger. The proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day dropped from 20.60% in 1990 to 5.90% in 2008, meaning that the country has already passed its […]

Two Years After the Great Eastern Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

Takeshi Komino | March 11, 2013

The past two years since the March 11 tsunami have both been a challenge as well as a blessing for the CWS team in Japan.  Back in March 2011, when our first team arrived to the affected areas in north-eastern Japan, all we could see were scattered mountains of debris in coastal cities. That made […]

Fundraising Safari: From New Bremen with Love

Nick Kiger | March 9, 2013

CWS field staffers get to work in a variety of settings.  We work in big cities and small towns, urban areas and rural areas.  No matter the setting, the people we meet care about the world outside of their communities. New Bremen, OH is home to 2,970 people according to the 2011 U.S. Census.  Known […]

The Question that Trumped Them All

Rev. Amy Gopp | March 8, 2013

One more workshop presented.  One more keynote spoken.  One more church informed.  One more person inspired. If I had done my job well, that is. I had just finished yet another presentation interpreting the relief, refugee and development work that the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) funds through offerings received during our annual Week of […]

It’s time for a new relationship between the U.S. and Cuba

Rev. John L. McCullough | March 5, 2013

In fulfillment of its humanitarian mission, and with the involvement of U.S. churches, CWS has for many decades maintained close relationships with the people and churches of Cuba. A little over a year ago I traveled to Cuba with a delegation of distinguished religious leaders. Our delegation met with religious and government officials, both Cuban […]

A Place at the Table

Chris Herlinger | March 4, 2013

My CWS colleagues know I am a film buff. Happily, living in New York City, I am in the right locale for indulging that passion, including documentaries, a particular favorite. Luckily, my work life merged with my love of film a few days back when I saw the New York launch of “A Place at […]

#EndHungerNow

Angela Rupchock-Schafer | February 28, 2013

“One of the most devastating effects of poverty is hunger, and we cannot End Hunger Now if we’re not talking about it. This is a big problem. This is a problem that is not going away unless we act,” says Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) in a series of speeches he’s making on hunger in America […]

Immigration reform has mandate, momentum and movement

Rev. John L. McCullough | February 27, 2013

Elections matter – and no more so than when a pressing issue that the two parties can’t agree on hangs in the balance.  At issue is the matter of comprehensive immigration reform, which gained major traction following the demographic truths unveiled by the results of the 2012 presidential election. We can’t allow that issue to […]

An Oasis in the City

Amy Porter | February 26, 2013

When we drove into the CWS-supported Oscar Romero Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, I was immediately struck by the contrast. Outside, the city was still broken and bruised by the earthquake of January 12, 2010. Inside the center, the walls were whitewashed and framed by flowers, with inspirational quotations from scripture, Oscar Romero, Mother Teresa, and […]

The Broader Meaning of Our Work

Chris Herlinger | February 23, 2013

It’s not often that you get to write and explain the deeper meaning of your work. But that’s what happened to me recently when America magazine, a Jesuit magazine based here in New York City, asked me to reflect on my time as a “humanitarian journalist” for CWS and others. America published the piece in […]

Giving Hope

Caroline Kuse | February 22, 2013

What do you think of when you think of Rwanda – giraffes? Genocide? Poverty? In all honesty, if you answered any of those items, you’d be accurate to some extent – but my experience with Giving Hope, a CWS program implemented by the YWCA of Rwanda at a grassroots level, allowed me to experience so […]

How the Dominican Republic Changed My Life

Krista Connelly | February 19, 2013

It had been a long morning in the Dominican Republic, visiting a local community called Antonci. We had just spent hours in the crop fields under the Caribbean sun, learning all of the wonderful ways in which CWS and our local partners have helped transform this community and the families who live here. We were […]

It isn’t sexy work – but it needs to get done

Chris Herlinger | February 15, 2013

Sometimes it takes an outsider to help you say what you want to say. For years, those of us involved in our emergency response work have struggled with “the message” of what we do in the United States. It’s been a struggle because it isn’t sexy work; it’s long and drawn out, and the fruit […]

My two cents on President’s Obama’s State of the Union address

Maurice Bloem | February 14, 2013

I was disappointed that the president seemed to have forgotten what he said at the 2012 G-8 Summit: “We can unleash the change that reduces hunger and malnutrition. . . . I pledge to you today that this will remain a priority as long as I am the United States president.” We commended him for […]

Improve the world from our kitchen table

Maurice Bloem |

People who know me have heard me say at more than one occasion that ending hunger and malnutrition is possible in our lifetime. I know that there are still skeptics but we really do know what is required to make this a reality. For one we need to ensure that we give a child the […]

The Truth About Haiti

Aaron Tate | February 13, 2013

Three months after the devastating January 2010 Haiti earthquake, the often-insightful and hilarious satirical newspaper The Onion published the article “Area Man Visits Haiti to Check Up on $10 Donation.”  Not surprisingly, the “area man,” Brad Halder, was quite disappointed, saying “to tell you the truth, I was expecting to see more new houses by […]

Witness to What Is Possible

Rev. John L. McCullough | February 11, 2013

The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, described Pope Benedict XVI’s unexpected announcement today of his impending resignation as one of “great dignity, great concentration and great understanding of the significance of the moment.”  The historical importance of this decision is indeed great and should not be lost to us.  In six hundred years no […]

Family Unity, Immigration Reform and the House of Representatives

Jen Smyers | February 7, 2013

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on immigration. Congressional hearings are usually pretty dull, but since immigration has been a topic of interest recently – especially with President Obama’s speech in Las Vegas last week and the Senate’s introduction of bi-partisan principles – this one was packed. The line to enter […]

People of Faith Called to Press for Immigration Reform

Rev. John L. McCullough | February 6, 2013

As originally published by Huffington Post, 02/03/2013 2:39 a.m. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mccullough/people-of-faith-called-to-press-for-immigration-reform_b_2529427.html Watching the president deliver his second inaugural address, amid our commemoration and celebration of Dr. King’s legacy, I was reminded of my personal responsibility, as a pastor in particular, to advocate for justice. For many people of faith, this call is not just one of […]

A Pastoral Reflection on President Obama’s Immigration Speech

Rev. Patricia de Jong |

As originally published by Huffington Post, 01/31/2013, 11:53 a.m. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-patricia-de-jong/pastoral-reflection-on-president-obamas-immigration-speech_b_2590993.html This week, I sat in a high school auditorium and watched our president address an issue of urgent moral significance: immigration reform. Thousands gathered from across the country, including DREAMers wearing their graduation caps and many people displaying their heritages from across the globe – from […]

Remembering Haiti

Rev. John L. McCullough | February 5, 2013

Today, during a congressional prayer service in Washington, D.C., we remembered those who died three years ago, the results of the most devastating earthquake in Haiti’s recorded history. Even more, we now remember those who are trying to forge a new and more hopeful future despite overwhelming challenges. The Apostle Paul asked, “Why is it […]

Fundraising Safari: Young People Get Creative to Respond to Sandy

Nick Kiger | February 4, 2013

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work as a CWS field staff person?  You know, the people who help you organize your CROP Hunger Walks, you Blankets+ Sundays and your CWS Kits collections?  Well, thanks to the new CWS Blog and yours truly, you will now have an inside look. The best part […]

Time

Matt Hackworth | February 1, 2013

It’s 4:30 a.m. By bike, by foot, by packed van, the men and women who work Florida’s fields queue in a dusty parking lot just for the chance to pick the produce we eat. Drivers in beat-up former school buses squint through the dim light. They’re looking for young, able-bodied men. “Not you,” one mutters […]

Welcome to the CWS Blog

Rev. John L. McCullough | January 31, 2013

Welcome to your blog. What joins us together is our relentlessness in the fight to end hunger and poverty. We are CWS and so are you! This is a public marketplace for actively sharing ideas, best practices, and informing each other of key areas where our activism is needed. Every one of us cares about […]