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Responding and Adapting to Coronavirus Worldwide


We’ve moved quickly to adapt our programs around the world in ways that protect our teams and participants. As schools close and large group meetings have ceased, our staff and partners are finding new ways each week to continue to provide vital services and information to the families and communities we work with.

Here’s what that looks like.

CWS Issues an Emergency Appeal for $1.75 Million for Coronavirus Response Fund

CWS and its local partners are responding to unique COVID-19 needs faced by the vulnerable populations we work with. READ THE FULL APPEAL HERE. 
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What you need to know: COVID-19 legislation and our immigrant and refugee community members

May 13

Please click here to contact your Senators and Representative to urge the inclusion of our immigrant and refugee neighbors in relief packages. For more information on recent COVID-19 related legislation, please visit this analysis: bit.ly/COVIDLegislativeAnalysis. For public health resources for refugees in multiple languages, please visit: bit.ly/COVIDHealthResources.

Nearly 10,000 CWS Kits and Blankets Deployed in Coronavirus Response

May 11

With your help, we've shipped out tens of thousands of CWS Hygiene Kits, Blankets and School Kits in response to the coronavirus. 

Here are some of the ways that these supplies are making a difference:

Looking Ahead: The Long-Term Cost of COVID-19

May 9

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It feels like we’ve been staying at home for years. Americans are itching to get outside, return to work and try to find some sense of normalcy after this pandemic. And for too many in U.S. and around the world, there won’t be a normal to return to. Governments and communities worldwide are scrambling to stay ahead of this pandemic. And each day, we see the human toll of the virus rise.

But there’s another, compounding cost that we need to consider. It’s the secondary toll that shutdowns and preventative restrictions are taking. The measures to mitigate the coronavirus are having their own impact. They’re disrupting food systems and urban and rural supply chains; closing businesses; and limiting human mobility...

This looming crisis shows how important global food and water programs are. The support that CWS brings to communities around the world is needed now more than ever.

Keep reading...

A Dark Situation Gets Darker in Haiti Because of COVID-19

May 4

Imagine, for a moment, that you woke up in Haiti’s Northwest Department this morning. Like the rest of the world, you would be living with the threat of COVID-19. But beyond that, a lot of things would be different from other places.

Keep reading...

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CWS helps launch #AllOfUs Campaign

May 7

"It’s a theme public health officials return to, day after day: The best, and perhaps the only, way to conquer the coronavirus is for #AllOfUS to work together, remain united as one nation, indivisible. This is how we save as many lives as possible and get to the other side of the crisis.

Whether they’ve been in the U.S. for months or a lifetime—or their families have been here for generations—doctors, nurses, home health aides, cleaners or janitors, cashiers, childcare providers, delivery drivers, and farmworkers are out there, responding to, helping contain, and supporting us all through the COVID-19 pandemic.

As this crisis develops, Americans, regardless of where we were born, are standing shoulder to shoulder, and all of our contributions to the economy and society are ever more indispensable."

Learn more at allofuscare.com

Spreading the word to save lives

May 4

Back in 2015, Arceia's school in Indonesia participated in a CWS program focused on emergency preparedness. Among other activities, she learned how to properly wash her hands.

“Now, five years later, our teachers and students still wash their hands often with running water and soap,” the headmaster of Arceia’s school said recently. “Hand washing is a habit for students in our school. They learn the correct six steps for proper hand washing with soap from Grade One. We could not have done this without our CWS friends, who helped us install water tanks and sinks.”

Arceia recently told our team, “Our family feels grateful that CWS helped us learn how to properly wash our hands.” And one of her parents added, “This is so important now with the spread of COVID-19.”

Read the full story here.

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Refugees in the Relief Effort

May 1

"Just weeks ago, Muyumba, 48, had never made a face mask, but now she’s gotten the technique down to 20 minutes, five minutes for cutting and the rest spent sewing. Her husband helps her iron the masks. Muyumba, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo who spent time in Namibia, is part of the Sewing Studio group put together by RefugeeOne, which has made 1,000 masks to be donated to various community groups." Read more from The Chicago Tribune. 

Updates from around the world: hear from our team and partners in Haiti and Egypt

April 24

CWS Kits and Blankets being deployed across the United States for coronavirus response

April 23

Building on a solid foundation in our global programs

April 22

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EXPANDING OUR IMPACT. Our team and partners in Cambodia have expanded our water, sanitation and hygiene work to include sharing information specifically about COVID-19 and social distancing. We are also distributing scarves for people to use as face masks, as well as soap. Learn more about this work here. Similar program adaptations are underway in Indonesia, where a CWS-supported water system is making it possible for families to keep themselves safe. Read more here.
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A SOLID FOUNDATION. 'Right now we are hearing from partners that there is grave concern about the long term impact the coronavirus will have on the rural communities we serve. Thankfully, while they continue to be in a precarious situation, the programs we support are making a difference. One partner said, “Some of the families we work with remind us of the parable of the wise man, whose house was built upon a rock. Their patio gardens and laying hens are their solid foundation.”' Read more from our partners at Growing Hope Globally.

Spreading the word to save lives

April 13

In-person gatherings, especially large ones, have been widely canceled or postponed throughout CWS programs. Instead, our staff and partners are picking up the phone or using the internet to check in with at-risk program participants and share vital information about how to stay healthy during this global pandemic.

  • In Cairo, where we serve tens of thousands of refugees, teachers, counselors and case managers are busy calling students, clients and participants in group activities to update them on COVID-19 and provide basic health and hygiene information. These calls also include check-ins on people’s general wellbeing.
  • In Serbia, outreach workers are talking to children and their families from a CWS-supported education program at least twice a week to provide advice on hygiene measures and keep them updated on the latest government measures. Additionally, the CWS-supported program for migrants and refugees has established an SOS hotline in Arabic and Pashtu so that callers can receive information, report domestic violence or access counseling.
  • Our staff in Latin America and the Caribbean teamed up with Help Age International to host a region-wide webinar this month for nonprofits on the impacts of COVID-19 on older populations.
  • Across Asia, we are supporting local governments and others to print and distribute COVID-19 public education materials. Our team in Indonesia has created posters in seven languages for Jakarta’s refugee community, which have been posted in community centers across the city.
  • In Haiti, partners in the country’s vulnerable Northwest region have shared information with schools, churches and community groups about how the virus spreads, what consequences it can have, and why it’s important to suspend group activities.
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CWS Kits & Blankets headed to five states for COVID-19 response

April 10

More than 1,700 CWS Kits and 500 CWS Blankets have been deployed to organizations in Michigan, Texas, New York, Arkansas and Oregon in recent weeks to keep people healthy and safe in the face of COVID-19. Most of the kits have been CWS Hygiene Kits, which include soap and other supplies to help people wash their hands and protect their health.

CWS and partners donate food supplements and cleaning supplies in Guatemala

April 9

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We’ve responded to a call from one of our partners in Guatemala, Colectivo Artesana, to donate food supplements and cleaning supplies for incarcerated women and their children.

This gift will help more than 270 women and children stay healthy and strong during this crisis.

An Easter reflection

April 8

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“The very first Easter was not in a crowded worship space with singing and praising. On the very first Easter, the disciples were locked in their house. It was dangerous for them to come out...

"This year, we might get the closest taste we have yet to what that first Easter was like.”

A message of hope and solidarity from faith leaders, refugee leaders and CWS staff

April 6

This is a scary time for everyone. The people that we love are at risk of this pandemic. We’re stronger when we stand together and when we heal together.

CWS Kit Depots Closed Until June 1

March 24

Support refugees while social distancing

March 19

Find creative ways to welcome refugees while social distancing.

People around the world are better equipped to respond because of CWS programs

March 18

Ready to join the response?