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. Several updates from our initial response are below. For the latest information, please follow our Facebook page.

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. 

New Video Series about COVID-19 Prevention

June 17

CWS and our partners have produced a series of informational videos about preventing the spread of the coronavirus. In each video, a healthcare professional presents critical information in a language spoken by many refugees in the United States.

View the playlist.


Updates from the United States: How is the pandemic affecting our refugee neighbors?

June 11

What you need to know: COVID-19 legislation and our immigrant and refugee community members

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: For public health resources for refugees in multiple languages, please visit:

FUNDRAISER: Rent Relief for Struggling Refugee Families in the United States

May 29

Our refugee clients across the United States have been hard hit by this pandemic. Many have lost their jobs, unsure if or when they’ll be able to return to work. Those who arrived most recently don’t have a safety net and also do not quality for federal cash assistance or stimulus payments.

Their biggest worry: how to pay the rent.

$24,000 covers the rent and basic expenses for 20 refugee families. And every little bit counts: just $150 can pay a refugee family’s bills for a month.

Will you help us ensure all of the refugee families we serve can afford to stay in their homes?

Supplies and support for refugees in Cairo

May 28


As schools have closed in communities all over the world, many parents are facing the same challenge: how do I keep my children engaged and learning when we’re all staying home?

And for those parents who are out work: how do I continue to provide for my family?

Lareen is in this situation. Originally from Yemen, she is a refugee in Egypt. She is a single mom to her three children, who are 6, 7 and 11 years old.

Here's how we're helping her family during this pandemic:

    FUNDRAISER: We're providing packages of food and hygiene supplies in Ecuador. Will you join us?

    May 15


    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


    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...


    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

    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.


    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

    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.
    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.

    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


    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?