HOTLINE - week of November 29, 2010

CWS continues response to families affected by Indonesian volcano; Flood-affected families in Pakistan receive continuing CWS assistance; Young woman in Rwanda relates CWS Giving Hope success story; Check out CBS religion special on Haiti this weekend; Speak Out to help make dreams come true for young immigrants; CWS Best Gifts.

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Villagers evacuating by truck
Indonesia--Villagers standing on a truck are evacuated from the slopes of the Mt. Merapi volcano to Girikerto village in Sleman, near the ancient city of Yogyakarta.
Photo: REUTERS/Dwi Oblo, courtesy www.alertnet.org

Indonesia

As the Mt. Merapi volcano continues to threaten surrounding communities in Java, CWS responds to the needs of affected families.  

Volunteers and staff of partner Mitra Alam in Solo, Central Java, have taken part in CWS-provided psychosocial first aid training.  CWS is providing recreational activities for children caught in the disaster. “Children who are affected by the eruption can get a sense of routine by attending recreational activities,” says Vini Wardhani, CWS Program Officer for Psychosocial Care.

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Pakistan

As the weather cools in Pakistan, CWS continues to assist people affected or displaced by severe July flooding. Survivors--especially children and the elderly--remain at risk of hunger and disease.  Stocking food supplies, coping with power failures and accessing health services are some concerns families face as temperatures drop.  

One struggling institution is Balakot's hospital, which has long received support from CWS. The hospital suffered severe flood damage and lost about three-quarters of its equipment. It has been the primary health facility for a surrounding region of some 300,000 persons. “All the valley depended on this hospital," says hospital director Zia Ulhaq.

Pakistan continues to find its bearings four months after the start of the devastating floods.  "If you don't intervene, it will be devastating," says CWS Pakistan/Afghanistan Associate Director Dennis Joseph. CWS staff continues to reach some people who are receiving help for the first time since the floods.

CWS is providing food for some 91,200 people. And, more than 100,000 people are receiving emergency and preventive care through CWS mobile health units and CWS-managed health facilities.  CWS is also providing shelter kits and construction trades training, cash-for-work projects and grants to help in the recovery effort.

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Rwanda

At this World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, CWS continues to assist young people in East Africa whose families have been affected by HIV and AIDS.  

Beata Mpinganzima, 23, lives in Gihuma. Her mother died when she was 16, and she and her siblings--one older sister and two younger brothers--were unable to raise school fees and had to drop out of school.

“I chose this job because I couldn’t pursue my studies as a result of lack of school fees,” says Mpinganzima. “Then Giving Hope came in to assist orphans. They helped me start a dress-making and tailoring business.”

She joined a youth working group with eight other girls and learned how to sew.  They dreamed of owning a tailoring shop, so they received a loan from the working group and rented equipment and a store in town.  They became very busy.  Their main clients were secondary school students who needed school uniforms.  

The group quickly paid back the loan and acquired their own equipment.  Their clientele grew and soon they were making wedding dresses and other fashion items.  They needed several other tailors in order to keep up with the orders, and took on several apprentices.

The group had attained their first dream, and is living into other goals of expanding their businesses to include a second tailor shop and a restaurant. Their ventures support 15 households, thanks to Mpinganzima’s courage to face the world even in the absence of her mother and a school certificate.

CWS is working to support the self-empowerment of more than 30,000 orphans in youth-headed households in five countries in East Africa.

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Haiti

On Sunday, Dec. 5, CWS’s Burton Joseph will be featured in "Haiti: Religion's Response to Disaster," a CBS religion special about the faith community's assistance to survivors of the devastating earthquake. (Please check your local CBS station for exact time.)  For more information, visit www.churchworldservice.org/CBSspecial.

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The DREAM Act

You can join the DREAM Act Call-In Day today, Nov 29.  Help make DREAMS for young immigrants possible.  Urge your Senators and Representative to co-sponsor The DREAM Act so that undocumented high school graduates brought to the United States as children can realize their potential through higher education and service to the United States, thus benefiting all Americans.  For more information, visit the Speak Out pages at www.churchworldservice.org/dreamact.

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Best Gifts

As you anticipate the holidays, CWS Best Gifts are a great way to let your loved ones know you care. To find out more, visit www.cwsbestgifts.org.

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