HOTLINE - week of June 20, 2011

Showing hospitality to strangers; Community in Honduras gains clean water source; CWS Water for All in Kenya; Still needed! Emergency Cleanup Buckets.

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Abdulmalik Al Mahdi was resettled to Louisville, Kentucky by Church World Service.
Photo: KRM

Showing hospitality to strangers

Nearly 40 million people around the world are uprooted from their homes and communities by persecution and armed conflict.  The Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program empowers churches to show hospitality to strangers, that is, to immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and other uprooted people in the U.S. and around the world.

For example, this past year, with the help of CWS, Abdulmalik Al Mahdi, 26, resettled in Louisville, Kentucky.  He was the only employable “young back” in a family of four with any prospects of finding work quickly.  With his family’s livelihood hanging in the balance, Abdulmalik earned a reputation for himself in no time among Kentucky Refugee Ministries staff for being a model of hustle and optimism.  After months of uncertainty, he found a job working 20 hours per week cleaning industrial baking machines.  It was not an easy first job.

He worked so hard at this new job that his supervisor promoted him to full-time, and then a month later, made him supervisor.  Under the condition that he take English classes, he was given responsibility over a line of industrial baking machines and the crew that maintains them.  He now supports his family with pride.

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Community in Honduras gains clean water source

After two months of working nine hour days, 205 families in the community of Ermitaño have dug and laid in the piping needed to get fresh, safe water from a stream high in the hills.

Each family in the water cooperative provided labor and worked to fence the three acres that contain the water source.  Now the community is enjoying something that many people take for granted – a steady and reliable source of safe water.

Delmys Licona, regional coordinator for CWS partner CASM, is part of a team that provides technical knowledge and training for communities, including Ermitaño.  She helps them as they struggle against the impacts of climate change, limited access to safe water and hunger.

“Every day we have the opportunity to represent God and help others,” Licona says.

Working with rural communities in northern Honduras, she knows the realities.  The need for food.  The strain of the search for clean water.

CWS is helping ensure the next generation in Ermitaño knows and appreciates the crucial link between the environment and their water as well.  On special school days, children visit the water source to plant trees with their parents, learning how best to protect their water, their land and their future.

“This water project is the first time this community has worked together,” Licona says.  “They’ve made it their own and are passing it on to their kids.  We’re walking together... strengthening these people.”

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CWS Water for All in Kenya

Naoroth community has suffered from environmental degradation, but the two new shallow wells that the CWS Water for All program has helped the community construct are helping to turn the situation around.  Not only does the community have clean water for household use, but it has water for newly planted trees that are replacing those that have been cut down to make charcoal.

Says community chairman Peter Kooli, “Tree planting was initially an impossible activity because of water scarcity.  Now we are happy for the two shallow wells that have brought water near to us.  This will help us to reduce the impacts of environmental degradation.”

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Still needed! Emergency Cleanup Buckets

The magnitude of flooding and storms this spring has meant big cleanup tasks for many communities.  In response, CWS has shipped 868 Emergency Cleanup Buckets and other types of CWS Kits to communities in need.  At this time, we especially need additional Emergency Cleanup Buckets so CWS can continue to respond to emergency cleanup efforts.  Find out how to help others at:

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Your support for Church World Service work around the world and in the U.S. is urgently needed.


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