HOTLINE - week of December 14, 2009
Meeting the medical needs of people displaced in Pakistan; Giving hope to youth heads of household in East Africa; CWS urges firm commitments to curb climate change and address its effects; The perfect gift? A CWS Best Gift
Dr. Kashif Islam, a health project officer with Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan, says that volunteer health workers from CWS mounted a medical response assisting more than 3,000 people displaced by the military conflict in Swat earlier this year.
“The doctors and staff who started working for us voluntarily knew that… they needed to help these families…,” says Dr. Kashif.
Because of the volunteer work, communities and aid workers have been able to avoid significant disease outbreaks, explains Dr. Kashif.
CWS has provided health care and medicines to thousands of women, children and men in Mardan and Swabi districts via its mobile health unit. Female medical staff have treated expectant mothers and provided health and nutrition trainings. And, working with partners, CWS has distributed more than 2,500 food packages, as well as other non-food items.
Today, CWS is working in partnership to provide food for families displaced because of the Pakistani military campaign against the Taliban in the districts of Dera Ismael Khan and Tank in South Waziristan. Some 40,000 people will also benefit from water and sanitation projects, along with the distribution of basic household items.
The Church World Service-supported “Giving Hope” program continues to assist young heads-of-household in eastern Africa to improve their lives.
“Before coming together with my [Giving Hope] youth working group,” says Olive, “I used to be hired by rich people to be their helper in their homes or to work in their fields. Now, I manage my own home, I have my own fields, and with my youth working group members, we run our own projects. Now, I am even hiring adults in my community to cultivate my land.”
Olive and her group of 15 youth caregivers began an agriculture and animal husbandry project in 2004. “We had a dream that every member of our group would have cow’s milk for their household,” she says. “Several of our group members had grown up taking care of cows and drinking fresh milk, but following the death of their parents, they lost their cows.
“Cows, however, are very expensive,” Olive explains, “and even when we pooled our funds, we did not have enough to buy even a calf. So, we began growing maize. A priest in a nearby parish gave us a plot of a land for three years, for free. We combined the money from our harvest with our own contributions and some additional support we received [through the Giving Hope program]… and we bought our first cow… We all pitched in to help feed and take care of it--and we all enjoyed the milk.”
“Today, we have two cows. We know that our cows will have calves that we can distribute to members, but this may take a long time for all 15 to benefit. So, we are going to continue buying cows. We have a plow and we are now renting our cows to plow cassava fields. Each day we see our savings increase.”
The Giving Hope program assists youth caregivers in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique. Through the program, young people are empowered to continue their education, grow food, or start small businesses. They are learning to work together with other young people to improve their lives and the lives of their families.
As world leaders in Copenhagen, Denmark, meet on climate change (December 7-18), Church World Service is urging the U.S. and other industrialized nations to make firm commitments for cutting carbon emissions and to provide adequate funding to help poorer nations pay the costs for clean development, adapt to climate change, and reduce their own emissions. Read more.
Said a Midwestern supporter of Church World Service, “In this cold snap, I just toss two more blankets on the bed and am cozy, but many people the world over lack such basics. Please use my Best Gift contribution--in honor of my mom--for emergency supplies. She’ll love that!”
Are you looking for Christmas gifts with meaning? Shop from the Church World Service Best Gift catalog (www.cwsbestgift.org) and surprise the special people in your life with “gifts” that bring help and hope to families in need.