HOTLINE - week of May 3, 2010

CWS plans sustainable recovery and rebuilding in Haiti; New framework for immigration reform released; CWS director responds; Kenyan community gains access to new water source; Tornadoes and torrential rains hit southern U.S.; For Mother's Day, honor Mom and help mothers around the world

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Two Haitian girls in homeless camp
Haiti--Two girls look out from their family’s “home” in a camp for displaced people near Port-au-Prince.
Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance


Church World Service is now expanding its work to help families recover where they are and to support host communities stretched to accommodate migrating survivors.

Programs will range from repair of houses damaged by the quake and expansion of host homes where survivors are permanently relocating, to building food security by expanding already-successful farm cooperatives.

"We'll still be providing emergency aid as needed, but we're now working with partners in Haiti to respond to some very specific needs and for the longer-term development programs that are necessary to truly enable Haiti to build back better," says CWS development and humanitarian assistance director Donna Derr.

Also, with no functioning port now in Haiti, CWS and its partners in the ACT Alliance also "intend to make sure that the humanitarian corridor from the Dominican Republic to Haiti remains a lifeline," Derr adds.   

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Immigration Reform

The framework for immigration reform released by a group of U.S. Senators on April 29 gives hope to the millions of non-citizens and their U.S. citizen family members who are suffering under a broken immigration system, says CWS Executive Director and CEO John L. McCullough.

“As the leader of the ecumenical humanitarian agency of 36 U.S. Christian communions, I think I can safely say we’re all for playing by the rules,” he adds. “But America’s immigration system is broken and its rules punish the wrong people--people who want to work legally, contribute to their new communities and keep their families together.”

The new framework would reunite separated families; create a new visa program for non-seasonal, non-high skilled workers; extend additional protections for widows, orphans and other vulnerable populations, and address the subhuman conditions that many immigrants are forced to endure in detention facilities.

"We are concerned about the framework's overemphasis on enforcement," McCullough comments, "and will be working with the Senators to modify the very punitive enforcement provisions.

“We urge all members of Congress and President Obama to enact comprehensive immigration reform into law, and to rise above the politics of division and to embrace real solutions,” McCullough says.

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Over the past year, the people of Kadokoi in the arid East Baringo District of Kenya, have seen some important changes in their community.  CWS has been working with partner Farming Systems Kenya to make the region more water secure.  On Christmas Day 2009, Kadokoi gained access to water for the first time.  A borehole well was drilled and equipped with a solar panel.  Plus, two water tanks and a water point were installed.

“Before the water tanks were installed, life was much more difficult,” says community member Rebecca.  “I had to travel seven kilometers (4.2 miles) one way to access water, so getting water for my family would take an entire day.  We had to wait in long lines because there were so many people sharing that water point, and it was not very clean, either, because animals were using it, as well.  But now, things have changed, and we have a new way of life.  The people in our community are much healthier.

“I have time for other activities.  I have started rearing chickens and weaving baskets to sell in order to supplement my income.  I am planning to begin growing vegetables.”

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U.S. Storms

Tornadoes and torrential rains affected several southern states this past weekend.  At least 19 people died in storms that hit Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky.  A slow-moving storm dumped as much as 17 inches of rain in some parts of Tennessee, causing severe flooding.  CWS is providing 1,020 CWS Hygiene Kits, 600 CWS Blankets, 105 Baby Kits, 200 Emergency Clean-up Buckets, and 210 School Kits to Adventist Community Services in Little Rock, Arkansas, for the needs of families affected by tornadoes and flooding in that state.  CWS is in contact with our partners in affected states.

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Mother's Day

May 9, is just around the corner. Honor Mom--and other women important in your life--by making an online alternative gift that helps a mother and family in need.  Then send Mom one of our beautiful eCards telling her about the gift you’ve made in her name.  Get started now at

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