CWS Asia


Refugee and Migrant Protection

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Baking course for the group of 14 unaccompanied asylum-seeking boys from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Somalia in south Jakarta. Photo: CWS

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The boy in the yellow shirt was arriving by a complicated route from Afghanistan to join the others in their new home. Photo: CWS

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A 56-year old man, refugee from Afghanistan, gets over the daily language barrier by starting learning English and computer skills. Photo: CWS

CWS ensures protection, provides access to basic services including health, education and psychosocial support and leads life skills development and vocational training courses for vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in the greater Jakarta area. Indonesia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and refugees are not allowed to work, making support even more critical. CWS staff ensure that asylum seekers and refugees receive basic services in health, education, protection, including safety/security monitoring and psychosocial support. CWS staff also provide a monthly allowance for those unable to afford food and accommodation for themselves and their families.

Support for unaccompanied minors is a key part of CWS work in Jakarta. Many minors are referred to CWS after their release from immigration detention. They are initially detained by the Department of Immigration for violating immigration laws, but released once authorities establish that they are minors traveling without family and that there is an alternative to detention for them, namely a shelter. CWS is therefore filling a critical gap in the protection of refugee minors in Indonesia. The three CWS shelters are among the very few alternatives to detention for minors. There still remains an unmet need for additional shelter space; as of June 2015, 512 minors were still held in immigration detention. Upon release they are placed under the supervision of guardians in one of three shelters in Jakarta operated by CWS. There, the CWS team members devote significant time and energy to ensuring their protection and psychosocial well-being, which can be a daunting task with up to 40 adolescent males in each shelter community.

Countries: Indonesia

Latest News

It Was a Long and Difficult Journey … I Feel Much Safer Now

CWS Indonesia | May 7, 2017

Aziz* is from Afgooye in Somalia, and his story echoes that of many other boys who flee their country to get away from a militia trying to make them join their ranks. Also, like many others, after a long journey through Malaysia, he arrived alone in Indonesia and found his way to the United Nations […]

“I hope to build my good future”

CWS Indonesia | April 11, 2017

Feisal* has no memory of his parents and siblings because he was barely one year old when they were killed in their Somali home, and his grandmother fled with him to safety and to raise him on her own. Then, a few years ago, when he was 20, tragedy struck again. “One day, the only […]

A New Home in Jakarta Opens for Refugee and Asylum-Seeking Girls

CWS Indonesia | March 18, 2017

Protecting Urban Refugees through Empowerment – PURE – efforts in Jakarta have grown again with a fifth group home exclusively for girls and young women recently opened. With support from the Australian Department for Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and in partnership with the UNHCR, the home opened with a festive ceremony on February 21st […]

A Profile in Courage, and Hope: A Somali Refugee Girl’s Story

CWS Indonesia | March 14, 2017

Nafyar* was 12 when men from the Al-Shabab militia entered her hometown in Somalia, killing her parents and older siblings. Nafar survived by hiding until the militia left, and then a kind-hearted neighbor helped her escape to Kenya. After living in Kenya for two years, and after a long journey by ways of Malaysia, Nafyar […]

Two journeys, 25 years apart

Leslie Wilson | March 8, 2017

Recently, I spent a few energizing hours with two dozen teenage girls who, after an astoundingly circuitous journey from East Africa to Indonesia, have found themselves in the care and protection of Church World Service. The girls each left home on their own in search of safety and asylum, and none of them has relatives […]

Ingredients for a new life

CWS Indonesia | January 25, 2017

Toward the end of December 2016 a group of 14 unaccompanied asylum-seeking boys from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Somalia gathered in a large kitchen in south Jakarta for an intensive, three-day baking course. This was a welcome break from the long, routine days and weeks the boys spend in their CWS-supported group homes. Since […]

An Afghan Refugee Makes the Most of His Time While Waiting for Onward Asylum

CWS Indonesia | December 28, 2016

Muhammad* and his bicycle are a familiar sight around the CWS-UNHCR Refugee Center in Jakarta. Twice a week for the last two years the 56-year old has been attending English and computer classes at the Center – though most of his classmates are not older than 20. To save what little money he has, Muhammad […]

An Afghan Asylum Seeker Volunteers Her Time and Talent To Help Others

CWS Indonesia | December 1, 2016

Zakera, who is one an asylum seekers whom CWS supports in Jakarta, studied mathematics at Kabul University and taught at a private school there. As a woman of Hazara ethnicity, Zakera was not completely surprised to receive death threats in her homeland because her Hazara people are greatly persecuted there. After another Hazara colleague and […]

16-year-old Somalia native boy, Fahal, finds his new home in Jakarta

CWS Indonesia | November 16, 2016

The entire course of Fahal’s life changed in an afternoon. He was playing football with friends at home in Somalia when a terrorist group – he still doesn’t know exactly who they were – attacked his village. His father and two brothers were killed and his mother was abducted. His uncle decided that Fahal must […]

Great feeling being in the new home that CWS supports in partnership with the UNHCR

CWS Indonesia | November 3, 2016

Sixteen-year-old Maysam (not his real name) is among the 35 teenage boys living in a new CWS-supported group home for unaccompanied and separated refugee children in Jakarta. Originally from a small town in Ghazni Province in southeastern Afghanistan, Maysam fled his home after a Taliban-affiliated group abducted his father, who was a shopkeeper. “We had […]

Providing homes for young refugees in Jakarta

CWS Indonesia | October 28, 2016

The CWS Protecting Urban Refugees through Empowerment – or PURE – program in Jakarta is expanding! In partnership with the UNHCR, the Department of State Bureau on Population, Refugees and Migration and the Australian government, we are opening new group homes for unaccompanied or separated refugee children. Below, three CWS staff members reflect on the […]

CWS supported democratic annual election of Refugee Representatives

CWS Indonesia | October 12, 2016

Recently, refugees and asylum seekers who participate in the UNHCR-funded PURE initiative gathered at their community center in Jakarta for their much-anticipated annual election of 18 Refugee Representatives. On September 1st eight women and eight men were elected by their peers to play an important role in voicing the aspirations and concerns, and presenting the […]

In Jakarta, CWS hosts unaccompanied and separated children in group homes

CWS Indonesia | September 17, 2016

These young people left their homes – often forced to flee persecution or harm – and are alone in Indonesia without their families. We are preparing to open two new group homes, which will provide safety and security for an additional 80 boys.

A graphic design workshop to explore young refugees’ graphic design interest and talents

CWS Indonesia | April 30, 2016

To support educational activities for young refugees living in CWS-managed group homes in Jakarta, PURE team members arranged for eight boys join a one-day graphic design workshop to explore their graphic design interest and talents. Dampu Design hosted the boys at no cost to CWS, and they all learned graphic design basics, including packaging design […]

Group discussion about issues and challenges that women refugees face in Indonesia

CWS Indonesia | March 28, 2016

Twenty-seven women refugees and several members of the CWS PURE team celebrated International Women’s Day in March at the CWS-managed PURE Refugee Center. After a movie screening the group discussed issues and challenges that women refugees face in Indonesia, as well as their hopes for the future. Farhiya, a 25-year-old refugee from Somalia, said that […]

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