Building a world where there is enough for all

Photo: CWS

Church World Service in Asia

In Asia, CWS works with families, communities, governments, ecumenical and technical partners and other non-government organizations to help some of the region’s most vulnerable people. Most often we partner in support of long-term socioeconomic development and, when needed, we help people cope with the effects and aftermath of natural and manmade crises across the region.

CWS works in partnership with communities and families in six Southeast Asian countries – Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam – to help them improve their lives. We do this by enhancing access to information, hands-on education and training for development and disaster preparedness. National teams and local partners follow up with individuals and communities with coaching and monitoring to help ensure quality, accountability and sustainability. In Japan, CWS supports the work of CWS Japan: its advocacy and humanitarian initiatives in Japan as well as its development outreach and emergency response in other countries.

Rainwater Tank Adds to a Village’s Clean Water Supply

Workers prepare bricks to build the 5,000 gallon tank. Photo: CWS

July 13, 2020 – A lack of reliable drinking water has been a chronic problem for many years in Myanmar’s Wai Dauk village. In this village five hours southeast of Myanmar’s commercial capital, Yangon, 60 families source drinking water from two 60-square-foot ponds. The ponds are not reliable year-round, though. First, evaporation leads to shortages during the hot season. Second, rising sea levels in the massive river delta where Wai Dauk lies contaminate all area ponds from time to time. Deep tube wells are not a viable option either because ground water is too salty.

So, in early 2020, people in Wai Dauk proposed a 5,000-gallon concrete rainwater collection tank. The tank, suggested to be built next to a Baptist church, would provide an additional water source for everyone in the village. Together, community members sought support from the Karen Baptist Convention (KBC). And since KBC was aware of CWS water and sanitation projects, one of its members asked us for technical advice … and funding support.

Pastor Saw Thaw Tu voiced praise for the project. “Our village faces water scarcity every year. Now, we have an extra resource to decrease our problems and worry. We can also fill the tank with water from one of our hand-dug ponds when it is empty of rainwater. In the dry season, we plan to support each family with two gallons of drinking water every day. If the ponds are completely dry, but the tank is full, this means we have enough water for 41 days”.

Of course, everyone, especially mothers, was happy to note that year-round water, which is vital for good basic hygiene, especially handwashing, would also be secure with the tank.

Finally, Pastor Saw Thaw Tu thanked KBC for bringing the water scarcity issue to CWS attention. “I always like to thank God first. And now I’d like to say thank you to CWS for helping us buy bricks and mortar”. In acknowledging people who support others less fortunate than they, he concluded, “I pray for everyone to keep safe and healthy”.

Back in Business: CWS Cash Transfer Initiative Helps Nurmita Return to Work

July 2, 2020 – Nurmita lives in a Central Sulawesi village where, before a devastating earthquake in 2018, she sold traditional cakes to earn a nice income. In the disaster Nurmita lost her baking equipment and supplies … and her livelihood. Her situation was not uncommon, unfortunately. And it has taken quite some time for people to recover and regroup.

Now, finally, with help from CWS and our local partner organization, INANTA, things are changing.

Some months ago, Nurmita and 89 others in Lende Tovea village each received a small grant to restart a lost business. With her 2.8M Rupiah ($200) Nurmita bought a mixer, a small oven, a cylinder of propane gas and other supplies to start baking again. Now she is back to selling her cakes, which are as famous as ever in the whole village.

In fact, on days she does not make the rounds in Lende Tovea, people come to her house to buy the local favorites. Her top sellers are biapong, a steamed bun filled with peanut paste and konto-konto, a fried bun filled with brown sugar. Each day Nurmita sells just over 100 cakes for about 1,100 Rupiah (7-8 cents) each. “Already my average monthly profit is more than 500,000 Rupiah ($35). I use the money to pay for my children’s education and other household necessities”.

Because her husband is a day laborer who sometimes has work, and sometimes does not, Nurmita has let us know how “very grateful” she is for CWS and INANTA support. With our help, and that of our donors, Nurmita helps her whole family. And, she proudly adds, “I am even able to save about 50,000 Rupiah ($3.50) every month!”.

CWS and Partners Continue Supporting Families and Communities

June 24, 2020 – In the face of COVID-19, CWS teams in Asia are keeping our pledge to ensure that, especially in times of crisis, there is enough for all. Our work is being done, as ever, with partner organizations and community leaders. With emergency food assistance in Cambodia and increased food allowances for unaccompanied refugee children in Indonesia, for example, we continue our mission. And we are assessing new options for more work in Cambodia, especially. In the video below our Cambodia Program Director, Sothea Ek, shares a bit more about the dire situation in her country. Still, in other places across Asia, CWS teams are continuing grassroots development work with thousands of families.

In her comments, Sothea shares our gratitude to the many Americans who help us in our work in Cambodia. She speaks for all of us in Asia. We are grateful for the ways that we are helped by others … so we can help ensure there is, in fact, enough for all.

CWS Teams Have Continued Grassroots Development Work in Communities

June 15, 2020 – During the COVID-19 crisis, CWS teams have continued grassroots development work in many communities. In the video below, our colleague Andi Juanda, shares our gratitude to the many Americans who help us in our work in Indonesia. He speaks for all of us!

CWS and Partners Are Helping COVID-19-affected Families

CWS Cambodia | June 5, 2020

Last week and next week, the CWS team and partners in Cambodia are sharing emergency food – rice, oil and fish sauce – with more than 700 families in Battambang and Preah Vihear provinces. Families were prioritized for support because their breadwinners have lost their jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 threat. The newly-unemployed […]

CWS Continues Partnering in Both Old and New Ways

CWS Myanmar | June 1, 2020

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, CWS program teams are busy working with civil society partners, local government colleagues, communities and families. In Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects continue with added info-sharing about how the novel corona virus spreads. And, vitally, information is shared about ways to prevent infection. […]

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