CWS Asia

Refugee and Migrant Protection

Learning to sew. Photo: CWS

Mustafa puts finishing touches on their on-the-spot drawing corner during UNHCR’s world refugee event. Photo: CWS

4x4 Indonesia_Baking

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

Latest News

High Quality Care for All Near the Thai-Burma Border: The Kwai River Christian Hospital

CWS Thailand | June 17, 2019

When Saw Myint started having more severe back pain than usual for a woman of her age, she knew where to go for help. Her whole family relies on the Kwai River Christian Hospital for care because they know that the doctors are friendly, and the staff are kind to patients. Originally from Burma (now […]

I’ve Never Had a Hobby Before!

CWS Indonesia | June 16, 2019

Asha was born in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp near Mogadishu, Somalia, where her family sought refuge amidst turmoil in their village. Life was hard; food was scarce; the family relied on others, especially international aid organizations for food and water; usually, there was only one meal daily. There was constant discord in the […]

A Long Road from Central Afghanistan to a Forbes Magazine Internship!

CWS Indonesia | May 26, 2019

Azar (not his real name), was born in the mountains of southern Hazarajat in central Afghanistan. Azar always considered his village a safe place to live. But, towards the end of his primary school years, a group identifying with the Afghan Taliban infiltrated the village and Azar, whose family was not sympathetic to the group, […]

Laila’s Journey Toward Freedom Continues

CWS Indonesia | March 29, 2019

Laila (not her real name) is an 18-year-old girl who lives in a CWS-sponsored group home in Jakarta, Indonesia. In early December, Laila joined the 16 Days of Activism international campaign against gender-based violence by drawing pictures and writing poems to raise her voice against such violence. Since the end of the official 2018 campaign, […]

Rethinking Rations for Refugees Along the Thailand-Myanmar Border

CWS Thailand |

Sher Ka Myee’s shop looks like many grocery shops or convenience stores around the world. She sells lots of different foods, including eggs, oil, chicken, pork, fish, vegetables and several types of rice. She sells bottled water and other drinks, as well household items like shampoo and soap. She has owned this shop for a […]

Now, I Am Making Up for Lost Time

CWS Indonesia | January 19, 2019

Taman was born to a poor family in Afghanistan, which didn’t have money to send her to school. So, she took matters into her own hands to be educated. “I was always working odd jobs and learning and trying different things so I could earn extra money to pay for my education,” Taman told one […]

A Young Somali Asylum Seeker Reshapes and Revives His Dream

CWS Indonesia | December 25, 2018

From an early age Abdi dreamed about going to university. Born and raised in Mogadishu, Somalia, Abdi’s dreams were shattered when he was in 8th grade when civil unrest, insecurity and government disarray cause the education system to collapse, which meant that Abdi’s education ended when he was only 14. The collapse of Somalia’s schools […]

A Long Journey for Elham Shows Sign Posts of Hope for His Future

CWS Indonesia | November 28, 2018

Elham (not his real name) was born in Ghazni, Afghanistan to a working middle-class Hazara family. His mother was a dressmaker and his father worked for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Elham enjoyed a childhood that was more comfortable than many Afghan children’s until his life changed suddenly when his father died. With […]

Linen for Life: A Chance to Develop a New Talent … a Long Way from Home

CWS Indonesia | October 22, 2018

Born in Wardak Province in central Afghanistan, Amir (not his real name) left home when he was just 13 years old because his parents feared for his safety during continuing civil and sectarian strife in their country. First, they sent him to Kabul, and from there he traveled a familiar route arranged by well-known, and […]

“Take the Chances You Are Given”

CWS Indonesia | September 20, 2018

Abdo (not his real name) is the youngest of 8 children in a Sudanese family, and he was just one year old when his mother and siblings had to flee with him to a refugee camp after their village was burned down in the ongoing sectarian violence that plagues their country. Abdo lived in the […]

What I Learned: Someone Who Is ‘Different’ Is Not Necessarily ‘Bad’

CWS Indonesia | August 19, 2018

In July, CWS partnered with Kampus Diakonia Modern, a local foundation that supports street children in Jakarta, to bring 33 unaccompanied and separated refugee children (UASC) together with 35 Indonesian children for two days of fun through sports, arts and crafts activities and cultural sharing and learning. Among many options, the Indonesian children wanted to […]

A Hopeful Start for New Refugee Teachers

CWS Indonesia | June 20, 2018

Recently about 100 unaccompanied and separated refugee children, both boys and girls, who live in three CWS-supported group homes in Jakarta started new classes in the group homes. It was an exciting time not only for the students, who were ending a two-week break and were eager to resume learning, but also for five new […]

I Feel Very Safe Here … Healthy and Happy

CWS Indonesia | May 17, 2018

As unlikely as it seems for a young man with a disability (Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita) that requires he walk with crutches Mohammad (not his real name) is a sports enthusiast who works out regularly at a gym near the CWS-organize group home where he lives in Jakarta along with 39 other teens. After inviting a […]

Volunteer Teachers Work to Educate … and Inspire

CWS Indonesia | May 16, 2018

Education is one way to inspire hope among displaced and at-risk children, including those who are separated from their families as refugees and asylum seekers in foreign countries far from their homelands. Nowhere is this more evident than in Jakarta, Indonesia, where CWS staff see that there is a thirst for education among the multicultural […]

The Reason We Are Here in the First Place

CWS Indonesia | April 17, 2018

For unaccompanied refugee children living in CWS-hosted group homes in Jakarta, Indonesia, soccer means something different than in many places. Played most by boys seeking asylum and safety from war-torn countries around the world, soccer represents a real kind of freedom – if only momentary freedom from worry and fear about the future. While all […]

A Place To Live, Learn, And Play

CWS Indonesia | February 18, 2018

On a rainy Jakarta afternoon Mohammad* and Ahmad* (*not their real names), who are asylum-seeking teens from Darfur, Sudan, are sitting on the balcony of their CWS-hosted group home passing the time by drawing in their sketch books. Ahmad is a very talented sketch artist and he is teaching Mohammad. They both have lived in […]

Exploring Alternatives to Detention for Unaccompanied and Separated Refugee Children

CWS Indonesia | February 16, 2018

In support of the 200+ asylum-seeking and refugee children CWS hosts in Jakarta, PURE Program Manager Andi Juanda recently joined an EU-funded / UNHCR-organized Alternatives to Detention Learning Program, which convened program experts from the UNHCR and a variety of organizations involved in campaigning and advocating for alternatives to detention for children; and, like CWS, […]

Making the Best of a Bad Situation … and Finding Joy in the Bargain

CWS Indonesia | December 19, 2017

Shawqi is a Sudanese refugee who reached Indonesia six years ago seeking refugee only to find himself homeless and scavenging for food. He had Dengue fever for a while, too, but survived and found his way to the protection of the CWS-led initiative to care for the most vulnerable of asylum seekers in Jakarta. And, […]

Community Centers: A Safe Space for Children to Learn Lessons of All Kinds

CWS Indonesia | November 16, 2017

In two Jakarta neighborhoods, Community Centers have for some years offered welcoming and safe spaces for refugees and asylum seekers to meet and work together to improve their daily lives – despite the many challenges they and their families and neighbors face. The Centers offer all who are interested a chance to access information, to […]

A Safety Net for Yasmin

CWS Japan | October 16, 2017

Earlier this year, Yasmin returned to Afghanistan from refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan with her husband and seven children. Her refugee experience started when she was a child herself – just five years old! And, the conditions she faced through the years were horrific, including terrible living environment and forced early marriage due to her […]

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