CWS Asia


While visiting Timor Zero Hunger project activities, including technical support for improved vegetable farming and women’s savings and loans groups, CWS President & CEO, Reverend John McCullough (third from right, standing, in the photo) met with members of the Bauk Usif B weaving group in Enonabuasa village in south central West Timor. He was joined by CWS Cambodia program colleagues Ek Sothea and Kim Nimol, who work on similar issues with families in rural Cambodia. They were hosted by Vincent Surma (standing first on the left in the photo), who is CWS Program Manager in West Timor, and other members of the CWS Indonesia team. Photo: CWS

A boy gets water from a CWS truck. He is one of more than 13,000 people who CWS delivers water to each day (Central Sulawesi earthquake). Photo: CWS

Buttu Tasik feeding his pig supplements (DREAM project). Photo: CWS

Laila (not her real name) is an 18-year-old girl who lives in a CWS-sponsored group home in Jakarta, Indonesia. Laila reading her poems about gender based violence. Photo: CWS


CWS teams first served the people of Indonesia through the Communion of Churches in Indonesia in the 1950s. Then following decades of humanitarian and development work, and a brief hiatus in 1997, CWS partnered significantly with the U.S. government through USDA and USAID Title II funding after a series of crises, both natural and manmade, caused a dramatic increase in food prices and pervasive poverty, as well as alarmingly high malnutrition rates among young children.

As the economy has stabilized, many people’s lives and livelihoods have improved. However, there are several remaining areas of poverty, hunger and malnutrition, so CWS continues its original work through our signature Timor Zero Hunger initiative in partnership with Week of Compassion, the Henry E. Niles Foundation and other individual donors. This work also significantly funds CWS-led initiatives for the continuing response to the Fukushima, Japan, nuclear disaster.

Also in Indonesia, CWS partners with UNHCR to protect and support refugees and asylum seekers from across Asia and eastern Africa. Additionally, we partner with Act for Peace to promote school and community safety in areas prone to inclement weather and climate-related disasters.

Latest News

Household latrines help families in Indonesia stay healthy during Covid-19

CWS Indonesia | November 19, 2020

Disaster struck the village of Balongga in Indonesia in September 2018. A massive earthquake–and the resulting tsunamis and land liquefaction–destroyed or badly damaged most houses here. Today, many families in Balongga still live in “temporary” shelters that organizations including CWS helped them build. They are meant to be an intermediate solution and have a couple […]

Eggs and chickens: emergency nutrition + long-term resilience

CWS Indonesia | November 9, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of South Central Timor, Indonesia, closed public markets. And with all local markets closed, Afes worried. He wouldn’t be able to sell his cassava or banana harvests, and his family urgently needed the money. His recent corn crop had failed because there wasn’t enough rain, so his […]

The ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children Marks a Decade of Progress

Fabrianna Natasha | October 21, 2020

I’m Fabrianna Natasha, a Child Protection Officer with the CWS Protecting Urban Refugees through Empowerment (PURE) project. I work in Jakarta, Indonesia. Recently I had the opportunity to join a virtual gathering about A Decade of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and […]

Rebuilding & Becoming More Resilient: Progress & Lessons Learned with Central Sulawesi Communities

CWS Indonesia | September 29, 2020

On the evening of September 28, 2018, a massive earthquake hit the Minahasa Peninsula of Sulawesi island in Indonesia. The quake triggered tsunamis as high as seven meters, which caused landslides and soil liquefaction. More than 5,000 people lost their lives to the disaster; twice that many people were injured – some severely. At least […]

Three 16-year-old Refugees Take Top Honors In CWS World Refugee Day Poster Contest

CWS Indonesia | July 3, 2020

To mark World Refugee Day 2020 in a time of social distancing and movement restrictions, CWS organized a stay-at-home poster contest among the boys who live in group homes we support in Jakarta. Originally from Afghanistan, Asadi was awarded First Prize. He told the judges he was happy to have positive activity to help pass […]

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

CWS Indonesia | 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 […]

CWS Teams Have Continued Grassroots Development Work in Communities

CWS Indonesia | 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!

Past Learning About Frequent Handwashing Helps Families Avoid COVID-19 Harm

CWS Indonesia | May 2, 2020

By Indarwati Palembangan, our Senior Project Officer in Tana Toraja. State Primary School 177 is in Se’seng village in the Tana Toraja district of Sulawesi island in Indonesia. The village lies in a mountainous area prone to landslides. So, back in 2015, schools and community leaders joined teachers, students and parents to join a Safe […]

CWS Is Working to Ensure the Wellbeing of Young Asylum Seekers and Refugees

CWS Indonesia | March 27, 2020

In our urban refugee program in Jakarta, PURE+, CWS staff have acted together with group home residents to respond quickly to COVID-19 risks. There was deep cleaning in each of four homes to start. At the same time our security guards, who have a lot of responsibilities for the homes’ safety, were learning the facts […]

Nofi’s Uncle Supports Her Will To Have Power Over Her Life

CWS Indonesia | December 31, 2019

Nofrita Eky, who goes by Nofi, is a 19-year-old girl who has lives with her grandmother and uncle. When she was 14, Nofi’s father died and, to make ends meet, her mother moved to a community about 4-hours away from Nofi, to work as a teacher. So, while she is sad to not be with […]

Never Stop Learning

CWS Indonesia |

The women of Sikara Tobata village recently formed the Healthy Orchid Care group to raise awareness about community and family health issues. Recently, the women came together to learn about the five pillars of Community-Based Total Sanitation, a participatory process by which people come together assess the sanitation and hygiene in their community. The process […]

Farah’s Future

CWS Indonesia | December 30, 2019

In 2010, 17-year-old Farah’s family home in Mogadishu was burned down while she and her family were still in it. Though severely burned over her whole body, Farah was the only survivor. For a long time, Farah was hospitalized. But finally, she felt able to take the long journey that she knew she must do […]

Empowering Emiliani

CWS Indonesia |

Emiliani is a 44-year-old housewife, mother and farmer from Balombong village. In 2018, Emiliani joined KSPP Anggrek, a women-run savings and loan group. Anggrek is supported by the CWS Disaster Risk Reduction through Enhanced Adaptive Measures (DREAM) project, which helps families build their resilience. One way DREAM works is by supporting women farmers to organize […]

“Now we can take part in saving ourselves”: Disaster Resilience Grows in Sulawesi, Indonesia

CWS Indonesia | November 27, 2019

Lembang Pondingao village of about 700 people in remote mountainous South Sulawesi, Indonesia. As such it, like much of the country, is earthquake-prone. This is a big concern for 45-year-old Dolo Karua, the village’s leader since 2007. “Every time there is an earthquake, people panic”. Understandably. Because of his responsibility for 700 people, Dolo Karua […]

South Sulawesi Organizations Join Communities to Build Disaster Response Awareness and Skills

CWS Indonesia |

In mid-October, CWS joined Pusbinlat Toraja Church and the South Sulawesi Indonesian Red Cross Society to lead First Aid skill-building activities with the Lembang Disaster Preparedness Team and Disaster Risk Reduction Forum. The activities included an information exchange as well as hands-on learning for saving lives, preventing disabilities and providing comfort and support during emergency […]

Knowing More, Hoping for More and Making Changes for the Better

CWS Indonesia | November 26, 2019

Ercy is a 33-year-old mother of three young children who, along with her husband, struggles with daily life. Sadly, in their West Timor, Indonesia village they are not unique in this regard. So, this is a key reason CWS is working with Ercy and many others in the Timor Zero Hunger initiative. Timor Zero Hunger […]

When Water Is a Luxury

CWS Indonesia |

Having clean water, proper sanitation and good hygiene are essential to everyone’s health. In the United States, these things are generally taken for granted. But, access to safe water, proper sanitation and the chance to have good hygiene are difficult in much of the world, especially during an emergency. Selvina, a 50-year-old mother of four, […]

“I want to become an interpreter so I can help my community …”

CWS Indonesia |

In the Protecting Urban Refugees through Empowerment (PURE) project, young refugees can join vocational training classes to help prepare themselves for independence after they leave group living and CWS direct care and protection. One class offered now is designed to help students learn to be skilled interpreters for other refugees. Usually, refugees reach Indonesia without […]

Teaching Centered on Helping Young People Survive

CWS Indonesia |

In a project named PURE, CWS staff in Jakarta, Indonesia work together to protect urban refugees through empowerment. Protection starts with information-sharing and progresses in a number of ways – including vocational skills building. Of special importance to CWS for education and training programs are refugee youth transitioning to independent living as they reach age […]

Celebrating International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction by Preparing for Future Disasters

CWS Indonesia |

Eleven-year-old Taufiq still remembers when a series of earthquakes hit his village, Ombo, in Central Sulawesi last year. “I was inside the house with my mother when the quake struck”, he said. Expecting other quakes or a tsunami, Taufiq, his family and neighbors fled to nearby mountains. And, even when they returned home, thousands of […]

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