CWS Asia


Indonesia

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

Overview |

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 funding after a series of crises, both natural and manmade, caused a dramatic increase in food prices and pervasive poverty, as well as high malnutrition rates among young children.

As the economy stabilized and grew – before the ongoing COVID-19 socioeconomic and public health crisis – many people’s lives and livelihoods improved. However, even before the Coronavirus hit, there were countless communities and families living in poverty and with hunger and malnutrition in many places. So, CWS continues its original work through our signature Timor Zero Hunger initiative. Based on known best practices, Timor Zero Hunger integrates agriculture and livelihoods improvements with water and sanitation improvements. In 2020, we added COVID-19 hygiene promotion in partnership with CROP Hunger Walks, CWS Members, Week of Compassion, Latter-day Saints Charities and some individual donors. And, despite COVID-19, Timor Zero Hunger continues to contribute to achieving United Nations Zero Hunger Challenge and the collective goals of the 1,000 Days partnership. While West Timor is far away from reaching these goals, and Indonesia’s Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty, hunger and malnutrition, CWS is committed to continuing our long-standing partnership.

CWS also works with communities in Central Sulawesi to promote and support continuing recovery and rebuilding from the 2018 earthquake and tsunami. Now, our Australian partner Act for Peace is funding a second phase of Disaster Resilience through Enhanced Adaptive Measures (DREAM²). DREAM² aims to support communities to reduce and adapt to climate change-related risks and build resilience. DREAM² aligns with a pilot project funded by CWS members and the David and Carol Myers Foundation, Moving Toward Resilience. In this initiative, CWS teams are partnering with communities to assess the relationship between climate change and migration in some Central Sulawesi villages, and to address climate change-related risks to farming.

In a different direction, CWS partners with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the US Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration, the Australian government and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to protect and support refugees and asylum seekers predominantly from Afghanistan, East Africa, the Middle East, and Asia by Protecting Urban Refugees Through Empowerment.

Latest News

New Skills Help Revive Timor Weaving Traditions and Raise Women’s Earning in the Bargain

CWS Indonesia | August 26, 2019

Deni Seteria Saufeto is a jack-of-all-trades in her West Timor village. Besides taking care of her children and home, Mama Deni earns money weaving textiles as her mother taught her. For years, she had successfully sold shawls and blankets to family or friends. But, many other women in her village also weave, so competition for […]

Lesson Learned: Don’t Take Water for Granted!

CWS Indonesia |

Like many people in the world, Diana used to take water for granted. Now, after the complex natural disaster changed her life last year, she understands how valuable and rare safe water can be. Diana lived in a coastal village near Palu in Central Sulawesi. But when an earthquake and resulting tsunami washed her home […]

Another Lesson Learned: Don’t Forget the Basics

CWS Indonesia |

Adapting to life after a natural disaster is a struggle. For people like Sarini the struggle isn’t just coping with the huge loss of her house and livelihood. It’s also the struggle to meet basic needs day in and day out. Immediately after last September’s earthquake, tsunami and land liquefaction disaster in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, […]

Turning Loans into Savings

CWS Indonesia |

Reni Sattu and her family live in a rural village about 25 miles from the nearest town. Among other services she has no access to, safe banking is one. And, as she learned when she approached a bank in a bigger city, she could not borrow money from them anyway because her husband’s income barely […]

From Small Actions to Big DREAMS

CWS Indonesia |

In October 2016, a landslide destroyed houses and farmland in Lembang Rano, which is a small, mountainous village in southern Tana Toraja, Indonesia. CWS was already working with communities there, and so partnered with the district Disaster Management Agency to strengthen its disaster response. Then, after the community’s recovery from the disaster, CWS staff and […]

Learning to Read Opens a New Chapter in Khadra’s Life

CWS Indonesia |

After finding her way to Indonesia through a long air, sea and land journey, 45-year-old Khadra (not her real name) reached Jakarta, Indonesia feeling alone and lost. The story of how she travelled to Jakarta is a long and winding one – just like the journey itself. But, to fast forward to her success story, […]

A Bit of a Dream Come True: Affordable Loans for Women Farmers

CWS Indonesia | July 31, 2019

Yuliana La’lai, like many of her neighbors in South Sulawesi, has always relied farming for her family’s income. However, slowly but surely climate change is making the region’s harvests less fruitful. Gradually, Yuliana notes, “unpredictable rainfall leaves us not knowing when to plant rice; our cacao pods and coffee plants are affected too”. These crop […]

Central Sulawesi Disaster Recovery Continues with Cash for Families to Rebuild and Renew

CWS Indonesia |

Recently, people from Donggala district, which was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in late September 2018, receive money to support them in the next steps of their recovery from the disaster that upended their lives. The payments to families were made through what is called a cash transfer program, and such programs are increasingly […]

Drip, Drip, Drip (Irrigation): Better Diets and More Produce to Sell in Op Village

CWS Indonesia |

Susana Tefa is a poor farmer in Op village, West Timor. Like countless others in Op and nearby villages, she and her husband are always looking for ways to improve their lives and livelihoods. So, Susana was glad for the opportunity to join CWS-led Timor Zero Hunger project activities, which are open to all who […]

Haircuts, Henna and a Little Happiness

CWS Indonesia |

Recently a few young people who live in group homes for unaccompanied refugee children came to CWS staff with an idea. They wanted to practice their newly honed hair cutting skills by offering to cut their neighbors’ hair. Excited about the idea – and a chance for the youngsters to get to know their neighbors […]

CWS Joins Jakarta World Refugee Day Celebrations!

CWS Indonesia | June 26, 2019

June 20th in Jakarta, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) invited their partners to enliven the celebration hall where formal activities were held. CWS was unique in deciding to invite the refugee children and teens in our care to host exhibitions of there are – including drawings and henna painting! CWS team members […]

Moving, Regrouping and Dreaming for a Better Life

CWS Indonesia | June 18, 2019

Although she is not originally from the area, Nirwana Sai is now among tens of thousands of Central Sulawesi (Indonesia) earthquake and tsunami survivors. Somewhat ironically (or so it seems now) Nirwana, her husband and four kids left their home in South Sulawesi to look for a better life. Both parents were working toward that […]

A Safe and Happy Ending to a Dangerous and Unhappy Journey

CWS Indonesia | June 17, 2019

Mubaraka was born in Afghanistan, but she not does remember much about her country because her family moved to a town across the border is west central Pakistan when she was a baby. Not long after they left their homeland, Mubaraka’s mother left the family and eventually her father remarried. Sadly, Mubaraka and her stepmother […]

A Silver Lining to the Dark Cloud of Last Fall’s Central Sulawesi Earthquake

CWS Indonesia | June 16, 2019

September 28, 2018 started as a normal Friday, a non-workday, for Stofan as he enjoyed a game of football with his friends and spent some quality time with his oldest son. Then, the day became far from normal as the earth shook and the land moved when an earthquake hit. Luckily, Stofan was close to […]

Empowerment Personified

CWS Indonesia |

Before CWS-supported Peer Educators came to her village, 18-year-old Yulianti Elenda Tetty, knew nothing factual about sexual and reproductive health. “Our school never taught about this, and no other people ever really talk about it either”, said Yanti, who is a high school senior. When not in school, Yanti helps her mother with housework. In […]

I’ve Never Had a Hobby Before!

CWS Indonesia |

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 […]

Small Things Add Up to a Lot

CWS Indonesia |

Dina Datu and her husband Lukas live in the mountains of northern South Sulawesi. They spend most of their time working in their family’s rice paddies: planting and harvesting for a share of profits. During the most recent harvest, Dina split her time between the family paddies and working others land for pay to add […]

The Situation Is Not Ideal, But Upholding People’s Dignity Helps

CWS Indonesia |

When someone asks you, “Where is the bathroom?”, what is your answer? For most people, the answer to this question is easy. “Down the hall and to the left”, you might say. For pre-teens Farida and Anizar, the answer is not so easy. After the earthquake that hit their town last year, flash floods washed […]

The Weight of Water

CWS Indonesia | May 26, 2019

Rahmayanti, or Tanti as her friends call her, is much like any other 16-year-old girl. She enjoys spending time with her friends and studying. Yet, unlike most teenage girls, Tanti recently experienced something that most 16-year-olds couldn’t imagine: the consequences of a complex natural disaster when an earthquake that struck in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia in […]

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

CWS Indonesia |

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, […]

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