In the wake of a powerful earthquake centered just southwest of the capital city of Port-au-Prince, Church World Service staff are quickly responding, contacting long-term partners in the country and working with them to assess the situation. The Ecumenical Foundation for Peace, whose House of Hope day school is supported by CWS, reports the school is damaged and they are trying to determine the well-being of some of the staff and children.
CWS is sending funds to local partners in Haiti as we continue to assess the situation. We are standing ready to provide CWS Kits and CWS Blankets to people in need there.
Your support is urgently needed. Visit www.churchworldservice.org to find out how you can help.
As we enter a new year, the situation in Darfur remains very serious. The Church World Service-supported ACT humanitarian program in Darfur began in 2004, to assist families displaced by violence between the government and various rebel factions, and remains one of the largest humanitarian programs in South and West Darfur, assisting some 350,000 people.
The cornerstone of the CWS-supported program in Darfur remains the delivery of life-saving services to displaced families and to the communities hosting them.
In 2009, CWS-supported efforts provided assistance to people in South and West Darfur. Nearly 168,000 people gained access to water through 38 water systems; 173,965 people had access to health care in ten health facilities; 29,206 displaced families received non-food items; three schools were built, nine rehabilitated and one vocational center established; 20,151 malnourished people were fed at nutrition centers; young people in South and West Darfur took part in a "sports for peace" program; a grassroots peacebuilding initiative was developed through the training of 190 community-based organization members in peacebuilding, conflict resolution and reconciliation; 22 microfinance groups were formed; and 14 women's committees worked on adult education and literacy programs.
This year, efforts are focusing on nutrition and feeding centers for the displaced; additional water and sanitation projects; psycho-social assistance; increased peacebuilding and protection efforts; and community empowerment projects. Highlights include support for seven feeding clinics and four nutrition centers, and the ongoing construction of educational facilities.
In Muong Te district, Lai Chau province--one of the poorest districts in Vietnam--915 ethnic minority pre-schoolers, whose families cannot afford to send food along to school with their children, are receiving a rice meal at school with the help of Church World Service.
The Vietnamese government provides school food for grades 1 through 5, but not for pre-schoolers. The rice-at-school is important for the ethnic minority kids, both nutritionally and for their educational future. Having grown up learning the local dialect language at home, they need the head start pre-school offers in learning Vietnamese, the standard language in schools.
Get your congregation or group together this year to assemble CWS Kits! CWS Hygiene Kits, School Kits, Baby Care Kits and CWS Emergency Clean-up Buckets are in great demand. For example, this past year we provided 18,000 CWS Hygiene Kits in Syria to assist families who had fled conflict in Iraq. And, in the U.S., 2,520 Hygiene Kits and 510 Baby Care Kits went to the Maryville Armory, in North Dakota, to assist area families facing emergency situations. Visit www.churchworldservice.org/kits for more details.