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CWS Update December 2012

December 2012

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25 Christmas Day

Thank you for your continued support through 2012.  The office will close at 5pm on Friday 21 December and reopen on Thursday, 3 January at 9am.  During this time messages can be sent to and any announcements will be made through the website.

We wish you a joyful Christmas and strength for the year ahead.  Let us join in the work to protect land and livelihoods for those whose future is in danger.  More than ever let us work together for peace.

With warmest greetings,
Christian World Service Staff

Photo - SAND

Munipandi in the striped shirt is a member of a theatre school run by CWS partner, SAND. His mother makes bricks. Theatre school helps Dalit children gain confidence to stand up for their rights (See Christmas children’s resource).  Photo: SAND

CWS is hoping for a generous response to this year’s Christmas Appeal with its focus on landgrabs and the dedicated work of its partners.  Neythal and the Human Rights Foundation in South India have been key players in stopping the digging of a deeper canal between India and Sri Lanka which would cause irreparable damage to the coast and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of fisherfolk.  SAND (see above) are helping very poor Dalit families working in the brickmaking industry to find new hope while campaigning for the environment and respect for human rights.  This work and much more goes on because of the support you give to the Christmas Appeal.   Read the partner stories and please give generously.
Pacific Cyclone Appeal
CWS launched an appeal for partner groups in Samoa and Fiji responding to the devastation caused by Cyclone Evan.  “There is a common need for immediate short term help with food, shelter and repairs followed with a longer haul need to look to issues like crops, livelihoods and incomes’’ said Pauline McKay.  In both cases the need for the partners was for cash, not goods.  In Samoa banana crops have been almost destroyed, breadfruit trees stripped and the older trees look like they may take years to recover.  Villagers could live off the fallen fruit for now but will need money to buy food in the months ahead.  CWS partner ECREA works in the informal settlements some of which are on the banks of the flooded Navua River.  Donations to the Pacific Cyclone Appeal will help communities clean up and rebuild their lives.

Pray for the Pacific
CWS has received messages from the Pacific Conference of Churches and the Christian Congregational Church of Samoa acknowledging our concern for those affected by the Cyclone.   Dr Salevao writes from CCCS: “Thank you so much for the kind thoughts and prayers.  Indeed, once again we are having to go through the painful process of grieving for our people who have lost loved ones, houses, possessions, and even hope.  Many of those affected are members of our church and we have begun the long comforting and recovery process again.  We feel strong in faith though, assured that we have friends and colleagues who are with us in our good and bad times.  It is people like you and Christian World Service of New Zealand who give us the strength to go on.  Please keep us in your prayers.”

Support for Palestine
CWS welcomed New Zealand’s support for Palestine’s bid for non-member observer status at the United Nations.  National director Pauline McKay wrote to foreign minister Murray McCully in support saying, [it] “is a positive step and we hope an incentive towards restarting the peace talks that are so desperately needed to address the violence and suffering in the region.”

Concerns mount in DRC
ACT Alliance members are working to provide relief in the Democratic Republic of Congo and to refugees fleeing the conflict and bitter poverty.  Security is difficult and M23 rebels pose a threat to humanitarian supplies arriving through the reopened Goma airport.  In November an estimated 140,000 people were displaced  around the city of Goma, when a new wave of fighting flared up in North Kivu province. The M23 rebels have conditionally pulled out of the Goma region, and some internally displaced people are beginning to return home. Many refugees remain in neighbouring countries including South Sudan.  Peace talks between the DRC government and the rebels continue in Uganda.

UN: Climate Change
CWS was disappointed in New Zealand’s decision not to sign up to the next round of the Kyoto Protocol.  Prior to the UN Conference in Qatar CWS wrote to Climate Negotiations minister Tim Groser urging more action to cut carbon emissions.  It is poor people who are most likely to suffer in climate related disasters.

Philippines needs HelpPhoto - ACT P Jeffrey
CWS launched an appeal for the Philippines following the arrival of Typhoon Bopha (known locally as Pablo) on December 4.  ACT Alliance members  are providing food, blankets, first aid kits, cooking utensils, shovels and cash assistance in Mindanao and the Visayas.

The Philippines government reported that 5.4 million people have been affected  and more than 1.14 million are in need of food assistance. 

Almost one year on from Typhoon Washi, ACT Alliance reported that locals had learned the lessons of disaster preparedness.  Even though Bopha was three times the strength of Washi, many lives were saved.  Imee Manginsay noting the importance of involving women in planning said, “During disasters, it’s the women who care for the children and think of the impact on the family. So during our training and our mapping of risks in the communities we ensured that women participated fully. It’s the women who will prepare the emergency kit and be sure that there’s a flashlight and batteries. The men will worry about the cows and water buffaloes, but the women will ensure that the family survives.”

Harvest Lent Resources
Share your Blessings is the theme of a new CWS resource to be available early February.  It will focus on CEPAD’s work to help families reap more from their land, worship material and a theological reflection by John Bluck.

Last Minute E-Gifts
There is enough time to send a global gift for Christmas.  Check out the e-gift range of Gifted.

About Update
Update provides news, information and stories.  Reproduction of items is encouraged with attribution from CWS.  The current and back issues are available.