People Make Change: More Stories of Hope
Our quarterly newsletter features stories from our partners working in local communities to turn violence, poverty and injustice into real change. With your support, more people will have what they need to live well.
But you Came and Cared: The well-being of the individual and the community is at the heart of good development. Local people know their communities. They are the first responders and the last responders after a disaster. Working together, people can achieve better results because they know each other and have shared similar experiences. Psychosocial care and mental health is part of the work our partner do.
Plants Give Peace and Security: At 79 years old, Wilson has come out of retirement to help his community face the climate crisis. The former fisherman lives on Tabon Island in the Philippines. Forced to stay home during the long lockdown, he turned his attention to gardening. Developers offered him practical training, plants, tools and encouragement. Now he is growing food for his family and community. The fish stock in the bay has been in sharp decline and people on the island’s coast say they are losing one metre of their land every year thanks to climate change.
I’m One of the Lucky Women says Karalaini, the proud owner of a small canteen in one of Fiji’s informal settlements. She works closely with Firoza her friend and business partner. The two women took part in a pilot programme run by the Social Empowerment and Education Programme. Before Covid, the women struggled to feed their families and welcomed the opportunity to set up their own cooperative. SEEP plans to extend this local economy project to more women living in the informal settlements and rural areas.
Speak out for Justice is for Dalit and Tribal children and young people of Tamil Nadu, South India. In Children’s Clubs and through the Speak Out programme groups, they are learning about their rights. Ekta is teaching them the skills to improve their lives and livelihoods and giving them the opportunity to play games like netball. The children organise activities for the community and teach their friends and families about the importance of education. With Ekta’s help, Archana escaped a child marriage and stayed in school.
Read the Spring Story featuring Archana’s brave story.
Sometimes we Starve is Premalatha’s story. She lives in Sri Lanka with her daughter and makes clothes for the global market. In our Winter Story, she talks about what it is like to work in the factory and how she managed through Covid. Now Sri Lanka is experiencing its worst economic crisis. Prices are skyrocketing and the country is rationing fuel. Sri Lankans are facing severe shortages and more frequent hunger. In the Women’s Centre, Premalatha has found friendship and support. She is working with other women workers to improve their pay and working conditions.
The Women’s Centre start the Workers Solidarity Kitchen.
Read the Winter Story for her firsthand account.
Create Safe Places for Refugees tells the story of Mona, a refugee born in Lebanon but who could not go to school. When she was 12 her desperate father sought help from DSPR Lebanon. The director enrolled her in an adult literacy class with older women. Thanks to the women who cared for her she has grown in confidence and is exploring new options. Her father cannot speak highly enough of DSPR. Ten-year-old Maryanna told her story soon after her family fled Ukraine. Meet her in a child-friendly space at the Budapest airport in Hungary.
Read the Autumn Story to see how we can help create safe places for refugees.
Put a Smile on Her Face! is a campaign promoting girls’ education in South Sudan. Thanks to a scholarship and support from the Mission for Sustainable Advancement (formerly Maridi Service Agency), Suzan will soon sit her exams. “My hope was almost gone,” she said after schools closed for two years. Now 20, she has already declined 3 marriage proposals and resisted pressure from her grandmother to produce a child. Soon she plans to be one of a handful of young women who complete secondary school.
A Blessing came to Us said René after his family received emergency food parcels and seeds. In the last months of 2020 two hurricanes struck Nicaragua, destroying crops and livelihoods. Thanks to CEPAD (Consejo de Inglesias Evangelicas Pro-Alianza Denominacional or Council of Protestant Churches) and your donations the people have some resources to replace what they lost and improve the lives of the whole community. René is a member of the newly established Local Development Committee, trained and supported by CEPAD, leading the process.
Read the Spring Story to see how they are strengthening their community and protecting families from Covid and hunger.
Our Life is so Difficult said Chandramathi when describing her life on the coast of Tamil Nadu, South India. The pandemic has tested the endurance of these fearless fish workers. She and her colleagues face these challenges with new skills and confidence they have learned as part of the Legal Aid to Women Trust.
Read the Winter Story to see the challenges she is facing.
Watch their video: South India’s Promising Entrepreneurs to see where Chandramathi and her colleagues live and work.
Together we can make it tells the story of three women in Jordan and their Food Bank. Abeer, Nabila and Iman grow mountains of food in two greenhouses. They teach other refugee women how to grow the vegetables they cannot afford to buy.
Working together, we can make sure more families eat well and learn new skills that last.
Read the Autumn Story to see how refugee mothers are feeding their families during the pandemic.
Change Lives Forever is Rhoda’s story. A few years ago collecting water for her household of five grandchildren orphaned by AIDS could take most of the day. With their own water, the family has water to drink. The children are in school and can wash their hands, more important than ever during the pandemic. She gives thanks ‘for generous hearts’ that gave the gift of water. Specioza is looking forward to being “liberated from all forms of water suffering” when she gets her tank.
Read the Summer Story to see how you can help during the pandemic and change lives forever.
Grow a Garden to Survive is a story for spring. From Sri Lanka, Dhammika tells the story of how she has transformed her rocky land into a productive garden, keeping her family well-fed during Covid. Like other members of MONLAR, she is eager to help other families like hers. With a productive garden, they will better survive the lack of employment and lockdowns.
Read the Spring Story to find out how MONLAR supports and advocates for small farmers like Dhammika – and our Summary Annual Review.
Just for You is the story of Lakshmi who at 86 years old is dependent on the kindness of others. India’s Tamil Nadu government has denied emergency food rations to people like her living alone. So when young women from CWS partner, EKTA, arrived at her door she could not believe her good fortune. Immediately she invited them to share the food.
Read the Winter Story to see what can be done for families who are facing hunger and are in danger of infection.
We are there for you recounts the story of Mrs Velankanni and her family who quickly ran out of food when India’s Tamil Nadu state went into lockdown. Unable to work as day labourers or gather in their traditional forest, she and her husband were afraid their family would soon starve. The government gave only some families the rations they were all entitled to under the lockdown. Dalit and Tribal people were the most vulnerable to hunger.
The women’s sangam or association did what they could and asked the Women Development Resource Centre for help. Thanks to your support our partners are able to meet the most urgent needs of the people they work with so they do not go hungry.
Read the Autumn Story to see how our partners are providing food, good information and advocacy.
My Dream is to Teach – Nour has a smile most days but there is a shadow of sadness across her face. At 15, she has escaped the war that is again destroying her home in Idlib, Syria. After her father was killed, her mother fled, eventually settling in the overcrowded Shatila Refugee Camp in Lebanon. They found their way to the Sabra Centre next door. Run by refugees, they know how best to help. So when Nour’s mother wanted to find a husband for Nour, they intervened. Fortunately, Nour has been allowed to stay in school.
Read our Summer Story to see how we give refugees education and hope for the future.
We Can Do More – For Nerma living in coastal Philippines, 2019 was a tough year. She lost many plants to the scorching heat in this 8 month long El Nino weather pattern. Fortunately, she had a food buffer thanks to planting drives organised by Developers Foundation. Six years ago, the tip of Aklan Province was badly damaged by Hurricane Haiyan. Developers Foundation is preparing them for the next disaster. The communities want to build another local market, offer more business and disaster preparedness training, and plant more trees and root crops. Read We Can Do More.
Starting from Scratch In South Sudan, there are people with vision and courage. As students in Uganda, Wadalla and his friends dreamed of building the new South Sudan. By the time independence came in 2011, they had started a high school, three preschools (though one has closed), a clinic for HIV testing and Maridi FM, the only local radio. All of this with your support. Maridi Service Agency is working hard to make peace happen despite the violence and severe poverty throughout the country.
Read the Winter Story to find out how you can help build peace in South Sudan.
Living on a Minefield outlines a new strategy for local democracy in Fiji. Mining has the potential to divide communities, destroy livelihoods, and undermine village life. Our partner SEEP (Social Empowerment and Education Programme) wants communities to have good information and processes so rural Fijians can have a say in the future. They have been pioneering Mai democracy, an inclusive process building on their traditional culture. Waqa and Elena are keen to share what they have learned and practised in their village with others.
Read the Autumn Story to find out how you can help build democracy in Fiji.
Time for the Tea Pickers examines life on Sri Lanka’s tea estates where workers live and work in conditions close to slavery. Their children are often malnourished and have few opportunities. Our partner Monlar is playing a leading role in the One Thousand Movement which has already achieved a higher award rate for all tea pickers this year. Their demands for better wages, the opportunity to grow their own food, and agricultural policy to meet the needs of small farmers, will help more people out of grinding poverty.
Read the Summer Story to find out how you can help Sri Lanka’s tea pickers
Give us a Fair Go A few years ago Nyombi and Mugere were living on the streets. Their parents had died from HIV and AIDS. Shocked to find them begging, Kyomugisha took them back to her home. The girls collected water from the river – a 5-kilometre trek and did their best to help. Now the family has a rainwater tank at home thanks to CWS partner the Centre for Community Solidarity. The sisters are clean, healthy and can catch up on their primary schooling. With one year to go, Nyombi wants to make the most of the opportunity made possible by the tank. She plans to work on motorcycles. Read the Spring Story to find out how a $366 investment is life changing, and our summary review of last year.
Sangeetha has spent most of her life in the forest. She depends on its rich resources to provide a living for her family, but they are rapidly shrinking as others take from the forest. Sangeetha knows the forest cannot support her children and she is determined they have an education, starting with Jivitha, the oldest. The Women Development Resource Centre is helping them Create a New Path for the Future on their own terms. In Tonga, Ama Takiloa is assisting families to repair rainwater tanks and reestablish gardens lost in Cyclone Gita.
Find out how our partners are Creating Climate Hope in places where people are facing major challenges. Unpredictable weather patterns are causing crops to fail. More intense storms are costing lives, homes, and livelihoods. Our partners are working hard to teach new skills, installing rainwater harvesting systems and other coping mechanisms. They are working on community-level plans and taking the message to global negotiations. Climate change is a tough issue facing us all.
We celebrate the harvest in the Summer Story, Give Us Our Daily Bread. We want to end hunger. Young farmers like Donis in Nicaragua grow enough food to feed their extended families and meet their other needs. CEPAD trained Donis in new agro-ecological approaches and gave him the tools, seeds, and plants he needed. He is teaching other small farmers these techniques which are the best available. Other partners are lobbying for greater investment in small farmers.
The only story where hear about South Sudan is the tragedy of hunger and war. In the Spring Story, We Will Not Lose Hope, CWS highlights the work of a community of hope. In the quieter west, the Maridi Service Agency is working hard to make peace a reality. Education is their focus, so in addition to their existing work, they are training mothers with children to run small businesses and grow gardens. With some startup capital, they will be able to feed their families and begin to build a new life. In a country crumbling from within, MSA is determined to work for peace. You can also read our summary annual review for 2016-7.
The War Refused to Leave Us tells the story of Fatima, a refugee from Syria. She has faced many difficulties since she left her home with her children. Her involvement with CWS partner the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees has changed her life. They have provided practical help with food and non-food items thanks to your donations. But for Fatima, it is the opportunity to become a health trainer that has turned her into a confident woman leading a group of other Syrian women.
Give Girls a Fair Go At 14, Pooni is glad to be back home. She has spent the last 18 months working long hours in a woollen factory. She wanted to help her poor family, but the conditions were unbearable. The Women Development Resouce Centre made sure she was paid and persuaded her family to let her return to school. Campaigning against the Sumangali scheme, a form of bonded labour is part of the work they do with some of the poorest communities.
We have Plans
Topist from South Uganda is grateful that her family of six HIV and AIDS orphans is clean and healthy. Thanks to CWS donors and the Centre for Community Solidarity, she is now the proud owner of a water tank. The local group of caregivers of HIV and AIDS orphans to which she belongs has big plans to improve their income. They have already begun making the bricks and building a set of shops in the rural area. Read We have Plans.
Determined to Live
Charlito is a happy farmer. With help from Developers he has replanted some of the crops he lost in Typhoon Haiyan three years ago. Like Mary Jean featured in the Spring Story, he has worked hard, determined to help his family and community back on their feet. In the Aklan province 3,061 homes with shiny new corrugated iron roofs are a visible sign of your help. Now they need more help to secure their livelihood for the future. They need help to replace lost crops and livestock, build a farmer’s market and train for the future. Read the Spring Story 2016.
The Long Road Home
When International Programmes Coordinator Trish Murray visited Sri Lanka last year, our partner Devasarana took her to meet a small community of returned refugees in the war-ravaged north of the country. One of the women she met was Vasanta who is proving the cornerstone of rebuilding efforts. Devasarana is working with small peasant farmers to break down decades of fear between the majority Sinhala and Tamil communities at the grassroots. Using the low cost ecological farming skills developed over many years, they are teaching Tamils new techniques as well as sharing the seeds and plants they had brought with them. Together they are forging a new future from the ground up. Read the Winter Story 2016.
Share the Secrets of Success
In the village of Talihau you can find women members of Ama Takiloa weaving in the community hall for part of the day. They are making fine mats to sell so they can pay school fees and medical costs as well as meet church and other obligations. The income is vital for the villages who live in Tonga’s Vava’u group. There is plenty of time to talk and plan. Their latest venture is to sell coconut drinks, papaya and other local foods to tourists from the cruise ships and yachts visiting the island’s beautiful harbours. Read the Autumn Story 2016.
Give A Lifeline
Jacenta in the pink cardigan wants to share her story. She lost both parents to AIDS and now lives with her grandmother. A new water tank has changed the family’s fortunes. In Lebanon, Syrian refugees have learnt how to to survive with the help of DSPR Read how your support helps two partners Give a Lifeline to people with nowhere else to go. Read the Summer Story 2016.
A Thousand Acts of Peace
Refugees are making dangerous journeys from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and other countries, desperate for safety and a better future for their families. While they grab the headlines, many more are sheltering in Jordan and Lebanon where CWS partner DSPR is making peace happen – one family at a time. Read the Spring Story 2015.
There is Much to Do
A year ago Nour was a victim of the war in Gaza. Left with shrapnel in her brain and severe trauma, she has found each day a struggle in her devastated community. Although she has a lot of pain, she can now smile thanks to the psycho-social support provided by DSPR Gaza. Like SAND Trust in South India, they are giving children the skills to cope with events beyond their control. Read the Winter Story 2015.
Many Hands Make Things Happen
In Haiti’s rugged hills, two boys are attending to their school lessons. CWS has helped fund their new school building, equipment and teacher salaries. The community now has a grain mill to contribute to its costs thanks to CWS partner ICKL. In Vanuatu local people are rebuilding. Read the Autumn Story for 2015.
Look out for Each Other
Hermalinda was excited to share her first crop of 40 avocados with her community – a fruit none of them could afford to buy. In war ravaged South Sudan, Mr Arnesto saved hours of hand digging when Maridi Service Agency ploughed his land. At harvest time we give thanks for food to eat and to share. Read Hermalinda and Mr Arnesto’s stories in the Summer Story for 2015.
We all Need Water
Read the 2014 Spring Story for 2014 . Spring showers are a welcome reminder of the importance of water for life. During war water is often in short supply with long term consequences. Find out why how CWS partners are supplying water to communities and how two parishes organised a Musicathon to help. You can also read the Summary Annual Report.
Bringing People Together
Read the 2014 Winter Story. Sana and Rebecca are two women who live half a world away from each other. Sana has been forced to take shelter in Jordan and Rebecca is painstakingly rebuilding her life after last year’s super typhoon in the Philippines. They are not alone as CWS partners are doing their best to help. Will you be part of the story?
Read the 2014 Autumn Story to find “Strength in Community”. Bangladeshi workers and their families wait for compensation after the collapse of Rana Plaza. They make our clothes in unsafe factories and poor conditions. In Tamil Nadu, South India Neythal is campaigning for the fisherfolk, caught between the coast and the sea with nowhere to go.
Read the 2014 Summer Story “When there is no Harvest” to find out how Filipinos are helping each other after last year’s super typhoon. In Southwest Uganda the people are running out of water with the changing climate. Water tanks are therefore that much more important.
Read the Spring Story 2013 to see the difference CWS partners make in South Sudan and South India – “Working with the Hope Experts”.
Read the Winter Story 2013 to see how long term partnership brings good news to so many people – “The good news in the bad news”.
Autumn 2013 – CWS Getting Results! CWS partner EKTA is determined to make the South Indian city Madurai safe for women. Part of the global One Billion Rising movement they have pledge to edge violence against girls and women. The World Council of Churches is working on a Greed Line, highlighted by Asia Secretary Kim Dong Sung on his visit. Richard Randerson offers an Easter reflection, Haitian partner ICKL reports and new resources for Make Food Fair.
Read the Spring Summer @world. Landgrabbing is stripping communities of their livelihoods. CWS partner Neythal is a member of a network working to maintain Tamil Nadu’s coast for the fisherfolk who depend on it. Food justice is a focus for CWS and for partners facing the high costs of growing food. Michael Earle, Church and Donor Relations Coordinator reports on six months in the job.
The Winter Story – “I know what it’s like to be a human being”. CWS partners give new hope to communities.
Autumn 2012 – Back Home with CWS New office, new editor, remembering Christchurch earthquakes, Claudette Habesch from Caritas Jerusalem and the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR).
Spring Summer 2011 – Meeting the Challenge Food for All: CWS rebuilds and responds to the Horn of Africa Crisis. It focuses on the right to food plus more on the gift of water. The achievement of one family picking up the challenge to live below the line (on less than $2.25 a day for food) for 5 days.
Autumn 2011 – The Emergency is Us: CWS responds to the Christchurch earthquake and builds hopes and homes in Haiti. Working to rebuild lives and livelihoods in Cambodia and buzzing bees in Uganda plus CWS supporters work for fair trade.
Spring/Summer 2010 – Sowing seeds of Hope: Hunger and peacebuilding in Sri Lanka as CWS helps Tamils returning home establish low cost organic gardens. Plus Pakistan flooding crisis, CWS helps Dalit children into school, a Gazan art exhibition and our annual report.
Winter 2010 – Back to Basics: How CWS is helping to revitalise farming in Zimbabwe and Tonga by returning to, and improving on, traditional organic practises. Also includes updates on rebuilding in post-tsunami Samoa and post-earthquake Haiti, a world cup focus on football, malaria in the spotlight, and Fair Trade Fortnight.
Autumn 2010 – Surviving Haiti’s heartbreak: profiles CWS support for Haiti and the incredible community resilence that is helping the country rebuild, the gift of clean safe water, fair trade bananas reach New Zealand, New Zealands young people take action against poverty and more.
Spring 2009 Tapping into hope: Safe water brings new life in Uganda, urbanisation in the spotlight, climate change resettlement – dilemmas facing the Pacific, state of the world’s water, CWS joins global alliance, and the CWS Annual Report 2008-2009
Autumn 2009 Coping with a changing climate: special issue on climate change and the environment featuring mangrove recovery in the Phillippines, increasing natural disasters and how poor people will be impacted the most. Also how CWS partners responded in Gaza, a profile of the new director, and progress on banning cluster munitions.
Spring/Summer 2008 Conflict, peace and compassion: CWS responses to a world in crisis including young people building peace, women in Sri Lanka overcoming economic violence, humanitarian aid for the Philippines, Zimbabwe and Burma and ways YOU can help take action against poverty
Winter 2008 Special issue on the global food crisis: How poor communities are surviving.Also features the Burma Cyclone, Fair Trade and International Year of the Potato.
Island life under threat: How Solomon Island women are protecting their forests. Also includes spotlight on sanitation and the campaign to ban cluster munitions.
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