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CWS Update July 2016

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For Your Diary

Paul Jeffrey6 August—Hiroshima Day 

7 August Peace Sunday “Blessed are the Peacemakers” resources available. 

Photo 70th anniversary lantern memorial in Hiroshima: WCC/P Jeffrey
9 August  Nagasaki Day

19 August  World Humanitarian Day

1 September—4 October Time for Creation

21 September—International Day of Prayer for Peace

 ACT Alliance/A Rishoj

Grandmother Mary arrived in Uganda after fleeing her home in Nimule, South Sudan. “I don’t see or hear very well but others told me they heard shots.  Everybody ran.  They told us to escape, so we left that day with only a few belongings,” she said. After spending three days at the Elegu Collection Centre with her four granddaughters, she registered the family.  Thanks to ACT Alliance they have mats, blankets, jerry cans, plastic sheeting, soap and a cooking pot.  Now she wants schooling for the girls.  Photo: ACT Alliance/A Rishǿj

South Sudan: Crisis on Crisis

The latest outbreak in fighting has left hundreds dead and pushed 37,491 to flee to Uganda in recent weeks.  Refugees are reporting continued fighting and destruction—the situation remains volatile.  Churches are deeply involved in peace efforts and are asking for support.   

More than two years of war, widespread corruption and the near collapse of the oil industry that provides 98% of the country’s earnings have left 4.8 million people in need of food.  Continued unrest has displaced more than 1.6 million people and the latest incidents have pushed refugee numbers in neighbouring countries over 831,000.  So far, West Equatoria where our partner the Maridi Service Agency is based has remained quiet.

CWS asks for prayer and support for the South Sudan Crisis Appeal so refugees have food, shelter, sanitation and safety.  

Syria: Government promises to double gifts
With war escalating in Syria, there is little hope of return for refugees sheltering in neighbouring countries.  The New Zealand Government will match donations to the Syria Appeal made by August 1.  Can you help?

Jordan: Syrian Refugees
In June DSPR Jordan distributed 2,645 food parcels for 15,870 people during Ramadan.  Volunteers organised Iftars (the evening meal that breaks the daily fast) for 1,080 children and their mothers. They ran seven training workshops for 260 women on infections in four refugee camps.  The women have asked for further health training on personal hygiene and birth spacing.  120 more learned how to make jam as part of a vocational training programme.

Photo: A volunteer doctor teaches refugee women how to protect themselves and their family from infection. (DSPR: Jordan)

Operation Refugee
Thanks again to participants in last month’s pilot of Operation Refugee.  73 people raised $39,444 for Syrian refugees.  Read the report.
Aotearoa: #WithRefugees
CWS commends churches and supporters who are involved in refugee resettlement in NZ.  A number have written with details of what they are doing.  Thank you for sharing them with us as we work together to provide the care and protection refugees need wherever they are.

Champion #TeamRefugees
The World Council of Churches is asking you to support the first ever Refugee Olympic Team.  The team is backed by UNHCR (the UN Refugee agency) and the International Olympic Committee to highlight the plight of refugees.  Please sign the UNHCR #WithRefugees petition asking governments to take action.

Sierra Leone: Ebola Report
Thanks to donations, including from Christ’s College, CWS made a further grant to the National Council of Churches in Sierra Leone for a vocational training for Ebola widows and youth survivors.  Left without income and often family, and carrying the stigma of the disease life has been hard for them.  Learning skills like sewing, carpentry, motorbike repair and masonry will give them the support they need to set up a small business or find employment.  The June New Internationalist carries some excellent stories written by journalists in Sierra Leone and analysis of the global response.

NZ: Official Development Aid
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains the apparent increase in the government’s budget as part of its three year funding cycle (see June Update).  MFAT makes sure funds are used for agreed outcomes and its partners appreciate the predictability of the process.

AIDS Conference 2016
Meeting at the biennial international conference, faith communities were challenged to continue working to stop the spread of HIV, especially through community based health care. 

West Papua: Petition/Visitor
Over 3,000 West Papuans have been arrested in recent months for participating in marches and rallies.  CWS is supporting a petition to the New Zealand parliament asking them to pressure Indonesia to uphold their rights.  International spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement of West Papua Benny Wenda will visit Aotearoa New Zealand from 23-28 August ahead of the Pacific Forum to promote the case for full membership. He will visit Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

A Long Road Home
In Sri Lanka CWS partners are making peace at the community level.  The Winter Story highlights the practical help given by Devasarana to Tamil refugees returning home to the war damaged north.  They are working to foster peace and understanding between Tamils and Sinhala.  More copies are available from:

Roger Award 2016
Nominations for the worst transnational corporation operating in New Zealand this year are now open.

Peace Sunday Resources
CWS is preparing worship resources for Peace Sunday on 7 August.  “Blessed are the Peacemakers” includes lectionary notes, prayers and stories of peacemaking from the global church.  They will be available shortly.

Supporters’ Council
The annual Supporters’ Council will be held from 6- 8pm on Friday, 16 September at the Parenting Centre, 300 Great South Road, Green Lane, Auckland.  It is an opportunity to meet with the CWS Board and discuss our year’s work. 

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