Thursday, August 13, 2015

Church World Service Helps Nicaraguan Family

Last November I joined Betty Rahal on a trip with Foods Resource Bank and Church World Service to Nicaragua. Having learned about the struggles they are facing, some of them are still on my mind.

One of our visits was to a young family of three who live in a very modest home in the country with no running water. The husband is an agronomist and the wife is a neo-natal nurse who works the night shift in a clinic in the nearby town of Jinotepe.

To get to work, her neighbor picks her up on his motorcycle. The roads are barely passable. During the day her husband takes care of their 2-year-old daughter and is growing papaya trees to sell so they can buy food for their family.

When she gets home in the morning, she helps collect water for the crops and then sleeps some before going back to work. (As of this writing happily, water has now been turned on to their home.)

Access to water is a huge problem for so many people. Due to the drought of last year and then the floods, both growing seasons were wiped out. Unfortunately, it looks like Nicaragua is facing another drought this year.

Church World Service and Foods Resource Bank have helped these subsistence farmers by teaching farming methods which alleviate the drought’s impact. They teach how to mulch, how to make organic fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides to save their crops, and they have developed seed banks for the farmers to use.

This is just one of many ways CWS and FRB are helping to provide sustainable solutions to hunger.

-Janet Beatey

Friday, July 24, 2015

Committee for Helping Others Assists a Family in Need

This story is from Peg Boag, who is in charge of emergency services for the Committee for Helping Others, CHO, the organization which receives 25% of our Vienna CROP Walk funds. Names have been omitted for privacy reasons.

Last Fall, CHO was contacted by a school social worker about a family in need of help. The family were Coptic Christians from Egypt. They had been sponsored and accepted to immigrate due to being persecuted for their Christian faith.

After they arrived their sponsor basically left them on their own, and when CHO was contacted, they were all living in one room in a house and paying rent, for the room and bathroom and kitchen privileges.

Their challenges were many: the mother had diabetes, the father had been injured at work, they had a premature baby girl in fragile health, and a 10-year-old son with ADHD who needed medication and was having a lot of trouble at school.

CHO was able to help them with rent, food, clothing, medications, and even some gifts for Christmas. They also were able to advise them on how to navigate these difficult waters of a new culture in order to keep them afloat and give them a future. Their faith during this struggle was a sustaining force.

This is just one of many stories CHO could tell. As an all-volunteer organization, CHO continues to prove itself a vital part of our larger Vienna community.

-Betty Rahal

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Story of a Child Refugee from Sudan

A couple of nights ago I watched a powerful 2014 film starring Reese Witherspoon, called, "The Good Lie," and learned so much about what it might be like to be a child refugee from Sudan.

The story is fiction, based on true incidents. It follows 4 orphaned children who survived an almost 800 mile walk from war-ravaged Sudan to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya to save their lives and avoid being conscripted as child soldiers. After 13 years in the camp these children, now in their late teens/early 20's, were cleared to be part of the Refugee Resettlement Program of the U.S. and were settled by a Christian organization.

The 4 actors who play the children are true refugees from Sudan. If you are interested in the life of a child refugee, and the work of resettlement, see this film. I highly recommend it.

Here is a real-life refugee story from the Church World Service Refugee Resettlement Program.

-Betty Rahal

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Clean Water for Kindergarten Children in Vietnam

Check out this story about Church World Service partnering with a community in Vietnam to help get clean water for kindergarten children.  This is a good example of the type of projects that CROP Walk funds help support.
-Betty Rahal
A kindergarten student washes his hands.

Photo: CWS Vietnam

Friday, June 12, 2015

Food Resource Bank Assists Nicaraguan Farmers

Last Fall I spent a week with Church World Service and Foods Resource Bank staff along with 8 others from the US, in Nicaragua visiting small farmers, hearing how they are benefiting from the help and advice given them from CWS and FRB. I saw our CROP Walk funds at work, organizing communities to help build wells, enable the purchase of good seed, teach natural organic farming techniques to increase yield.

Excitement about the future has replaced despair, as people are more able to feed their children by increasing their yield and diversifying their crops and growing more nourishing fruits and vegetables.  As they learn better ways, they teach others. The village farmers have come a long way sharing their knowledge of good farming methods with their neighbors. Things are changing, thanks to the work of CWS and FRB.

Join us at the 2015 CROP Walk on October 18th at 1:15pm on the on the Vienna Town Green and raise money for Church World Service !

- Betty Rahal