Posts Tagged ‘Asia’

Scholarships for Vietnamese Kids with Disabilities in Da Nang

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Dong A University in Danang launched a U.S.-supported IT training program for people with disabilities following similar successful initiatives in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The IT Training Program (ITTP), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), will provide scholarships to more than 250 students with disabilities to study IT skills at Dong A University through 2014.

Read the full story here.

Also this from Following success of IT training programs for disabled people in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, USAID and Catholic Relief Services are extending their assistance by granting scholarships to underprivileged people in the central city of Da Nang.

Read the full story here.

Philippines Typhoon: Shelter Helps Family Survive, Rebuild

Friday, May 25th, 2012
New shelter

Nonelyn Sabas and her son in their new transitional shelter. Photo by Autumn Brown/CRS

By Autumn Brown

When Nonelyn Sabas’ son was born, he was very sick. The doctors were not sure if he would live more than a few days. They said that it might have been caused by her fatigue from living in a tent for the last 3 months, or perhaps it was the contaminated water she drank on the night of December 16, 2011. Nonelyn would never forget that night when Typhoon Washi triggered a flash flood that ripped through the heart of the city, killing more than a thousand and leaving tens of thousands homeless, including Nonelyn and her family.

Nonelyn was 6 months pregnant the night of Sendong and remembers everything vividly. She lived with her Aunt, Apolonia, and two little sisters in a neighborhood called Isla de Oro in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. It is located on a large sandbar in the middle of the river. Flooding isn’t new to those living on Isla de Oro, but the torrential rains that came that night were different.

“I remember thinking that the water would stop rising soon, but it didn’t stop,” Apolonia said. “It seemed that within minutes it rose from our knees to our necks.”

Prayer and Peace During East Timor Elections

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
East Timor

Young people and community members participate in a 2-day camp to discuss how to promote peace in their homes, communities, and country. Photo by Jennifer Hardy/CRS

East Timor, the world’s second-youngest country, experienced violence during elections in 2007. Now, with election season in full swing, CRS is supporting the Church’s efforts to promote a peaceful and fair election process. Darren Hercyk filed this report from the capital city of Dili.

As we approached the second round of the East Timor presidential election this week, we were not sure what to expect. There were reports of tensions rising and that the election would be too close to call. In the closing days there were large truckloads of supporters on the streets chanting for their candidate. None of this added to a festive spirit of the elections, it just seemed to add to the tension.

Timor-Leste: Changing the World through Prayer

Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Timor prayer

Catholic students in Timor-Leste pray at the kick-off march for a three and a half month long campaign, led by CRS and the local Catholic Church, for peaceful national elections. Photo by Darren Hercyk/CRS

By Darren Hercyk

During the first week of Lent, Catholic Relief Services in East Timor, along with the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission in Dili, launched a program called “111 Days of Prayer for a Peaceful and Democratic Election in Timor-Leste.”

Our goal is to provide Timorese society—which is 96% Catholic—with daily prayers and reflections before and during the upcoming national elections in March and June. This nation has seen its share of violence in the past. With prayer, we hope never to go backwards.

To kick off the campaign, we helped organize a march in the capital of Dili, and thought that maybe a thousand people would show up. It was so overwhelming to see almost 10,000 Timorese turn out—in the heat of the day under threatening skies—for the two-and-a-half-hour “Journey for Peace” walk that day.

Sri Lanka: From Bombs and Bunkers Back to the Classroom

Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Sri Lanka class

Tamil children learn letters, numbers, songs and dances at a preschool in northwest Sri Lanka. Jesuit Refugee Services runs several such preschools with funding from Catholic Relief Services. Photo by Laura Sheahen/CRS

By Laura Sheahen,

“When the bombing was bad, we didn’t go to school. We were in the bunker,” says 10-year-old Anthony.* “I put my fingers in my ears to shut out the shelling.”

Huddled in a hole dug quickly in the ground, with sandbags to protect them from blasts and tree branches screening their “bunker” from view, Anthony and his mother waited hours with their neighbors until the bombing stopped. Across northern Sri Lanka, thousands of children were doing the same thing, over and over, day after day.

A decades-long civil war in this island nation near India brought tremendous suffering to both sides. It also robbed children of an education. Bombardments destroyed schools and frequent evacuations uprooted students. Eventually, even makeshift classes held under trees became impossible.

Reflection on ‘The Hermit Kingdom’ of North Korea

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
Korean couple

Severe weather badly affected harvests in North Korea in the mid 90s. CRS was part of a U.S. faith-based consortium that supplied food aid to affected communities. Photo by Tom Price/CRS

The news that Kim Jong Il, the “Dear Leader” of North Korea died, came as a surprise to the world. For me it brought back memories of the CRS efforts to assist the people of that destitute country.

Just after returning to my office in Jakarta after lunch one day in 1996, I was handed a note informing me that a call had come in from the North Korean Embassy. As the regional director for Southeast and East Asia at the time, we had stretched ourselves to assist people in remote places such as Papua New Guinea and the Russian Far East, but North Korea was not on our map.

Education in Afghanistan: Up Close with CRS

Thursday, September 29th, 2011
Afghanistan Education

As her classmates look on, a young girl in the village of Bahar-e-Olia completes an art lesson on the white board. CRS organized this class through its Community Based Education program, which launched in Afghanistan in 2006 to make education accessible to Afghanistan’s children, many of whom were cut off by mountainous terrain and poor roads from formal education institutions. Photo by David Snyder for CRS

By David Snyder,

I’m wrapping up five days up here in west-central Afghanistan with CRS, and I have to say it’s been an amazing week. I’ve been to Afghanistan once before but I was only in Kabul. Ghor Province, of which Chakhcharan is the capital, is like a different world.

CRS has been working here since 2006 and much of their programming centers around water and education. From a photographer’s standpoint they are amazing projects to photograph—clear running spring water against a parched and seemingly desolate landscape, and the cherubic faces of Afghan children in dimly lit village classrooms.

But beyond the visual elements of the last few days, the work being done here helps to put Afghanistan in a different context for me. Before this trip I knew only the TV news version—suicide bombings and casualty figures, nightly tragedies that run the risk of inuring us to the plight of human beings in this country.

CRS World Report: Sri Lanka Education

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Children in Sri Lanka used to run from bombs, now they are running to class.

Check out this CRS World Report.

For more on CRS work in Sri Lanka, see this story by Laura Sheahen.

Sri Lanka Shelters Welcome War-Ravaged Villagers Home

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
New home

In northern Sri Lanka, Naheswari Selvakumar stands near her new CRS-built home. She is a widow with four children. Photo by Laura Sheahen/CRS

The snakes moved in when the people moved out. So did scorpions and biting lizards. In the jungle villages of northern Sri Lanka, nature slowly took over after people abandoned their homes to flee shelling.

A long civil war kept villagers away from home for years. When the war ended in 2009, families left displacement camps and made their way back. Many homes were bombed; sometimes the walls were standing, but the roofs were gone. Thousands of families had to create makeshift shelters out of tarps and salvaged wood. Many slept on the ground.

At night, villagers keep sticks handy to kill creatures that got too close. But with no electricity or lamps to see by, they didn’t always succeed.

Flood Anniversary: Rapid Response Helps Pakistan Survivors

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
Pakistan girl

This girl is among the survivors of Pakistan’s 2010 summer flooding. CRS built 1,500 transitional houses in northern Pakistan alone. Photo by Laura Sheahen/CRS

“The water got so high that I carried my two-week-old grandson up the ladder to the roof,” says Marhaba Ahmad, a woman living in mountainous northern Pakistan. It was summer 2010, and floodwaters were about to engulf the house she’d lived in for over 30 years. As the rains poured down and the white water rose higher, the grandmother of eight started scrambling up the steep slopes of a 9,000-foot-high mountain.

“When we were climbing, many stones were falling,” she remembers. “The rocks hurt our hands. Our shoes got stuck in the mud and we lost them.” With hands, knees and feet shredded by needle-thorned plants and rough boulders, Marhaba and her large extended family scrabbled up while trees and rubble slid down.