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1. When was CWS founded?

Church World Service was born in the aftermath of World War II in 1946. The Greensboro office of CWS, which solely focuses on refugee resettlement and assistance, opened in 2009.

2. What does Church World Service (CWS) do?

CWS has two main components: humanitarian assistance and development, and refugee assistance and resettlement. This Greensboro office is solely focused on refugee assistance and resettlement.

CWS works holistically by providing material assistance and working to address the root causes of hunger, poverty and injustice–raising awareness of and advocating on related issues.

3. How does CWS help refugees?

CWS Greensboro helps refugees as soon as they arrive in the United States, assisting them as they strive to attain self-sufficiency. CWS Greensboro also is beginning an Immigration Services Program in 2011 which will provide immigration legal services.

Since 1946, CWS has helped more than 450,000 refugees begin new lives in the United States.

4. Who is a refugee?

The definition of a refugee according to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees is a person who

“owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

Basically, refugees are people who flee their home countries due to desperate situations.

5. Where do most refugees come from?*

Afghanistan 3,260,300
Former Palestine 3,036,400
Iraq 1,687,800
Burma (Myanmar) 693,300
Sudan 648,000
Colombia 453,300
Democratic Republic of Congo 412,300
Somalia 410,300
Burundi 393,700
Vietnam 308,000
Eritrea 255,400
Angola 195,000
China 158,700
Liberia 141,100

Note:All statistics from World Refugee Survey 2007 * Numbers are for refugees and asylum seekers as of December 31, 2006, and do not include persons granted permanent status in other countries.

At CWS Greensboro, we are currently resettling mainly refugees from Burma and Bhutan.

6. So what happens to people once they flee their homes?

Many people flee to refugee camps that are found in countries surrounding their home country. At that point, there are a few options. The preferred solution is for the people to be able to return home, but that often can not occur. Resettlement in another country, such as the United States, is the next option. However, less than 1% of all refugees ever get resettled.

7. How many refugees does the U.S. accept for resettlement each year?

Admissions Ceiling: Actual Arrivals:
FY 2008: 80,000
FY 2007: 70,000 48,281
FY 2006: 70,000 41,279
FY 2005: 70,000 53,813
FY 2004: 70,000 52,826
FY 2003: 70,000 28,422
FY 2002: 70,000 27,000
FY 2001: 80,000 68,500
FY 2000: 90,000 72,500
FY 1999: 85,317 85,006

8. I’d like to volunteer.  Are there ways I can help?

Yes! CWS Greensboro would love for you, your faith community, family or organization to get involved. Visit the Get Involved! page to learn more about ways you can volunteer, become a co-sponsor, or donate.


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