WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

Since late 2016, a conflict has been worsening in Cameroon between the French and English speaking populations. Tensions and violence have forced more than 160,000 people to flee their homes, becoming refugees or internally displaced people. Our partners in Cameroon on this shipment are working hard to continue to support health, education and human rights amidst the often chaotic conditions faced by their communities. “Most of the schools have been closed,” they write, “and the children are being deprived of their right to education.”

We have shipped twice to these partners, and both shipments have been highly strategic in their efforts to improve health, education and poverty in their communities. They told us that previous shipments have made impacts such as:

  • Increasing the exam success rate at schools, when ten institutions were given improved school supplies and furniture.
  • Better service and patient comfort levels at a rural health centre, after receiving medical supplies and equipment.
  • Upgrading head office and facilities using furniture, appliances and office equipment, helping them administer projects more effectively and retain staff.
  • More than 100 aid workers and other key stakeholders given training at workshops using equipment and supplies from Crossroads’ shipments.

With this next shipment, they have asked for goods to extend and expand their projects, such as a scheme to train 300 women in basic bookkeeping and business skills, and to launch a new HIV/Aids education campaign, as well as much more. We are grateful for another opportunity to give a capital investment of goods into their work once again.


How donated goods built a school

In one of Crossroads’ previous shipments to these partners, we included school goods and clothing. We couldn’t have imagined the impact these simple items could have on our partners’ orphanage. The goods kickstarted an education wing of the children’s home, and now they have a functioning school for these children who can now access caring, quality education. Here’s how they described it:

“The children in the orphanage had no new clothes and toys to play with nor books for reading.  We remedied this situation by providing them with clothes, toys and books. We made sure they were visited by national and international staff and volunteers who used the toys to play with them and the books to help them read. They then developed a culture of reading which lead to the building of a classroom in the premises of the orphanage. 

Our organisation carried out an online fundraising campaign to help raise money to build two classrooms. We achieved our goal and today there is a school in the orphanage.”

 

We look forward to including more clothing and school goods in this upcoming shipment.


The gift of basic furniture can lift the profile and build the capacity of a grassroots organisation. In our last shipment to these partners, they spoke of the impact of office furniture form the shipment: “All our staff now have office tables and chairs to sit on for better working conditions. We hold planning meetings with staff and stakeholders in our conference room which is solely equipped with donations received from Crossroad.” This next shipment will include furniture and other goods to equip the administration of projects.


People displaced by conflict through Cameroon are struggling with trauma, loss, and unemployment. Our partners support both displaced people in their new communities and those in the host communities who were already living in poverty, in great need of essentials like clothing, shoes and bedding.

Women displaced by war are offered counselling and job training through our partners’ projects. Crossroads included sewing machines in our last shipment, which are being used to help women learn dressmaking skills. This shipment will include more goods for job creation such as hairdressing equipment.

 

REFERENCE NO. S3318B

 

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Cameroon snapshot

Population: 25.2 million
Capital: Yaoundé

Cameroon is in the west Central Africa region, with natural features including beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas.

Although the country as a whole has improved standards of literacy and healthcare, there is still a long way to go. Fewer than half of children go on to secondary education, and over 40% are involved in some kind of child labour. The current conflict has created more than 160,000 displaced people, and caused havoc in education and healthcare services.
Source: UNICEF

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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

Benin, bordered by Togo and Nigeria in West Africa, is rich in natural beauty but is one of the world’s poorest nations. Many of the nation’s 11.5 million people still lack access to basic social services and are dependent upon subsistence farming, which is threatened by climate change, further endangering already fragile livelihoods.

Our partners work at the grassroots to empower women and youth with skills and support that will lift them out of poverty. We shipped to this group several years ago, with goods like sewing machines, furniture and computers, which allowed them to make such improvements as:

• Setting up a computer centre using goods from the shipment where youth can access the internet and learn employable skills

• Equipping a sewing training centre where girls and women can learn sewing to empower them with the skills to support themselves and their families

• Doubling the capacity at a care home for children, by expanding the facilities using furniture and other goods from the shipment

“Thanks to the support of Crossroads Foundation, our NGO has experienced a real change in terms of its services and the quality of its work for the people it supports in Benin,” they wrote. “But more areas and populations are waiting to be reached and affected as well.” The second shipment will allow them to expand their services into more remote communities in desperate need of help.

 


GRACE’S STORY

Grace, in 3rd form, is a grateful recipient of a bicycle from Crossroad’s previous shipment. It was hard for her to get to school on time, traveling on foot, and she was often late for class even if she left home early. Having a bike has dramatically reduced her commute and made it that much easier for her to stay in school and improve her future. This shipment will include goods for students like Grace whose education is suffering for lack of basic resources.

 

Goods from this shipment will help our partners reach more people like Grace.


Sewing machines changing lives

As an unemployed widow in a rural area, Martine (above) was finding it very hard to climb out of poverty. Now that she’s learnt sewing skills using the equipment from Crossroads’ 2016 shipment, she’s been able to take on small jobs and can now afford to buy clothes for herself and her children, and feed them properly, as well as pay for their health and education

This shipment includes goods to help administer the training programmes (below) that changed Martine’s life, so that more women can move from just surviving, to a life of stability for them and their families.


Computers and furniture from the shipment have set up a community computer centre, where youth can now access the internet, use computers for their schoolwork and learn skills for better employment opportunities

 

Benin’s beautiful and fertile landscape holds great potential for its people, but low literacy and education, and poor infrastructure, make it difficult to break out of poverty. .  

REFERENCE NO. S4125A

 

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Malawi snapshot

Population: 18 million
Capital: Lilongwe
Major Languages: English, Chichewa

Landlocked Malawi is sometimes called the ‘warm heart of Africa’, for its culture of hospitality, however, the nation ranks among the world’s least developed countries. The country’s economic performance has historically been constrained complex factors including poor infrastructure, high population growth, and poor health and education outcomes that limit labor productivity.

The economy is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas.

Source:BBC Country Profile/CIA World Factbook

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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

Malawi is one of the world’s least developed countries and is heavily reliant on economic assistance from the IMF, World Bank and other donor nations. A largely agricultural country, Malawi is still recovering from the effects of drought in 2015 and 2016.

The country is making efforts to overcome decades of underdevelopment, and the impact of an HIV-Aids problem, which claims the lives of tens of thousands every year.

Crossroads has partnered with an organisation which has a five year plan to improve health and nutrition, address governance issues, and implement youth development programs and support education, particularly for young girls.

Our shipment will include computers, school desks and chairs, clothing, bedding and other household items, bicycles and hygiene items.

In addition to helping meet the most basic needs of the people in their community, the shipment will also help address particular challenges faced by local schools and hospitals. The shipment will also allow for vocational training, which will in turn lead to opportunities for income generation.


HAFISA’S STORY

Hafisa Kabwato is a 38 year-old mother of four living in a small Malawian village.

Through our partner’s work, she obtained a loan which she used to buy a goat and a second loan to help her cultivate 21 plots of rice. She expects to harvest over 50 bags of rice from these plots.

She can now afford to send her children to school and plans to buy iron sheets to replace the thatched grass roof of her house.

Goods from this shipment will help our partners reach more people like Hafisa.


Our partner has seen a marked increase in the healthy status of children living with HIV and Aids.

They have also seen a reduction in cases of mother to child transmission of the diseases through their intervention.

Projects to reduce the number of early child marriages, teenage pregnancies and school drop outs have also seen positive results.


A pineapple farmer helped by training and financial assistance from our partner.

In a country where thousands die from HIV and Aids, our partner helps families manage life with the disease.  

REFERENCE NO. S5195

 

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Malawi snapshot

Population: 18 million
Capital: Lilongwe
Major Languages: English, Chichewa

Landlocked Malawi is sometimes called the ‘warm heart of Africa’, for its culture of hospitality, however, the nation ranks among the world’s least developed countries. The country’s economic performance has historically been constrained complex factors including poor infrastructure, high population growth, and poor health and education outcomes that limit labor productivity.

The economy is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas.

Source:BBC Country Profile/CIA World Factbook

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Each morning at 4:30am, John used to begin his commute to work. The Zambian father of two would leave his rural village house before sunrise, while his boys were sleeping, and began the long 12 kilometre walk to a job that brought in a very small income to keep the family going. He could have taken the bus, but John says if he paid the bus fare there and back, there wouldn’t be enough money to feed his kids. It grieved him to arrive home each night in the dark, after his two children were asleep, knowing he was missing out on time with his boys that he’d never get back.

When Crossroads’ team sent a shipment to John’s community Zambia, we included a number of bicycles, which our partners had requested for their work. They told us that when John was given one of the bicycles from this shipment, he started cycling to and from work, and it changed the family’s life. “Now he can reach home early and is able to interact with the boys in the evening, which is good for cementing family life,” they said. “John says his kids are very happy to see their father back home, and John is forever grateful to the Crossroads family.” Other bikes were given to families or students who live far from town, like Simfukwe, a secondary student who had till then been walking 8km to and from school each day.

Even as these bicycles are closing the physical distance for their riders in Zambia, other goods from the shipment are closing gaps of their own. Uniforms and donated clothes have helped. So have school desks and chairs (pictured below) which raised the status of our partners’ school, so that instead of sending their students elsewhere to take exams, the school now qualifies as an official examination centre themselves, able to be a resource for surrounding schools.

Computers are helping close the digital gap and books are helping close the literacy gap. “Reading culture has changed,” they said. “Every child is able to read one book per month and it is encouraging to hear what these pupils say about the stories in the books….This shipment has above all demonstrated that our school is there to stay,” they said. “The trust from members of the community has grown significantly.”

 

Interested in sponsoring a shipment like this one, or donating goods to help communities in need? Email partnerships@crossroads.org.hk to start the conversation!

Ref: S4635

 

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Budget and power usage are always top of our minds around Crossroads Village. It’s not just because as a charity it’s important to keep our costs low. It’s also because we care that the people we serve in poor communities are the ones suffering most from pollution, environmental degradation and climate change.

Enter Coolnomix, a group that specialises in energy optimisation solutions. In 2017, Coolnomix provided 25 aircon control units for installation in Crossroads’ most heavily used offices, at a generous discount. In the peak months of summer, around 52% of Crossroads’ power costs are incurred by air conditioning. This is in part to keep our volunteers comfortable and in part to protect donated product from mould or other humidity challenges. Coolnomix estimates that their units can save 40% on our air conditioning power usage. Matt Gow, Crossroads’ Director of Strategy, says, “When we can save on our power budget, it means that funding can be invested into what we do best: helping people in need.” Better for our budget; better for the planet; better for those we serve. Now, that’s cool!

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“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds. We are growing.”

Drop Earrings, Not Bombs

 

The memory of bombs and gunfire still echoes loudly among the 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. All refugees feel dis-empowered when forced from home, but none more so than women who come from a culture where they are often not allowed to work.

One group of refugee women has taken matters into their own hands. It is the first time some of them have ever had paid employment, and they have created a workshop to make drop earrings from wire and brightly coloured thread. We love their brand name: “Drop Earrings, Not Bombs”. It’s a heart-cry for peace, from some of those affected most deeply by the brutality of war. Their workshop is so much more than a place to earn income. It is itself a refuge: a place where they share their stories and encourage each other through their ongoing hardship. Their income is making a real difference to their families, covering, as they put it, “the monthly grocery expenses of a Syrian family here.” This way, women don’t have to ask for money from anyone when they’re shopping for food. As their Social Media powerfully puts it, “they tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds. We are growing.”

You can purchase the beautiful jewellery from Drop Earrings, Not Bombs at our Global Handicrafts shop at Crossroads Village.

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Meet Josiah. He’s a Hong Kong citizen, but not one of those who works in a smart suit beneath the glittering lights of our designer malls and high streets. Josiah has lived at the other end of the spectrum. He moved out of home when he was young, and fell in with a bad crowd, soon becoming a drug addict. Without a decent job, and having to feed his addiction, he could only afford to live in the most basic accommodation possible. Poverty, coupled with one of the highest population densities in the world has led to tiny spaces being made available: beds for rent with sliding, lockable doors, in cramped, shared rooms. They are known, sadly, as cage homes or even ‘coffin’ homes as they are not much bigger than the bed itself. Josiah paid just HK$2,000 a month.

For years, he lived in this ‘coffin’ home, desperate to break out of this lifestyle, but not knowing how. “When you’re in a coffin house, you can’t change,” he told our staff. “We always quarrel there. People just shout, there is no order. No relationship with neighbours.”

It was a turning point in Josiah’s life when Hong Kong NGO Impact HK reached out to him. The group has a focus on helping Hong Kong’s homeless, giving them counselling, goods to meet their basic needs, and helping them find a place to live. They helped Josiah find an apartment that he can call home. It’s just 70 square feet in size, but already Josiah feels a weight off his shoulders, and a new optimism for the future. He can talk freely and peacefully with his new neighbours, he has more privacy and a cleaner (bug-free!) environment.

Crossroads became part of Josiah’s new journey when we helped Impact HK work with Josiah to find furniture for his small flat (he’s pictured below at our site with our staff and his social worker). When some of our staff paid him a visit at his new home, he said, “I like my new bed and chairs! I am thankful to Crossroads.”

What’s most remarkable to us is seeing how these acts of kindness have profoundly affected him. They’ve moved him to ‘pay it forward’. The experience has given him a heart to give back, grateful for how he’s been helped by others. “If you need me to come and volunteer, just call me!” he said.


Want to help change lives like Josiah’s? We’re raising $4 million to help us continue serving grassroots families in Hong Kong and overseas. Your donation, however small, can help us reach our goal. Click here to give.

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“I used to say that, as an engineer, I was trained to solve problems. That is true, but, more significantly, I was trained to define problems so that we ensure we address the right thing. This is never more complex than when addressing poverty and the environment: each both cause and effect of one another. Poverty, for example, sees a farmer deprived of education which may result in land degradation and, thus, inadequate crop yield, deepening his poverty.” Nigel Langdon, who leads the strategy for our Environment Department, expresses it well. The vicious cycle plays out across the complex landscape of need we serve.

At Crossroads we try to target a range of strategies locally and globally that advocate for environmental sustainability. Here on our own property, we try ourselves to walk the talk, from the plates we use at lunch, to energy-efficient air conditioners in our buildings, to the 33,585 kg of materials we recycled in 2015-16.


 

IMG_2489Nikki wasn’t always an environmental hero. Her story started when she was a young mother with babies and a growing collection of baby gear her little one had outgrown. “I needed space at home!” she says, and knew there must be many families in the same boat. Meanwhile, Nikki saw with sadness the mountains of discarded furniture, including designer chairs and working refrigerators, in estate dumping areas. She knew how much they could help people in need in her own city, and the damage that landfill was doing to the environment.

She swung into action. She began collecting goods from households around her neighbourhood and distributing them to NGOs and needy families in Hong Kong. It wasn’t long before demand for her services snowballed, and she knew it was time to register as an offficial charity. Nikki’s NGO ‘DB Mothers and Friends’ has now grown from a tiny neighbourhood pick-up service on Saturdays to a Hong Kong-wide social enterprise that employs people in need of a job to drive on pickups every day.

Happily, she found us! We have been in partnership with DB Mothers and Friends since 2014 and have grown so close that they now give us 99% of the goods they collect: 1-2 trucks’ worth of goods of amazing quality each day! Nikki herself is unstoppable. “It’s more than a full-time job,” she says. The days can start at 6 am and end as late as 10 pm, but to Nikki (pictured), it’s worth it. In this city, where >3.5 million tons goes to landfill each year, the need for what she does is greater than ever.

They say that not all heroes wear capes! It’s people like Nikki who convince us that heroes walk amongst us, helping Hong Kong fight for a fairer and more sustainable future.

Donate goods through DB Mothers and Friends by joining their Facebook page!

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

2015 – 2016 statistics
Environment

We recycled..
Environment2

Dee Dee - Goods Donor

Dee Dee, a Hong Kong native, knows the challenges her city faces with space and waste. “Hong Kong needs better awareness of where all our trash builds up,” she says. “We all tend to throw it away and move on. We need to change this disposable mindset.” Dee Dee and her husband Harry love using Crossroads as a solution. They’ve donated household items like computers and furniture many times, using our online platforms, and it’s thanks to donors like them, that we receive so many high quality goods to share with people in need in Hong Kong and around the world!

Hong Kong Horticultural Association

Since 2010, the Hong Kong Horticultural Association has partnered with Crossroads, using our leafy site for arboreal training exercises and activities, and providing pro bono services trimming dangerous branches or felling old trees for safety. It’s a very ‘green’ win-win partnership!

Got goods to donate?

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Placing goods ‘wisely and well…’

Right goods, placed the right way, can change the future of those who receive them. Wrong goods placed the wrong way can be ineffective or, sadly, worse.

That’s why, at Crossroads, we strive to place product with deep consideration, and even deeper understanding, of the group that will receive them. This doesn’t happen overnight. We begin a process, a lengthy one, which allows us to understand the group’s history, its present need and its future plans. If the placement of goods can make a strategic investment in their operations, helping them move forward, we move forward. Every step of the way, our various departments liaise to ensure we are outfitting the recipients with as close a match as possible: a bespoke ‘fit’ for their particular strategies, climate, culture, expertise and goals.

We all know the maxim: “Give a man a fish and he eats today. Teach a man to fish and he eats tomorrow.” In our opinion, though, we take it a step further. As well as learning how to fish, that fisherman might, tomorrow, need a boat, a freezer and even a computer to manage his business. That’s where Crossroads steps in to help others step up.


 

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Thailand: Displaced People

Asylum seekers living on no income, often for many years, were grateful for the gift of new shoes, when a large donation was offered to Global Hand, and taken up by an NGO in Thailand. As one grateful recipient expressed it: “In our culture we say that receiving new shoes is the sign of a new journey.”

 

 

 


 

Nepal: After the Quake Came the Rains…

Knowing the rains were soon to come, and later the cold, corporate donations were tailored towards those racing the clock to provide shelter.

IMG_0576Over 700 high visibility, yellow, waterproofed jackets were provided by Visijax. These superb jackets normally retail at 99 GBP each, making the donation particularly valuable for people in Nepal who were participating in the rescue operation and preparing for the region’s imminent rainy season. They came in an adult range from XS to XL and were unisex in design: thoughtful provision for those working on the ground.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Donate to a shipment like this one.

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