Some parts of the world have lived with conflict for decades. Northern Uganda is one where the suffering is almost indescribable. For twenty years, it was devastated by the Lord’s Resistance Army. During that time, most of the population had to move into camps for safety. We visited those camps and were stunned. There was no education. No medical care. Little water and an unreliable food supply. Fast forward to today and the area now faces two huge problems. First, those in their twenties and thirties have had no education. How, then, can their community start over? Our partners on the ground, NGO Salt & Light Uganda, are deeply connected into their community and have walked the entire journey with it. They have little by way of resources, though, because, once the war was over, many NGOs left the area.

We have been able to see them set up with a series of training programmes for the young people, themselves now parents with families to support. These programmes are manageable for those with little or no education. They include catering, dress-making, car mechanics, carpentry, bee-keeping, ox and plough provision and broader care. They have also set up a school for today’s children. Additionally, the founder of Salt & Light Uganda, David Livingstone Okello, recently lost a two week old son because the local clinic had unreliable electricity, and, with support through Crossroads, has now seen a solar system established in that clinic to keep all machinery operating at all times.

A second problem now faces this beleaguered community, however. The massive fighting in its northern neighbour, South Sudan, is seeing refugees pouring over the border and needing to draw, also, on the very limited resources in the area. We recently sent 3000 solar lights to the refugee community there as power is a major problem.

Again, Crossroads, from Hong Kong, cannot reach directly to these people who have suffered so greatly, but we can help others help others.

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None of us can forget the terrible earthquakes that shook Nepal in 2014. We, here in Hong Kong, could not ‘reach’ the victims, of course, but we could support those dealing with the crises on the spot. At first, we rushed rescue supplies by an airline (which is too modest to be named) that took three loads per week. During that time, Hong Kong’s generous community positively flooded us with disaster kits which they brought to our gates in massive numbers, day by day. It was wonderful. Later, some people donated money for reconstruction purposes. We have carefully metered that out over the years with a major partner in Nepal as it is undertaking an excellent programme. (One huge problem after disasters is that, before long, they get forgotten and people can struggle with the aftermath for, literally, decades.) The group in Nepal has two major goals: it is not only re-constructing needed homes, but is also training the local builders in ways that will help these houses be more resilient in case of future earthquakes: ‘Building back better’ as the saying has it. Additionally, they themselves can multiply their knowledge by training others. Again, all of this would be beyond our direct reach in Hong Kong. That is why we love to help others help others.

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This shipment was, surely, a gift that would keep on giving. A group in Ghana put labour and love into the building of a much needed medical clinic. Their resources were few, but they managed to get the construction completed and then wrote to us. What does it take to furnish a clinic? More than one might imagine but, happily, items that we typically receive from the generous Hong Kong community. Medical provision, of course: surgical items, hospital beds, crutches, and the like. As well, though, a clinic needs tables, chairs, computers, office furniture and equipment, catering supplies (stove, pots, pans, crockery, cutlery), clothing for the patients, toys for the children’s section and even extra touches such as pictures for the walls, curtains for the windows. Additionally, as the electricity supply is intermittent in their area, we sent a generator. This clinic was literally empty one week and, just seven days later, was open for service. It is just one more example, of many, where we help others help others.

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NGO St Stephen’s Society has, for decades, brought people with drug dependency back into fulfilling lives. They begin with the immediate withdrawal and then move to ‘half way homes’, apartments all over Hong Kong, which are staffed by people who help them re-enter normal lives. Crossroads began providing furniture for these homes soon after we started, in 1995. In 2015, we asked St Stephen’s how many of these homes we had furnished. They said, “We really couldn’t count them all, but you have supplied furniture for pretty well all of them!” As the saying has it, this has truly been a gift that has kept on giving! St Stephen’s has seen people not only freed from drug dependency, but go on to help others within Hong Kong and in other countries around the world. Our partnership with St Stephen’s has been a delight and is, again, proof that, while we may not be able to help people facing addiction ourselves, as we don’t have direct contact, we can help others help others.

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In South West China, mountains make it difficult for some to earn regular income. We routinely partner with the Chinese Relief and Development Foundation, an NGO helping disaster victims,  people in medical need, the elderly, families struggling with poverty and ‘left behind children’ whose parents have moved long distances to other parts of China for employment, leaving the kids in the care of grandparents or institutions. With the constant drain on their resources, they have received donations of 1,694 pairs of shoes, 15,000 pieces of babies and children’s clothes, 15,466 pieces of adult clothing, along with a range of equipment and accessories. This group has networking throughout the local area and beyond: assisting people whom we, ourselves, could never reach.  We help others help others.

 

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A young man in Cambodia, born into poverty, battled all odds to reach tertiary education. With that knowledge empowering his own life, he wanted to pass it on to others in his impoverished community. He started a school under a tree, the only resource available. We learned of his dedicated and excellent work and put together a shipment to equip a full school. Afterwards two of our team visited and saw the kids in uniforms, at desks, with text books, school equipment, sports equipment, a daily hot lunch cooked in the newly stocked kitchen and more. “Everything you see came from Crossroads” said the teacher. Now he can give the kids proper schooling and they can go on to pass it to the next generation. That school has now been operating for over a decade. All it took was a carefully tailored shipment to this man who was well placed to make a huge difference in his community. We help others help others.

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Cyclone Idai has triggered a “massive disaster” in southern Africa affecting hundreds of thousands if not millions of people, the UN has said. The region has been hit by widespread flooding and devastation affecting Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi called it “a humanitarian disaster of great proportion”. The death toll is in the hundreds, with hundreds of thousands more affected, and cholera is starting to spread, thanks to compromised drinking water. There is an urgent need for aid. 

Image: Climate Centre

What Crossroads is doing

April 2019: Zimbabwe Rugby Seven team helps deliver relief goods
As we prepare a full shipment, another small consignment of relief goods has already made it to Zimbabwe, carried by the mighty Zimbabwe Cheetahs Rugby Sevens team! The delegation (pictured below with Crossroads’ staff), who were in Hong Kong for the annual Sevens tournament, was generous enough to carry home with them 2,500 pairs of medical gloves and 100 mosquito nets, which have already been delivered to our partners on the ground, ready to help those affected by the cyclone and cholera epidemic.

June 2019: DHL offers pro bono shipment to Zimbabwe
Our second shipment of disaster relief goods has arrived in Zimbabwe, thanks to DHL. Crossroads worked closely with a trusted partner in Zimbabwe to prepare this second shipment of goods that included mosquito nets, shelter kits, medical supplies, blankets and clothing. We are very grateful for the support of DHL, who delivered the goods pro bono to help affected families. And a huge thank-you to everyone who has already donated towards our Disaster Fund.


How you can help

You can still give to help people rebuild and recover: If you would like to donate towards our disaster response to southern Africa, please use our Disaster Fund specify Cyclone Idai in the form there. Thank you for caring for those in need in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi!

DONATE NOW

 

 

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Donate Now!

If you would like to donate towards our disaster response to southern Africa, please use our Disaster Fund specify Cyclone Idai in the form there.

 

DONATE NOW

 

Thank you for caring for those in need in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi!

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We love the season of giving.

The week before Christmas, our Crossroads team met with six major NGOs from across Hong Kong to distribute over 7,000 toys.

We were giving Barbie dolls, dinosaur trucks and colour-changing chameleons for those NGOs to distribute to young lives who otherwise, at Christmas, might miss out on the special treasures more easily affordable to others.

Recipients will include children whose families are on the economic edge of society, refugee kids, children whose parents are recovering from drug addiction or little ones whose parents have medical need and therefore little resource for life’s ‘extras’.

On Dec 20th., our team donned festive hats and opened our containers to distribute the toys.

7,000 young lives brightened just a little this Christmas!

 

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Sally Begbie, co-founder of Crossroads, was selected by AmCham as the Non-profit Leader of the Year 2018 at the 15th Women of Influence Conference and Awards today.

Her husband, Malcolm writes: “Her acceptance speech was precious, accepting on behalf of a 6 year old, ‘Fatima’, a horrendously abused and consequentially traumatised resident of a refugee camp in Greece. The camp was described by the BBC as the ‘worst refugee camp in the world’. The speech drew much warm response. Sal expressed her thanks that an award such as this would be of great help in extending reach to some of the ‘Fatima’s of the world and the millions of families and others in need.  “If a woman such as Fatima’s mother could stand before you today,” she said, “she would thank you as Women of Influence for this gift which helps support those with little influence, those who are among the world’s most disempowered. You have given them, and us, a great gift today. Thank you.”

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