While Israel is a developed nation, with high literacy, the gap between rich and poor is significant. The region’s most vulnerable, such as those with disabilities, single-parent families, new immigrants and people injured through terrorism and conflict are often living below the poverty line and struggling to afford the basics of life.

Covid-19 has created even more challenges for those already in poverty in Israel, increasing unemployment and decimating small businesses and day labour jobs that rely on tourism.

Our partners in Israel are acutely aware of the needs around them, and for more than 16 years, they have been supplying humanitarian aid stations all over Israel with needed goods. The projects they serve include new immigrants, the homeless, unemployed people, children’s welfare villages, Holocaust Survivor centres, facilities for the disabled and other institutions.

Crossroads is well-placed to ship containers of valuable aid goods to our partners in Israel, where their channels of distribution are efficient and effective, bringing much-needed relief to thousands each year. They have requested Crossroads’ help with goods like clothing, bedding, toys and household goods for their centres.


During recent lockdown in Israel due to Covid-19, Crossroads’ partners brought containers of much-needed aid to projects serving people who were already poor, and now struggling further.

One centre in Nazareth who received essentials like furniture, clothing, shoes and bedding, said, “I can’t even express how happy they were, how they hugged these shoes, how it’s very important to them. Some have never received a gift like this in all their life, because it’s very expensive. One guy wanted to kiss the shoes, to put them under his pillow.”

The words show how much it means to those in need to know that there are others who care enough to help.

This shipment will include goods that can bring hope and relief to those living without basic necessities.


Helping new immigrants battling poverty

Omida, a single mother from Uzbekistan, moved to Israel hoping to escape the poverty she had known all her life, but when she resettled, she found it very difficult to move beyond that poverty. Our partners have helped her with clothing, baby goods and other things to relieve some of the burden on Omida as she seeks to create a better life for her little one. This shipment will include goods to help provide relief and support for single parent families and immigrants like Omida, while they establish a new home.

 


Vulnerable groups like holocaust survivors, elderly, those with disabilities and new immigrant all appreciate the relief that donations of material goods through our partners’ network of centres can bring.

S5679

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Improving women’s and children’s health

Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District has recently seen a massive influx of refugees from nearby Myanmar/Burma, where violence has driven hundreds of thousands of people from the Rohingya minority to flee. Today there are more than 800,000 Rohingya refugees living in severely overcrowded refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. Many are still traumatised from the violence they have escaped, and most are completely reliant on aid to survive.

We are shipping to an NGO that has been working in Cox’s Bazar since 1999 providing essential care, specifically focusing on women’s and children’s health. They said, “We started with one small clinic and one doctor. Today we operate a 40-bed hospital, a field hospital for women, two Covid isolation and treatment centres, and 9 satellite clinics in rural areas, as well as a medical training centre.

Furniture and medical supplies from this shipment will help them complete their new Maternity and Fistula centre to provide free maternity care and specialised obstetric fistula care. Obstetric fistula is a condition in which a hole develops in the birth canal as a result of childbirth and can result in incontinence. This condition common in Bangladesh, where 9/10 women give birth at home with no trained medical care.


M’s story

M became pregnant at 16. She lives in a remote rural community without access to maternity care. After being in labor for 2 days M gave birth but developed symptoms of obstetric fistula. M lived with this condition for 3 years during which she was shamed by her community. A field worker with Crossroads’ partners met M and she was admitted to their hospital where she underwent surgery to repair the fistula. She has now fully recovered and hopes to share her experience to help more women like her seek help.

Goods from this shipment will support the project that helped M recover from her debilitating condition.


Rujina’s story

Rujina graduated from our partner NGO’s midwifery course. She is incredibly proud of the work she does and the training she has received.

After a baby was born not breathing Rojinga performed resuscitation but a doctor pronounced the child dead. Rojinga didn’t give up, however. As she recalls, “I could not accept it, so we started chest compressions. After about 5 minutes of compressions the baby started breathing. We did what we were trained to do, and the baby is now alive and doing well. This kind of thing makes me very happy.”

Goods from this shipment will help our partners to continue providing midwifery training, ensuring that fewer women give birth alone and that they and their children are safe and healthy.


Patients are referred to our partners’ hospitals and clinics from many different organisations in the region. The number of referrals is increasing, and this has been made more difficult due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Our partners say, “While the population is trying to overcome the COVID-19 crisis, we do not forget about our community”.


(S5516)

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Bangladesh snapshot

Population: 161.4 million
Capital: Dhaka
Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar: 859,161

Bordering India and Myanmar/Burma, Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated nations in the world.  For many years, people from the minority Rohingya population in Myanmar have fled violence to find safety in Bangladesh. The UN calls them one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

These refugee numbers have surged since 2017, and more than 744,000 Rohingya refugees have sought refuge in Bangladesh in the past few years alone. They are concentrated in the Cox’s Bazar District on the southeast coast, where most are reliant on aid to survive.

Source: UNHCR

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Training and education for women and youth

After their independence four decades ago, the nation of Ivory Coast gained a reputation as a place of religious and ethnic harmony and a country with a stable and growing economy. However, political instability has periodically plagued the country in recent decades, leading to violence and unpredictability.

This instability has worsened the level of poverty in the the communities that Crossroads’ partner in the Ivory Coast serves. The access to healthcare, education and training for vulnerable groups like women and young people is the focus of our partners work. To strengthen the community they run a number of programmes to empower these groups and provide them with the educational and financial help they need, as well as providing them with basic neccessities like food, school supplies, medical care and access to clean water.

This shipment will help equip and expand our partners’ programmes in their community. Items like medical equipment, office furniture and electronics will help them better support community health centres. Desks, chairs and computer equipment will be used by students at schools and training centres to further their education. Household goods, clothing and toys will help families who normally couldn’t afford these items.


Mrs. Gbai’s story

Mrs. Gbai is 67 and a widow. For many years she suffered from cataracts and her vision was reduced to just 10%. Our partners’ support programme for vulnerable women covered the entire cost of the surgery she needed. Before the operation she found it incredibly difficult to complete daily tasks and was unable to walk without help. Today her sight is greatly improved, and she is able to walk without any assistance.

Goods from this shipment will help our partners meet medical needs in their community.


Mrs. Aicha’s story

Fewer than 50% of people in Ivory Coast can read and write. Mrs. Aicha found that lacking these skills meant she could not do a lot of the things she need to in day to day life. She couldn’t understand the forms she needed to fill out at the bank and found that her children were struggling academically as she couldn’t help them with their homework.

After enrolling with the women’s literacy program run by our partners, Mrs. Aicha can now read write and do mathematics. Her literacy has improved so much that she is no longer anxious about going into the bank and her children are excelling at school due to the help she can now give them with their education.

This shipment will include goods to help our partners run projects like the women’s literacy classes that helped Mrs. Aicha.


Members of a programme set up by our partners to educate other young people about the dangers of drugs. Goods from this shipment will help our partners set up more youth projects.

A class of women being taught reading, writing and mathematics. There is a large gender gap in literacy rates in Ivory Coast, with only 41% of women being able to read and write, compared to 54% of men.


(S5663)

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Ivory Coast snapshot

Population: 23.7 million
Area: 322,462 sq km (124,503 sq miles)
Life expectancy: 55 years (women), 52 years (men)

Ivory Coast (also known as Côte d’Ivoire) is located on the south coast of West Africa. It shares boundaries with Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea and Liberia.

Its official language is French, with many local languages and dialects also represented.

Ivory Coast is West Africa’s economic hub, and a leading producer and exporter of cocoa beans and cashew nuts.

Source: Britannica/The World Bank

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Building foundations

Ghana is considered one of Africa’s success stories, with a stable government and strong economic growth.  It is rich in human and natural resources – notably gold and oil.  There are however still some “left behind” areas that lack the infrastructure which would allow residents to enjoy the advantages of town- and city-dwellers.

Our partner works in one such area where people are still relying on subsistence farming and small-scale trading for their livings: they cannot even grow cash crops such as coffee or cocoa because of the lack of roads which would allow crops to be taken to market.  This group has identified three main areas which would provide local communities the foundations for bettering their lives: fresh water supply, health care and education.  With clean water and improved health, not only will the children have the opportunity for more education, but the adults too will have more time and strength to help with community projects like road building and run side businesses to increase family income.

As well as school and vocational training tools and equipment, this shipment will include medical equipment and baby supplies for local clinics, sporting and recreational supplies, and items such as bicycles and mobile phones to help people establish small businesses.


Weather-proof learning

This classroom might look simple, but for children who previously were studying under a tree, it’s a welcome improvement. Now, classes don’t need to be canceled when it rains, and students can study more easily from desk and chairs rather than sitting on the ground. Our partners are actively building weather-proof classroom blocks in local communities and this shipment will include goods to help equip them, from ceiling fans to tables to computers.

 


Clean water close to home

Without a local clean water supply, villagers (usually girls and women) sometimes need to spend hours each day trekking to and from the nearest river or lake for every drop of water their family needs.  Along the way they face such dangers as injuries from thorns or wild animals and parasite infections.  These long journeys also mean there is less time for school or tending the family farming plot.

Our partners helped families like the children above to access water more locally, by installing and maintaining a well in their own community. These children will now have a greater chance to break free of the poverty cycle by attending school and later doing vocational or other training.

We will help many like them with school bags and stationery which might otherwise break their families’ budgets.


Preparing cassava (the staple crop) for storage and cooking at harvest time.

Young boys carry stone blocks for the construction of a new village well.


(S5739)

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Ghana snapshot

Population: 25 million
Capital: Accra

Population below international poverty line of US$1.90 per day: Pre-Covid-19, 13%, mostly in rural areas.  This has increased nationwide over the past year but no new figures have been released.

Languages:  English is the official language and lingua franca.  There are 11 indigenous languages supported by the government and over 80 spoken around the country.

Economy: Rapid but uneven growth is being driven by cocoa, gold and oil production.

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Looking up and forward

Malawi is a country working hard to lift its people out of its challenging history.  Since gaining independence nearly sixty years ago it has gone through periods of sometimes violent unrest and corruption so widespread that the IMF refused to provide any financial aid.  The past decade has seen a concerted effort to develop the economy, health care and education in particular.

Our partners on this shipment are one of a number of NGOs working to further these aims and they cooperate actively with other groups to improve access to healthcare and education in the rural heartland of the country.  Projects include providing for the child-headed families created by many AIDS-related deaths, education to prevent HIV being passed down to the next generation, and vocational training for rural youth who get left behind in the race for formal education.

This shipment will include such items as basic medical equipment for under-resourced local clinics, school furniture and supplies, camping equipment and bicycles to facilitate outreaches to remote districts, and vocational training equipment such as computers and tools.  We will also include supplies like bedding and clothing for families most in need.


Annet’s story

After schools were closed because of Covid-19, Annet felt obliged to marry in order to reduce the financial strain on her family –  she and her younger siblings had relied on a school feeding programme for much of their nutrition and now the whole family was going to bed hungry.

Unfortunately, the fisherman she married was also poverty-stricken because the Covid-related shutdowns meant he was unable to sell his catch.

Our partners run a textile design course and sponsored Annet to join.  Using her newly acquired design and sewing skills, she has been able to produce income to support not only herself but also her parents.

Goods from this shipment will assist our partners both to expand their vocational training programmes and to provide immediate aid for people in deepest need.


Naomi’s story

Naomi is HIV-positive but although she qualified to receive anti-retroviral treatment, she couldn’t access it because the clinic is too far for her to travel from home.  When she became pregnant, she had no idea of the high risk of her baby also being infected. She was approached by one of the mentors in a mothers’ support group run by our partners and was able to receive not only valuable information but also transport money to allow her to resume trips to the clinic both for ART and ante-natal care. Now that she has given birth, she continues to receive support from the mothers’ group.

This shipment will include goods to support health projects like the one that helped Naomi.


Feeding programmes are a necessary part of rural school life in Malawi.

A community based child care centre.  This shipment will include toys and other equipment for this and other such centres.


(S5537)

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Malawi snapshot

Population: 19 million
Capital: Lilongwe
Official languages: English, Chichewa

Although there has been considerable economic growth over the past decade, more than half the population still lives below the international poverty line (USD1.25 per day) with the majority relying on subsistence agriculture.

Climate change is making this lifestyle increasingly precarious and the economy remains largely dependent on international aid.

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Empowering women and youth

Malawi, a landlocked nation in south-eastern Africa, is one of the world’s least developed countries. A largely agricultural country, Malawi is still recovering from the effects of drought in 2015 and 2016 and is making efforts to overcome decades of underdevelopment, and the impact of HIV/Aids, which still claims the lives of tens of thousands every year.

Crossroads’ partners on this shipment are, through education and vocational training, empowering marginalised women and youth from rural communities. Through programmes aimed at agricultural training, education support and helping survivors of child marriage, among other projects, our partners have directly helped over 9,300 women and youth so far.

Items that we hope to include in this shipment include computers, school desks, chairs, and books. The goods will help our partners to better equip the schools and training centres where they run their programmes.  In addition to these goods, we hope to include items to meet the most basic needs of the people in these communities including clothing, bedding, mattresses and household goods.


T’s story

T is 15 years old and, despite laws preventing child marriage, T was married at a young age. In an effort to eradicate child marriage our partner NGO and their affiliates arrange meetings in the community to educated community leaders and parents on the dangers of child marriage.

T attended one of these meetings and was empowered to lead a demonstration to enforce the laws that protect children like her. T has now left the marriage and is back in secondary school preparing for her exams.

 

 


S’s story

S lives in one of the rural communities that our partner serves. She became pregnant at 15 and couldn’t continue her secondary education. When the father of her child left, she had no income and found it hard to find even the necessities to provide for her and her child.  She was introduced to our partners and began a tailoring and designing training programme. S has now completed the course and through the sale of clothing she makes, she is able to provide for her family. S has gone on to train other women in the community, providing them with the opportunity to become self reliant and empower other women in the community to do the same.

Goods from this shipment will help our partners to expand their programmes and enable more women like S to create an income for themselves and aid in their community’s development.


Orphans in the area are cared for by elderly people at local community childcare centers. Goods from this shipment will help our partners to continue to run theses centers and serve their communities’ children in need.

Orphaned children sleep on floors without mattresses at their school. Our partner NGO said, “One of our main goals is to contribute to the improvement of education standards for children and youth and to enable them to gain skills that will maximize their potential”. To achieve this goal our partners need goods from this shipment, like mattresses, bedding and school furniture so that the children can live and learn in a suitable environment.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Malawi snapshot

Population: 18 million
Capital: Lilongwe
Language: 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.

Malawi’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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Empowering community youth

Since Madagascar gained independence from France in 1960 it has battled decades of political instability. Despite being rich in natural resources, Madagascar remains one of the worlds poorest nations with 75% living in poverty (World Bank). The nation’s reliance on its natural resources has also seen it face environmental issues such as deforestation and overhunting.

Almost 70% of the population is under the age of 25, compared with the worldwide average of 25%. For Madagascar, having such a young population means that for the country to grow, services which benefit youth are vital.

With that in mind, our partner NGO runs programs focussed on education, women’s empowerment, and healthcare to build up community youth to be stronger in skills and employment opportunities. Along with these, our partners also provide programmes like food and clothing distribution, vocational training, and English language training to those who need them most.

This shipment will help our partners to continue and expand their projects. Goods that we hope to send include computer equipment, school and office furniture, household goods, clothing, educational books, and school supplies.


Steve’s Story

Steve is currently studying law in the hopes of becoming a judge. He says that his vision is for everyone in Madagascar to have access to a fair and non-corrupt judicial system. He entered an English speech contest that our partner NGO runs and was eventually chosen as the winner. Steve says, “I wanted to take part to develop my skills as a leader and to share my vision of the world with my peers. After winning, I am now able to inspire hundreds of young people with my vision of integrity.

This shipment will help our partners administer programmes that empower and envision young people like Steve to become the next generation of community leaders.


Maxetine’s Story

Maxetine lives on her family’s small plot of land with her parents. Despite their low income, Maxetine was able to complete her primary and secondary education by helping her mother sell crops in the nearby town.

After secondary school though, Maxetine’s family could no longer afford her education and she had to find work as a maid; forced to abandon her dream of training as a midwife.

Maxetine came to hear about our partners’ ‘Girls Skills Development’ project, and they agreed to sponsor her so that she could continue her midwifery training.

Goods from this shipment will help our partners to expand these programmes and help more at-risk youth to reach their goals.


Young women attend a session run by our partners called ‘Dignity of Women’, a sewing training project to make washable sanitary napkins and educate young women on menstruation and hygiene.

Our partners run a construction project which aims to renovate schools in the area, such as this one. Goods from this shipment will help equip projects like these.


(S5582)

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Madagascar snapshot

Capital: Antananarivo
Population: 26.97 million

Situated off the southeast coast of Africa, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. Having developed in isolation, the island nation is renowned for its unique wildlife.

Traditionally, the Malagasy economy has been based on the cultivation of rice, coffee, vanilla and cloves.

Despite a wealth of natural resources and a tourism industry driven by its unique environment, the country remains one of the world’s poorest, and is heavily dependent on foreign aid.

Source: BBC, World Bank

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Helping refugees and rural communities

Malaysia has recently benefited from an economic boost due to a growth in manufacturing. However, the disparity in wealth between urban and rural areas mean that rural areas experience a poverty rate nearly 4 times that of the towns and cities.

Malaysia, along with neighbouring countries has also taken in many Rohingya Muslim refugees who, due to violence and persecution, have fled Myanmar/Burma. In fact, 86% of all Myanmar/Burma’s refugees are Rohingya and around 2,500 of these live in the area in which our partner NGO operates.

To help care for these people in need our partners have been helping refugees and underprivileged locals with clothing, food, school uniforms and healthcare. They also operate the only food bank in the area and their resources are stretched thin.

With this shipment we aim to be able to provide them with the equipment they need to continue to grow their operation and reach many more people. Goods we hope to ship include medical equipment, clothing/shoes, school equipment, study materials and household items.


Supplying essential food to the community

Our partners understand that to properly serve and grow their community they must start by meeting their most urgent needs.

One of the ways they do this is by operating a soup kitchen and food bank (the only one in the area, serving 10 villages). Here people with low incomes can provide for their families with fresh, organic food donated by local businesses.


Mr. Chen’s Story

Our partners shared the story of a man called Mr. Chen with us. They said, “Mr Chen’s wife suffered a stroke and was left in a wheelchair. Shortly after, their only son moved out”. With their son’s income gone, Mr Chen couldn’t afford to provide food for himself and his wife”.

“In 2018 Mr. Chen heard about the soup kitchen and began to collect hot meals from us; they now have food every day”.

Goods from this shipment will help expand the reach of services like this and help more people like Mr. Chen and his wife.


The people that our partners help are spread out over a large area, so through field visits, they connect with and help as many in the community as possible.

Our partners hope to provide school equipment and study materials to the students in the community so that they are fully equipped for their education.


(S5609)

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Malaysia snapshot

Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Population: 31 million

Consisting of two regions separated by some 640 miles of the South China Sea, Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious federation of 13 states and three federal territories.

The country is benefiting from a growth in manufacturing, and is a major tourist destination, but there are fears that development could harm the environment, particularly the rainforests of northern Borneo, which are under pressure from palm oil plantations and illegal logging. The recent influx of Rohingya refugees has added pressure to some local communities.

Source: BBC

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Empowerment through education

While Tanzania has not experienced the violence plaguing some neighbouring African countries, the country’s peace and stability has not translated to national prosperity.  Nearly one in three people are still living in poverty, totalling around 12 million people. Those in rural areas are more affected by the economic troubles, with the poverty rate almost double that of more urban areas.

For the last 16 years our partner NGO has worked hard to improve the health and economic development of rural communities by providing them with the tools and education they need. 70% of their economy depends on agriculture. However, the communities lack adequate tools and technology to farm. With limited income, family health suffers, and issues like malnutrition in infants are widespread.

Items that we hope to send in this shipment include farming equipment, desks, chairs, medical equipment and household items. These goods will help our partners continue to run programs to help their communities. Some of these programs include:

  • Educating new parents on nutrition and childcare.
  • Providing financial assistance to local communities.
  • Educating women in farming techniques.

Providing milk and poultry to ensure every child gets a nutritious meal each day.


K’s story

When K’s first child was born, she didn’t have access to information about child nutrition, and the child was severely malnourished. When she became pregnant for the second time and she met with a volunteer from our partner NGO who taught her the importance of nutrition. Her children are now 13 months and 1 month old and thriving.


Halfan’s story

Halfan is 38 years old and his wife is pregnant. Like many first-time fathers he is anxious about being able to care for his wife and their unborn child. Halfan met with our partner NGO who enrolled him and his wife in their programme to educate expecting parents on the importance of a nutritional diet.

Before starting the course, Halfan didn’t know about the nutrients that expecting mothers need. He told our partner NGO, “When I attended this program, I asked many questions. I realised that it is so important to give my wife nutritious food so that she and my unborn child are healthy and can fight any illnesses. Thank you for this program and please continue to help the many men who don’t know the importance of nutritious food to their wives and children”.

Goods from this shipment will help our partners to continue and expand these programmes.


Our partner NGO has set up a programme which aims to teach women in the community farming techniques. They can use these skills to provide food for their family and sell food to provide an income.

People spend a large part of their day travelling from their homes in the hills to collect fresh water. Our partners hope to install water pumps to ease this burden, they said, “This will free up time for children and women to engage in education and other socioeconomic activities”.


(S5535)

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Tanzania snapshot

Capital: Dodoma
Largest City: Dar es Salaam
Main languages: English and Swahili
Population: 47.6 million. About half of the population is under 18.

Population below international poverty line of US$1.25 per day: 68%

There are 1.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS, 1.2 million children orphaned because of AIDS, and 3.1 million orphans in total, in Tanzania. 21% of children in Tanzania are involved in child labour.

Our food-saving superheroes

Every day, 3,600 tonnes of food waste are sent to landfill in Hong Kong, according to Feeding Hong Kong. Meanwhile, people...

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Recycling artisans make good news in Sri Lanka

When Sri Lankan artist Sagara Ranga Liyanage decided to start a handicrafts business, he had to think outside the box. "I...

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GoodCity: Multiplying kindness

“I don’t want to throw this stuff out. I want it to go to someone who needs it. If only there...

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Battling Covid-19 together

COVID: SAME STORM, DIFFERENT BOATS  “This pandemic has magnified every existing inequality in our society,” Melinda Gates said of Covid-19. She adds:...

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