Every day, 3,600 tonnes of food waste are sent to landfill in Hong Kong, according to Feeding Hong Kong. Meanwhile, people in need are going hungry. What’s wrong with this picture?

Feeding Hong Kong rescues huge amounts of that food and redistributes it to those who need it. They’re long-time partners of Crossroads  and also help us feed our own army of hungry volunteers each day, saving thousands from our annual budget.  In 2018-19, they channeled 12,948 meals to Crossroads from food businesses in Hong Kong!

We’re deeply thankful for their services, as we are for our friends at FoodLink, who deliver excess hotel food to our kitchen twice a week, and FoodCo, who make regular offers of excess food to Crossroads.

Our food-saving superheroes

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When Sri Lankan artist Sagara Ranga Liyanage decided to start a handicrafts business, he had to think outside the box. “I didn’t have the capital for a startup business,” he explains. “I knew I must start with what I have.” What he had around him were two resources: wastepaper and a community of hardworking village women who were battling poverty.

Thus, Earthbound Creations was born: a social enterprise that treads lightly on the local environment by recycling waste materials and using eco-friendly processes from start to finish. It employs mostly women from the village of Udaperadeniya. They can be mums, too. They can work during school hours or even from home if minding small children.  Earthbound has also set up education and investment programmes for their artisans and their families, after noticing that many village women had little knowledge or experience managing savings for the future.

The products, including hand-woven baskets, coasters, pencils and ornaments, use natural dyes and glues, with paper collected from local dumpsites. Earthbound Creations has been such a successful win-win that the enterprise has grown from just 3 employees in 2003 to 1,700 in 2018. They now export to 11 countries, including Hong Kong, where we started selling Earthbound Creations’ products in late 2018 at our Global Handicrafts shop.

“Cultivating environmental stewardship” is one of the nine principles of Fair Trade, and it’s one that Earthbound Creations lives and breathes, like so many of our Global Handicrafts producers. The products they create invest in the earth and in real people’s lives.

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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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“I don’t want to throw this stuff out. I want it to go to someone who needs it. If only there were an easy way to get it to a good home!”

It’s a cry we’ve been hearing since Crossroads first started and, for nearly 25 years, we’ve loved helping people find a way to re-home their quality excess goods. In recent years, we’ve been seeking ways to use technology to do that job even better. In 2016, we began rolling out GoodCity, a series of apps which people can use to move things more easily across Hong Kong online. At first, the app was made available to donors only, giving time to refine and improve the service. Then, we invited social workers and NGOs to begin testing GoodCity too. We held several sessions at Crossroads Village (see photo) to hear more deeply of their needs, and to discuss how GoodCity can best help find goods for their clients and their own projects.

Mark Lo, CEO of United Social Services HK, was one of GoodCity’s early adopters, and has been trialing the app since 2018. He and his social workers serve elderly and other vulnerable groups throughout Hong Kong, regularly turning to Crossroads for help with furniture and household goods for their clients. He knows that some of their clients find it difficult to travel to Crossroads to choose what they need, because of age or poor health. “The app is so convenient,” he says. “Now we can just help our clients to search for what they need online. It’s really good!”

We’re excited to see GoodCity’s reach expanding rapidly to draw in more and more donors, social workers and NGOs, helping each other to place goods into the hands of people in need.  “We all want to be good neighbours to those who are less fortunate,” says Matt Gow, the creative force behind GoodCity. “Together, we’re building a way for many more needs to be met. Not with millions of dollars, but with millions of small acts of kindness among neighbours.”

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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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COVID: SAME STORM, DIFFERENT BOATS 

“This pandemic has magnified every existing inequality in our society,” Melinda Gates said of Covid-19. She adds: “Borrowing a line by British writer, Damian Barr: “We may be in the same storm, but we are in different boats”. 

That is the reality of Covid. All of us have experienced pain and difficulty through the pandemic.  Those working in the humanitarian sector are seeing need deepened on many levels: medical provision, of course, but also their economy, education system, nutrition and, ultimately, infrastructure.   

Much as we have longed to help, our work too, of course, has been made harder because of Covid too, so it is something of a vicious circle. Two of our three services were ‘hit’ by the pandemic. The one less impacted is Global Hand. 

As this service is always handled remotely, it did not need adjustment when the pandemic struck. People use it to offer goods which they would like given to non-profit groups. They offer these goods on our website, www.globalhand.org and we then, help them look for a ‘match’.  

Matches made over this time include: 

  • Reuseable face masks donated in the UK given to projects in Sri Lanka, Nigeria and  
  • School furniture from Ohio, USA now helping refugees in Iraq 
  • Specialised medical equipment from the Netherlands sent to a clinic in Romania 
  • Thousands of Crocs shoes given to NGOs for projects in Singapore, Australia and South Korea 
  • Water purification tablets donated in the UK, matched with water access projects in rural Nigeria 
  • Sleeping bags and warm clothing collected in the UK, helping refugees in the Greek islands 
  • Hundreds of new pieces of clothing donated from within Uruguay to a project less than an hour away  

GOODS MATCHED IN-COUNTRY 

An ideal way to use Global Hand is to find, when possible, people within the same country. That saves the challenges of logistics as goods can be moved about internally.  

The one challenge we met, over this period, because of Covid, was lockdown. It was heart-breaking to be offered goods in a country where nobody was permitted to get them. Right here in the UK, for example, we ‘lost’ offers of goods, in various locations, because nobody was permitted to drive into other areas to collect them during lockdowns.  

GOODS MATCHED INTERNATIONALLY 

Another way to use Global Hand is international placement: ie goods in one country that are matched with NGOs in another. Businesses give stock for many reasons but, over this time particularly, they have been glad to find good homes for stock stranded by Covid, which they don’t want to go to landfill but which generate storage costs, otherwise.   

 Another challenge we have met is related less to Covid and more to Brexit, with logistics bringing uncertainties for both donors and recipients. Some cargoes had been held up at borders with various parties unsure about current guideline, as these evolve. It has brought a degree of reticence, at this time, to take on donated goods. Hopefully, these issues are being resolved.  

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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

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For homeless children in Kandy, Sri Lanka’s second largest city, life is one serious risk after another. “Many live and work on the streets,” says NGO Child Action Lanka (CAL). “Hunger, neglect, lack of education, exploitation and abuse are just a few of the countless challenges they face every day.” Most will grow up trapped in the poverty cycle, and work on the streets as their parents have done. 

CAL runs centres that want to break that cycle by reaching into the lives of street children with love and support, giving them education, food and holistic support. When the children are in such safe hands, their parents can focus their time and energy on working hard to support the family. Throughout this year, as the pandemic spread in Sri Lanka, these centres have sometimes been forced to close. The poorest families they serve, though, still needed urgent help. 

When hundreds of face masks were offered on our Global Hand website, Child Action Lanka were excited to receive some of them. They wrote, “Masks have been essential in supporting some of the neediest families, like when providing emergency food packages.” It was indeed a welcome donation at a time when charities are battling chronically low funding and access to resources.  

 

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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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It’s at the grassroots level that things start to grow. Projects such as village water initiatives, child nutrition in local schools, or training women in small business skills, all plant seeds to help communities grow and develop. We love helping donors put tools in the hands of local NGOs running community projects, often giving strategic goods that would be difficult or too expensive to buy in remote or rural areas. For many years, CGVUK has worked with one such Global Hand member, Guildance Foundation, helping match goods donated in the UK with their projects in rural Nigeria. In 2020, we facilitated donations to Guildance that included: 

  • More than 3,000 water purification tablets from UNICEF in the UK 
  • Waterproof boots and other footwear from a UK food manufacturing company 
  • Landline telephones, useful in their local administration offices, from a UK government agency 
  • Reuseable face masks from a UK NGO 

Guildance Foundation is just one of the many Global Hand member NGOs worldwide who frequently request goods from our network. We can help your NGO connect, too! Visit www.globalhand.org to find out how to join. 

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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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As our world summons its resources to battle Covid-19, it is easy to lose sight of people displaced by war. We cannot let that happen. Their struggle is in no way reduced by the fact it has lasted so many years. Quite the opposite.   

Last year, we wrote about a dangerously over-crowded camp in Lesbos, the Greek island nearest to the coast of Turkey and, therefore, an entrance to the EU for refugees streaming up from the Middle East, Northern Africa and beyond.  

This year, that danger turned into a tragedy. The camp, designed to house approx. 3000 people, has had many times more than that and lacked the needed cooking, washing and sanitation facilities to cope with its swollen numbers. In September, a massive fire broke out displacing 13,000 people. “Knowing the limitations placed upon them on the island, we can’t imagine where the people have fled to,” said Director, Sally Begbie, who visited the camp not long ago. 

Because our Global Hand service is virtual, an ‘online warehouse’ rather than a physical one, it did not have to close during the worst of Covid’s impact this year.  We were offered a wide range of goods that went to refugees. They included personal hygiene items, sleeping bags, hundreds of shoes and clothing of many kinds:  

  • warm hats 
  • sweatshirts 
  • hoodies 
  • joggers 
  • training pants 
  • rainwear 
  • quilted coats 
  • t-shirts 
  • football jackets 
  • shorts  
  • tracksuit pants 

In addition to donated goods, we reached out to our global network for emergency funds.  

The need continues in this area of indescribable desperation. All financial help and all relevant donated goods are welcome. Following the devastating fire, there was hope for things to get better, but they have only, according to reports, become worse.    

The United Nations’ Relief Web wrote, ‘Oxfam’s EU migration expert, Raphael Shilhav, said: “When Moria burnt down, everyone said ‘no more Morias’, but conditions in the new camp are even worse. There’s very little water, the shelters are flooded and battered by wind, and people have been fainting from lack of food. 

‘Rather than relocating asylum seekers to proper shelters where they would be safe, they are being trapped in destitution and misery in another abysmal camp.’ 

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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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SHIPMENT FEEDBACK

“ISIS came,” tells, Basema, aged approx 11. “We went to one farm, then another, and then to the mountains. We left without a car. We took nothing with us.” In a northern Iraq refugee camp, Basema, tries to hold back tears. “Were you afraid?” a humanitarian worker, asks, arm around Basema’s shoulders. Between sharp breaths, Basema says she was filled with fear. She describes fleeing still further, past the mountains to a school, and finally to safety. The trauma was huge, though. “I always had headaches. I was always crying. I could have died had we not come here”. Several of the group did not survive the journey. One was shot by ISIS soldiers. 

The trauma that refugee teenagers in northern Iraq have experienced is unspeakable. Living in camps, they need help recovering from the past as well as support for the future.   

This year, Global Hand partner IRN made an offer through Global Hand of hundreds of pieces of school furniture. NGO Roads of Success supports such projects in Iraq.  They saw the offer and got in touch. It was the beginning of a warm friendship between the two organisations. Soon, discussions were underway to ship 2 x 40’ containers of superseded, high quality school furniture donated by a secondary school in Oregon.  

Now, Roads of Success has distributed the furniture in Iraq to a centre that serves 4,000 families of refugees and displaced people. That furniture will support its programmes providing counselling for refugee youth, English and IT classes, small business skills and more. 

Some of the furniture has also furnished their free health clinic for refugees. More furniture is being used for classrooms teaching refugee youth and in support of their sports field for recreational activities. 

Each side of this partnership was excited to find the other. “We owe Global Hand a great deal of appreciation for their involvement in the connection between our two organisations,” said Roads of Succes. “We think this new relationship will benefit all of us.” Global Hand exists for just this purpose: to bring together those with resources, and those in desperate need.

 

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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:...

read more ...

Her face has been protected, but, pictured below, is a 94-year-old Holocaust resident at a Romanian hospice, in the care of a nurse. “She has various needs,” wrote staff from the hospice. “Now she’s receiving a glucose solution as she is not eating much.” Accessing high quality specialized resources at the Bucharest facility can be a challenge, and they were very grateful when Global Hand partners, HRIF, offered the centre a number of medical infusion pumps. The donation had come through a connection, via our Global Hand website, with a medical tech company in the Netherlands. Most of the residents in this facility are Holocaust survivors.  

One of the heart cries of such victims is that, although they survived the Holocaust, they cannot survive loneliness , poverty and neglect. In many countries, these elderly people are finishing their lives in horrendous circumstances, another form of suffering following the many years they endured early in their lives. The staff at this hospice treasure the opportunity to provide dignity and care for those whose lives have been entrusted to them.

 

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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...

read more ...

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:...

read more ...