China: Crafting new futures for the deaf

Cui Li grew up in a world of silence. Born deaf, Cui Li lived with her family in an impoverished region of China where nobody was able to teach her sign language and her parents had no money to send her to school.

China_sewing_lady-DEAFIt was a lonely, friendless existence until, at age 13, Cui Li discovered a group of people who were deaf like her. One new friend taught Cui Li sign language and how to read and write. It was an opportunity that suddenly opened the world to the teenager. She could now communicate, her relationships with her family improved and she began to meet more and more deaf people, including one young man who then became her husband!

“The deaf population of China numbers around 72 million,” says Hearts and Hands.  “Since the majority of deaf young people are unable to find adequate employment, many turn to gangs, theft, and drugs.”

We’re privileged to work with groups like Hearts and Hands across the world giving new hope to people with so many different needs. When you purchase a Hearts and Hands product through Crossroads’ Global Handicrafts store, you’re supporting people like Cui Li and her husband to build a life for themselves with dignity and honour.

(Cui Li’s story and images courtesy of Hearts and Hands China.)

Want to shop for more fair trade handicrafts?

Browse Global Handicrafts’ full online range here or visit our shop at Crossroads Village to walk through our colourful global marketplace, with even more handmade delights from around the world, all of which care for the people who made them.


China Snapshot

Population: 1.35 billion

Capital: Beijing

Population below international poverty line of US$1.25 per day: 11%, or 157 million people

China is experiencing rapid economic growth, but the benefits have not reached millions of people in rural areas. People who are already poor are the most vulnerable to death, injury and loss of livelihood when floods and earthquakes hit.

Natural disasters in China affect more than 200 million people every year.


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