A ‘good news’ story?
At this particular time, people living in this part of the world are being urged to tell ‘good news’ stories about Hong Kong. The goal is to help build international interest and confidence as both are currently less robust than in earlier times. “You’re a good news story”, colleagues and stakeholders have been telling us, in light of this. “That’s not, perhaps, exactly how we would have described ourselves but, as they point out, through this work, people can see how good Hong Kong is in caring for those who are vulnerable, locally and, of course, internationally as well. And, yes, that is good news.
It is, without doubt, the goodwill of Hong Kong’s people and government that have enabled this work to happen over the 28 years since inception. Today, it serves not only across Hong Kong itself and but also to 120 nations. The Hong Kong community has given and given. They have donated product at both domestic and manufacturing levels. They have given time with approx. 6000 volunteers per annum. They have made services available, pro bono, in shipping, air freight, trucking, containers, legal issues, architectural and engineering services, to name just a few.
Underlying all of this, the Government of the Hong Kong SAR has made property available so that the work can happen at a ‘peppercorn’ rent (HK$1 per year). Internationally, this has been noticed. We have, over the years, participated in various activities occurring on the global stage where we hope we were good ‘ambassadors’ for Hong Kong. It does cast Hong Kong in an excellent light and that can continue as long as we have space, in the new site, to continue this work.
We highlight some of those global events, below. And, to the question, could the move hinder this story? Of course. It is absolutely dependent on suitable space.
We partnered with over 30 branches of the United Nations to build a complex online system that allows businesses, all over the world, to find partnerships within the UN, so they can work together on global issues. The technology was developed by our team here in Hong Kong and adapted for the United Nations.
We had earlier built this technology for our own use in a service we call ‘Global Hand’ where people anywhere in the world can offer humanitarian help and organisations can arrange to receive it. This is now seeing hundreds of thousands of people impacted each year.
For 11 years, Crossroads attended the World Economic Forum in Davos. We have brought some of our experiential programmes, the Refugee Run in particular, in order to present them before people who have influence on a global scale. Participants in Davos include members of royalty, presidents, prime ministers, CEOs of major firms. E.g. Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg, Jill Biden, Jeffrey Sachs, Unilever, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Manpower, Nestle, Wikipedia and countless more companies. They also include the head of the United Nations, and the UNHCR, UNOCHA, UNISDR, UN Global Compact, World Vision, Oxfam, DFID and many other leaders in the humanitarian and academic sectors. Their feedback has been very powerful. The Hong Kong contingent at WEF also visited the location, led by Mrs Carrie Lam with Paul Chan and others.
These programmes have also been run at le Palais des Nations in Geneva and at events convened in the UK by Facebook, Linklaters and HPE, in Japan by UBS, in Malaysia by Petronas, in Singapore by Credit Suisse, UBS and The Body Shop, and in the US by Microsoft, Food for the Hungry and Target, among others.
The other ‘good news’ story emanating from Hong Kong through this work is the sheer help provided for people in deep need internationally as well as locally. Through Hong Kong’s abundance and goodwill, we are able to send goods of many types around the world. This too requires us to have a suitable site in Hong Kong
We support victims of war and natural disasters, the elderly, the hungry, orphans, people with poor medical care, people without education, micro-enterprise, people with disabilities and those battling the many faces of poverty.
Note: For each department of our goods, we have a processing area, outfitted to assess donated items: to fix, adjust or even set aside for recycling if not good enough to send. These vary. It is particularly true of electrical goods, medical equipment, computers and their many parts, and bicycles (much needed for services in weak economies). Systems and tracking are also needed for books, clothing, domestic items, textiles, shoes, special needs items, and so on, for compliance with customs. When moving to a new site, we want to ensure we not only have space for storage, but also for the processing of these goods. It is important for us to fulfil due diligence.
Hong Kong’s generosity has also shown itself in freight. Airlines, shipping companies, and container companies over the years have given great support.
- Cathay Pacific
- Hamburg Sud
- Lufthansa Cargo
- Santa Fe
It is wonderful to see the power of Hong Kong’s giving enabling people in the many locations being given a new chance at life. Again, we hope the new site for Crossroads will be suitable for this aid to continue.
Caption: This map shows our work, globally. Larger dots indicate greater activity in that area.