For those used to well equipped schools, it is hard to picture life in parts of rural Gambia where students sit quietly, waiting their turn to use a pen. The idea of having one each, much less a traditional ‘pencil case’ with a set of pens and pencils, is a world away from these students.

The need is widespread. We have been asked for stationery supplies by almost every one of our partners who work with children. Supplies have been running low, though. So, when Hong Kong stationery manufacturer Cartorama offered a large quantity of school stationery, we leaped at the chance. The donation itself left us flabbergasted: 12 pallet loads of cartons containing felt tip pens, piles of school notepads, beautiful new backpacks, erasers, folders and more.

Bear Care Kids packing markers (20)

We shipped these to Gambia,  hopefully making a huge impact on those little who had previously shared a single pen.  We had enough, too, to send to children in Uganda, orphans in Moldova and children here in Hong Kong.

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In rural Gambia’s dry season, there’s an exodus of men from the countryside to the coast – farmers who leave behind their wives and children in search of better work that will support their families.

The women left behind continue tending their small plots of maize, millet and peanuts, often with the help of their children, but it can be a difficult existence, marked by poverty and hunger.

The battle makes it all the more difficult for kids to stay in school, and once there, small community schools are often so under-resourced that basic supplies like text books, plain lined paper or a coloured crayon are hot commodities.

Gambia_children_students
Nursery students with stationery and furniture from Crossroads’ shipment

It was exciting, then, to see that when Crossroads shipped a container to rural Gambia, they made an educational festival out of it!

Gambia_kids_activities

Our partner NGO held a ‘Kids Games’ event, inviting children from the region to join in typical sports day activities like running races, water games (above) and ball games, and gave out prizes of stationery, books and backpacks from the Crossroads shipment.

As delighted as they were, the kids’ enthusiasm couldn’t match that of the teachers, who were also given a donation for each school of materials, school desks and other essentials.

“Every school that attended received school materials,” wrote our partners. “The competitions gave every child opportunity to exercise his or her skills and abilities. Your donation has had a great impact in the life of the children in the community!”

Want to sponsor an international shipment?

We have several international shipments ready to set sail and waiting for sponsors! Your company, club, organisation or family can make a  shipment happen.

Email us at partnerships@crossroads.org.hk for a list of partnership opportunities.

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Shipment Feedback: The conflict in Syria continues to devastate lives and communities, with thousands of people still displaced and living in flimsy...

read more ...

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How to get to the Good Gift Fair at Crossroads Village Free shuttle bus: Free shuttle buses to the Good Gift Fair will...

read more ...

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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING? In rural Tanzania, poverty is widespread and affects every area of life. Sadly, the nation is still...

read more ...

Malawi: Bridging the urban-rural divide

WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING? Despite making great strides economically over the past decade, Malawi remains one of the poorest countries in...

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