Mr Gande, at 76, could be the face of grassroots poverty in Malawi. He’s a farmer who has always survived day to day by growing his own food. After suffering a back injury, though, it became more and more difficult to live off his land.

“He has to crawl to get around,” said Thandiwe Moyo, one of our staff, who visited him in his humble home: one where he sleeps on a hard bench, his chickens in the next room.

Being disabled in this way means Mr Gande now relies mostly on the kindness of neighbours. Malawi likes to call itself ‘The warm heart of Africa’, and, certainly, his neighbours, in their provision of food and other care for him, demonstrated that. Even with their support, though, his life remains tough, uncomplaining as he is.

His quiet life is one example of those at the grassroots who benefitted from a shipment we sent to Malawi this year. Mr Gande received items which, unremarkable enough in themselves, were life-changing nonetheless. A thick, soft mattress, for example, now protects his injured back and he now has much needed clothing which was beyond his normal financial reach (picture below).

Our shipment to Malawi saw items distributed, at the grassroots, to hundreds more individuals like Mr Gande. At an institutional level, moreover, it helped equip a medical clinic and a school, both offering services to the poorest of the poor in the region.


Before our hospital beds and mattresses arrived at this health centre, staff told us it grieved them to see patients arrive when the centre was full, knowing they could only offer them a sheet spread on the floor as their ‘bed’. Our shipment helped build capacity for this centre.


Village children, though bright and ready to learn (above pic), can find it hard to focus on learning while sitting on the floor, with nowhere to write. Our shipment included school desks and chairs (below pic) that will make learning easier at this school for both students and their teachers.

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Orphanage and food distribution

Romania_5The last 25 years have been a difficult period for Romania.
Despite large strides, the poverty rate in Romania is still among the highest in the EU. Around 20% of the people currently live in poverty, on an income of less than US$3.50 a day. Children living on the streets, especially common amongst the marginalised Romani people (gypsies), are vulnerable to trafficking and abuse. Crossroads’ consignee runs and orphanage that is turning around the lives of street children by giving them shelter and education, and establishing food distribution centres throughout Romania. Our shipment will help them expand their services to care for 100 more children.

Potential impact:

  • Winter clothing for 2000 children
  • Increased capacity of the orphanage for 100 children
  • School supplies for 2000 children
  • Computers for education use

Shipment includes:

  • Beds, blankets, pillows and other bedding related items
  • Computers
  • Winter coats

Roamnia_4“Today we have 90 children,” writes our partner. “The fact is that all of our children are angelic and beautiful, but they did not arrive that way. At first they are frightened, distrustful, undernourished, and covered with lice and internal parasites. Many of the new children have lived such difficult lives that they barely even know how to play or laugh with other children. All that they know is hunger and basic survival.  Some have spent time on the streets begging daily for food or for a few coins to give to an alcoholic parent.  They are familiar with filth and being cold without a coat or shoes. Some have been beaten, and some have been abused. When you add these factors together and put it all inside of a little boy or little girl, he or she does not appear very pretty.

Romania_3Within a few weeks or a month, their hearts begin to soften as they realize every day breakfast will be waiting for them, and also lunch, dinner, and even a mid-afternoon snack. Changes also begin to happen when they are treated for the health and parasite problems, given clean clothes, and a warm bed provided. Soon they are running in the yard and playing with the other children.’’


Crossroads’ shipment will help another 100 children in Romania to escape the streets to find shelter and a normal life.


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Romania Snapshot

Population: 21.77 million
Capital: Bucharest

Population below national poverty line of US$3.50 per day: 21.5%

Infant mortality rates are among the highest in Europe. Access to health care is not commonly available for the poor.

Based on GDP stats, Romania is the 9th poorest country in Europe out of 50, with an average income of USD 12.80 per person.