WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

Benin, bordered by Togo and Nigeria in West Africa, is rich in natural beauty but is one of the world’s poorest nations. Many of the nation’s 11.5 million people still lack access to basic social services and are dependent upon subsistence farming, which is threatened by climate change, further endangering already fragile livelihoods.

Our partners work at the grassroots to empower women and youth with skills and support that will lift them out of poverty. We shipped to this group several years ago, with goods like sewing machines, furniture and computers, which allowed them to make such improvements as:

• Setting up a computer centre using goods from the shipment where youth can access the internet and learn employable skills

• Equipping a sewing training centre where girls and women can learn sewing to empower them with the skills to support themselves and their families

• Doubling the capacity at a care home for children, by expanding the facilities using furniture and other goods from the shipment

“Thanks to the support of Crossroads Foundation, our NGO has experienced a real change in terms of its services and the quality of its work for the people it supports in Benin,” they wrote. “But more areas and populations are waiting to be reached and affected as well.” The second shipment will allow them to expand their services into more remote communities in desperate need of help.

 


GRACE’S STORY

Grace, in 3rd form, is a grateful recipient of a bicycle from Crossroad’s previous shipment. It was hard for her to get to school on time, traveling on foot, and she was often late for class even if she left home early. Having a bike has dramatically reduced her commute and made it that much easier for her to stay in school and improve her future. This shipment will include goods for students like Grace whose education is suffering for lack of basic resources.

 

Goods from this shipment will help our partners reach more people like Grace.


Sewing machines changing lives

As an unemployed widow in a rural area, Martine (above) was finding it very hard to climb out of poverty. Now that she’s learnt sewing skills using the equipment from Crossroads’ 2016 shipment, she’s been able to take on small jobs and can now afford to buy clothes for herself and her children, and feed them properly, as well as pay for their health and education

This shipment includes goods to help administer the training programmes (below) that changed Martine’s life, so that more women can move from just surviving, to a life of stability for them and their families.


Computers and furniture from the shipment have set up a community computer centre, where youth can now access the internet, use computers for their schoolwork and learn skills for better employment opportunities

 

Benin’s beautiful and fertile landscape holds great potential for its people, but low literacy and education, and poor infrastructure, make it difficult to break out of poverty. .  

REFERENCE NO. S4125A

 

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Malawi snapshot

Population: 18 million
Capital: Lilongwe
Major Languages: English, Chichewa

Landlocked Malawi is sometimes called the ‘warm heart of Africa’, for its culture of hospitality, however, the nation ranks among the world’s least developed countries. The country’s economic performance has historically been constrained complex factors including poor infrastructure, high population growth, and poor health and education outcomes that limit labor productivity.

The economy is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas.

Source:BBC Country Profile/CIA World Factbook

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SHIPMENT FEEDBACK

Benin, bordered by Togo and Nigeria in West Africa, is rich in natural beauty and cultural history, but is one of the world’s poorest nations. Benin’s 9.4 million people still lack access to basic social services and are dependent upon agriculture and farming crops like corn or soya, which is threatened by climate change, further endangering already fragile livelihoods.

Crossroads sent a shipment bound for a region of Benin where our NGO partners are addressing these needs through a carefully-structured system of women’s “micro companies”, where women who show motivation and a desire to change their circumstances attend evening training and educational sessions for 3 years.

“Since receiving the container there have been great changes in the lives of the population.”NGO staff

Sewing machines from Crossroads’ container are helping women in poor communities learn skills that are helping them start businesses and lift their families out of poverty.

Computers and furniture from the shipment have set up a community computer centre, where eager youth can now access the internet, use computers for their school work and engage with the wider world.

Crossroads volunteers loading the Benin container in Hong Kong

The shipment was a huge boost to our partners’ operations, with goods that not only helped their own offices and administration, but were a very real investment in their job creation and training projects.

Impact of Crossroads’ shipment so far:

  • Computers and furniture set up a new computer centre, now attended by 110 people per day. 20 youth have been formally trained in computer skills already, and 5 young people have been employed to manage the centre.
  • 30 young women are enrolled in dressmaking classes using sewing machines from the shipment, with several already having completed the training.
  • A care home for vulnerable children has increased its capacity from 30 to 60 children, thanks to furniture and household goods from the shipment.
  • 2,000 of the area’s most vulnerable, like orphans, widows and elderly, were reached with distribution of essentials from the shipment including clothing and mattresses.
  • An estimated 3,000 people were directly impacted by goods from the shipment, with a further 20,000 estimated to be indirectly impacted.

We’re grateful to all who contributed to this shipment, investing in the lives of the poor in Benin. Turn over for more stories of how the goods have touched people’s individual lives!

Madeleine is widowed, with three children to support. She’s thankful to be learning how to sew, thanks to the sewing machines from Crossroads, and hopes to use her newfound skills to earn an income.

Martine is a widow, and was unemployed, finding it very hard to climb out of poverty. Now that she’s learnt sewing skills using the equipment from Crossroads’ shipment, she’s been able to take on small jobs and can now afford to buy clothes for herself and her children, and feed them properly, as well as pay for their health and education.

Grace, in 3rd form, is a grateful recipient of a bicycle from Crossroad’s shipment. It was hard for her to get to school on time, traveling on foot, and she was often late for class even if she left home early. Having a bike has drastically reduced her commute and made it that much easier for her to stay in school and improve her future!

Jacques was born healthy, but suffered an illness that left him paralysed later in childhood. His mobility is severely limited, and he had no way to get around without the help of his mother. Now, with a wheelchair from Crossroads’ shipment, he’s proud and grateful to be able to control his own mobility and has renewed hope for the future.

“Our thanks to Crossroads Foundation of Hong-Kong and DHL for the sewing and embroidery machines,” said the women’s cooperative, in a joyful statement. “


“We are learning and working together for the good of our children and our homes.”

Reference No. S4125

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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SHIPMENT FEEDBACK

Despite its political stability and cultural vibrancy, Benin remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Ranking just 163 out of 189 on the Human Development Index, Benin suffers from severe underdevelopment and has unemployment rates as high as 70% amongst its young people. In many of the country’s village communities the poverty and illiteracy rates are around 60% and, with poor access to education and skills training, it is very difficult for people to break out of the poverty cycle.

Our NGO partners in the region coordinate a wide range of programmes designed to tackle the challenges faced by Benin’s poorest communities. Through supporting local schools, providing skills training to unemployed women, organising community literacy classes, and distributed much needed necessities such as clothing and bedding, our partners are working tirelessly to address the issue of poverty head-on. Their major focus is on improving access to education, as they believe that by equipping people with new skills they can empower them to pursue new opportunities and can break the poverty cycle.

“The most significant impact of the shipment is the reduction of grinding poverty, especially in poor communities and villages”– NGO Director

(Above) A man with training receives a new computer, allowing him to open a small IT services business.

The goods that were delivered in this shipment have supported the work of our partners across many of their programmes. Here are just a few examples of the impacts that they have had:

  • Classroom furniture has been donated to local schools, modernising facilities and improving the quality of their learning environments
  • Computers have been distributed to individuals who have the training to use them, allowing them to start their own small businesses and enterprises
  • Hospital beds and medical mattresses have improved the standard of care at local health centres, providing for a local population of over 7500 people
  • Toys and games were distributed at Christmas to children in the poorest communities where our partners work

(Above) Tables, chairs and kitchen utensils from the shipment, kick-started a restaurant business for this woman, who is now able to support herself with the income

(Above) A student in our partners’ educational support projects received a new desk and school kit, allowing her to continue her studies at secondary school.

The goods received in this shipment have already directly impacted an estimated 4,600 people directly, and over 10,000 indirectly. With their long life-span and careful distribution the items received by the beneficiaries in Benin will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of many people for years to come.


FURTHER IMPACT

“As a result of the shipment, we were able to contribute to a new market in a poor community. The clean water and electricity which provide this market also serve the immediate neighborhood. Thanks to this, an additional 1250 people now have access to clean water and electricity in their homes” – NGO Director

Most residents in our partners’ target communities are struggling with poverty, making it difficult to get ahead or support their families. Basic goods like furniture, clothing, electrical equipment and others can have a remarkable impact on their quality of life, like one teacher (Above 1st pic) who received a mobile phone that he can now use to stay in touch with family members living in other towns.

(Above 2nd pic) New chairs will allow this women to invite friends and family over to her home, where previously she had nowhere for them to sit.

(Above) Recreational and sports equipment from the shipment have enriched youth sports projects.

Reference No. : S2446

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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