WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

Along the border between Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) there are nine camps housing more than 93,000 refugees, mostly from ethnic minorities such as the Karen group. They are living in a desperate state of limbo. Without proper papers, refugee children here can’t attend school or even travel to larger cities once they’re older, meaning they grow up stuck in the same poverty cycle they were born into. They are extremely vulnerable to disease, violence, rape, drug abuse and human trafficking.

Crossroads has been partnering with an NGO working at Mae Sot, near the largest of these border refugee camps. Knowing that children here can’t access formal schooling, they started their own schools – four so far – where children are given love, attention and a quality education. While basic and in desperate need of resources, these schools provide a place where the children are safe and protected, and where they can access a level of education otherwise out of their reach. They are excited to be constructing a new school building, creating a more secure environment to care for children from families who work at the nearby rubbish dump. They have the space now, but are seeking the equipment and furniture to fill it.

Crossroads is preparing a shipment of goods to bring the school buildings to life and equip other parts of their work with refugee families. We hope to include goods like school and office furniture, clothing and shoes, computers, appliances, beds and more.


A safe haven for orphaned refugee children

Some of the goods from this shipment will furnish a dormitory building (pictured left, under construction) for orphaned refugee students at our partners’ school.

Sadly, some have suffered abuse or are at high risk of abuse, being alone and vulnerable. This new building will create a safer place for them to live while they study.

 


Despite scarce resources, our partners’ schools are places of hope and joy, where each child is given care, attention, and an education.

More than 100 migrant and refugee families live on this rubbish dump in Mae Sot, where they collect plastic to sell for a few cents a kilogram.


Reference No : S5507
Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

The school by the dump

For students at our partners’ newest school, an education could mean breaking out of a life sifting through trash. Most of these children live with their families at the Mae Sot rubbish dump, where people sort and collect pieces of discarded plastic and other trash to sell to earn a living.

“Children here have nothing to do,” wrote staff. “Young girls that stay home with nothing to do are often raped by men that are drunk. They need education.”

We are looking forward to supplying the school with a huge amount of needed goods through this shipment, such as furniture, computers, clothing, recreational equipment and other goods.

Thailand snapshot

Population: 69.4 million
Capital: Bangkok
Official languages: Thai
Language spoken in Mae Sot refugee camp: Karen and other dialects

In recent decades, Thailand’s economy has grown at a remarkable rate, reducing poverty from 67% to below 10% in just 30 years. Rural areas and certain communities, like the refugees living along the Burma border, though, have not benefited in the same way as the urban population. Refugees in the border camps are living in desperate poverty, with very little hope of improving their circumstances.
Sources: UNHCR, World Bank

 

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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

Guinea has long struggled with instability and internal conflict, and this has slowed development. Despite Guinea’s vast mineral wealth, the people of Guinea are amongst the poorest in West Africa and ethnic tensions often boil over into violent clashes. These problems have been made worse in recent years by the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees from the neighbouring countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Literacy rates are low, with only 46.3% of the population literate, and that percentage is lower still for women.

Our NGO partners in the region are running a number of projects to try and address the multi-faceted problems causing poverty. They travel around rural areas offering their programmes in literacy, small business training and poverty alleviation.

As well as goods to invest in strategic educational projects, they asked for some basic necessities like clothing. “In some areas we have found people without clothes and shoes,” they said, “We help them by providing them these items, particularly children who are walking a lot for school.”

We are preparing a shipment of goods to equip and expand their many projects, including computers, educational supplies, school bags, books, electrical goods, school and office furniture, clothing and more.

LITERACY AS A PATHWAY OUT OF POVERTY

Literacy rates in Guinea are shockingly low: 46.3% (UNESCO, 2014). That means fewer than half of the population can read and write, which helps keep people trapped in poverty. Our partners are pioneering a literacy programme in Guinean communities, whereby they train ‘peer educators’ in how to teach literacy skills to their fellow villagers, then open and manage literacy training centres.

They have told us that they need educational equipment to help bring these centres to life! We are pleased to be including educational goods in our shipment to support their literacy and primary school projects, like books, stationery, furniture, school desks and chairs, and whiteboards.

SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT

“The aim is to help vulnerable women to become financially independent,” said our partners of their small business startup programmes. They travel the countryside offering training in skills like baking or soap-making, equipping women to start their own business to support their families. Goods from this shipment will help our partners administer programmes like these.

 


“Guinea has a high level of natural resources,” write our partners, “but most Guineans are living in poverty, particularly in rural areas where women are most affected.” Our partners are working hard on solutions, like small business training, agricultural training and building a new school for children in poverty.


Reference No. S3985

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Guinea snapshot

Population: 12.72 million
Capital: Conakry
Official language: French
Population below poverty line of US$1.90 per day: 35.3%

Despite Guinea’s wealth in natural resources, instability and internal conflict have left the country underdeveloped. Guinea’s people are amongst the poorest in West Africa and there are frequent ethnic clashes. Although 2010 saw the country’s first democratic election, there is still much work to be done in easing Guinea’s internal tensions and in improving the lives of its people.
Source: UN WFP and BBC

 

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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

“We want to empower communities to become self-sustaining,” write Crossroads’ partners in Tanzania. It’s a challenge in rural areas where people are so dependent on agriculture that changes in climate or a poor harvest can devastate entire families’ livelihoods.

The most vulnerable in these communities are children and young people living on the streets, or without family support. Our partners have a network of children’s centres and training programmes for these groups of children and youth, knowing that without education and a place to live, there would be no hope of escaping the poverty cycle. “Most of these children were abandoned because they happened to be children of single parents, or victims of diseases like HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, or typhoid.”

We are shipping goods to support their work, including textbooks and stationery for school students, appliances and household goods for children’s homes and offices, clothing, bedding, blankets for vulnerable children and youth, and goods like fabric for their tailoring training programmes.


‘Orphans’ aren’t always those who’ve lost both parents. Many children in children’s homes or in-home care in our partners’ communities, like Doris (right) and Juma (left) have people to care for them, but their relatives are themselves so impoverished that they need extra support from our partners for basics like food, clothing and school fees. Goods from this shipment will support some of those needs.


BUILDING ON PAST INVESTMENTS

Crossroads shipped to these partners some years ago, sending educational goods, clothing and furniture. Staff wrote of the impact that the shipment made. School books helped raise the grades of primary and secondary students (above), while preschool children now have comfortable furniture to use while learning. Children in their network of children’s centres were grateful for clothing and shoes to help relieve the burden of affording these basic essentials themselves.

The needs are growing, though. Our partners are expanding their services and building new buildings that are waiting to be filled with furniture and equipment. Not only are they opening new children’s homes, but they are seeking to give in-home support and care to more children who do have relatives to live with, but who are financially strained. Goods from this shipment will support education and training for these and other vulnerable children.


The harbour at Dar Es Salaam, home to a busy trade port, is helping a rapidly growing economy, but those in rural areas, particularly orphans and vulnerable children like Felicia (below), and people living with diseases or disabilities, can be left behind.


WANT TO BE PART OF THESE LIFE CHANGING STORIES?

Sponsor a container: We need HK$ 50,000 to send any of our waiting shipments on their way. Email us for a list of projects needing funds: partnerships@crossroads.org.hk

Give goods: We can help your company or group find projects that need your quality superseded goods. Email partnerships@crossroads.org.hk

Volunteer: We need regular volunteers in a huge variety of roles across the work, from manual labor to administration and specific skilled roles. Email volunteer@crossroads.org.hk

Reference No : S1864C
Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Ethiopia Snapshot

Population: 57.3 million.
Capital: Dodoma
Largest City: Dar es Salaam
Main languages: Swahili (official) and English, and more than 100 local languages.

“Tanzania is in transition,” says a recent UN report. “East Africa’s second biggest economy is growing rapidly. Its population could approximately double to 100 million by 2050 with an unprecedented shift of people from the countryside to the city. With its population set to grow by one million a year, demand for housing, water, sanitation and healthcare is climbing steadily.” About 80% of the population still relies on agriculture to survive, and one in four people are living below the poverty line.

Source: UNDP

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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

At the end of last century, Ethiopia faced a catastrophic famine that caught the world’s attention and caused the death of millions. Today, despite relative stability and a fast-growing economy, nearly a quarter of the nation is still living in poverty. The 2016 Horn of Africa drought and floods showed that the rural population is still highly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters.

We are shipping to a college in Ethiopia with a special focus on leadership training, aiming to be part of the positive growth and development of the nation. Their heartfelt goal is to produce graduates ‘passionately committed to transforming their society.’

When Crossroads first shipped to these partners in 2006, their college was occupying rented quarters, waiting for help to move into a permanent site in 2007. Our goods helped furnish their new facility, helping educate hundreds of students. “That shipment enabled us to set up a computer lab, and to furnish several classrooms with hundreds of chairs and classroom desks. The shipment allowed us to equip the men’s dormitory with chairs and the whole operations of the college used materials to facilitate learning.”

Now, once again, they’re expanding and they have asked for our help. This time, they’ve built a women’s dormitory large enough to accommodate 258 students, as well as a new kitchen and dining facility, but they’re waiting for furniture and equipment to bring these spaces to life and make them fully functioning.


SUSTAINABILITY INNOVATIONS

Operating in one of Africa’s poorest nations has meant our partners have to seek creative solutions for their college to stay sustainable, like this poultry project, as well as raising their own cattle and farming crops.

Goods from this shipment will help administer projects that continue to help their sustainability.


EDUCATED FOR PEACEMAKING

When fighting erupted in Amanuel’s village between different tribes, Amanuel was well trained to help broker peace. He had graduated from our partners’ college in Ethiopia, taking courses in conflict management and resolution as part of his education. Now an elementary school teacher, Amanuel’s training in conflict resolution helped him take leadership in the efforts to solve the village’s in-fighting. He began organising seminars, gathering tribal leaders together to inspire cooperation and peace. His approach was successful, and the community was able to exist in harmony once more, thanks in part to the education Amanuel had accessed through his college. Amanuel is a wonderful example of our partners’ goal of producing graduates ‘passionately committed to transforming their society’.

Goods from this shipment will help our partners accommodate hundreds more Ethiopian students like Amanuel, who can grow in their leadership skills and help build a more peaceful society.


The bustling capital of Addis Ababa presents a stark contrast to rural communities, where life moves at a slower pace and poverty is widespread. As Ethiopia develops rapidly, our partners believe that educating students to be leaders with a passion for investing back into their communities is a vital part of that development.


WANT TO BE PART OF THESE LIFE CHANGING STORIES?

Sponsor a container: We need HK$ 50,000 to send any of our waiting shipments on their way. Email us for a list of projects needing funds: partnerships@crossroads.org.hk

Give goods: We can help your company or group find projects that need your quality superseded goods. Email partnerships@crossroads.org.hk

Volunteer: We need regular volunteers in a huge variety of roles across the work, from manual labor to administration and specific skilled roles. Email volunteer@crossroads.org.hk

Reference No : S1191A
Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Ethiopia Snapshot

Population: 105 million (2017)
Capital: Addis Ababa
Official languages:  Amharic (official), English and many regional languages

Located in north-eastern Africa, Ethiopia is the most populous land-locked country in the world. The country’s population is highly diverse, containing over 80 different ethnic groups, with a rich and important cultural history. Ethiopia also enjoys great natural diversity, with rivers, forests, caves, highlands and desert areas.

Despite a fast-growing economy, Ethiopia is still one of the poorest nations in Africa. A devastating famine and its effects gripped the nation through the 1980s and 1990s. The population is vulnerable to natural disasters, such as flooding which left more than a million displaced in 2016-17. Around 23.5% of the population lives in poverty, with people in rural areas vastly more vulnerable to poverty.

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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

“Teenage pregnancy is high in this area,” write Crossroads’ partners, about their small region in southern Uganda. “Many teenagers who become pregnant are ostracised and drop out of school. It’s very unlikely that they’ll ever return to school.” Most families in this region work hard as farmers, growing crops like bananas, maize and beans, but life can be difficult, and most families are very poor. For teenagers who are kicked out of home when they fall pregnant, the future is desperate and uncertain. They rarely have the skills and education to find a job that can sustain them and their children.

Our partners on this shipment target young, ostracised mothers and other vulnerable women, and offer counselling, child care, and vocational training in skills like tailoring, knitting, hospitality, laundering, gardening and animal husbandry. Starting just two years ago, they have already taken 50 young women through their programmes, and seen success stories like Jacent and Sylivia (featured below and to the right), but they are eager to expand their services to reach and train more women. They are now building a larger facility in an area closer to where many of the women live, and they have asked Crossroads for help filling it with furniture and equipment to run these valuable projects. Our shipment will include goods like furniture, clothing, recreational goods, health supplies and more.


SYLIVIA’S STORY

“Dropping out of school in grade nine as a result of teenage pregnancy did not stop Sylivia from looking at life positively,” wrote our partners. Sylivia was eager to improve her life, both for herself and her new baby. She enrolled in our partners’ tailoring classes, using their childcare for her baby, and made so much income from her handmade clothing that she bought two sewing machines, and now trains other young women like her.

This shipment will include goods to help train women like Sylivia.


The future can seem bleak for teenage mothers like Jane (above, with her children) without the support, practical skills training and care that our partners can offer. They know it’s hard for young mothers to attend classes with their children, so they offer childcare with nutritious food for the children while their mothers learn.

Construction is underway on our partners’ new, larger centre, but they need help fitting it out with furniture and other goods to help them serve more women in need.


JACENT’S STORY

Jacent was abandoned by her boyfriend, and father of her young children, leaving her with no source of income at all. Like many teenage mothers in her region, Jacent had to drop out of school when she became pregnant, so she couldn’t finish her education or go on to any further skills training. Thankfully, Jacent was brought into our partners’ vocational training programmes. 70% of the women in their skills training are teenage mothers, ostracised by their families and desperately poor. With our partners’ help, Jacent  took classes in knitting and dressmaking (pictured above with one of her creations!) and she now feels like she and her children have a secure future. “I can now take care of my children,” she says. “I can buy them food, I can pay rent, and more.”

This shipment will include goods to equip the training centre that helped Jacent and many other young, vulnerable women.


WANT TO BE A PART OF THESE LIFE CHANGING STORIES?

Sponsor a container: We need HK$ 50,000 to send any of our waiting shipments on their way. Email us for a list of projects needing funds: partnerships@crossroads.org.hk

Give goods: We can help your company or group find projects that need your quality superseded goods. Email partnerships@crossroads.org.hk

Volunteer: We need regular volunteers in a huge variety of roles across the work, from manual labor to administration and specific skilled roles. Email volunteer@crossroads.org.hk

Reference No : S4963

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Donate Now!

Donate to a shipment like this one.

DONATE MONEY

Donate Goods!

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Uganda Snapshot

Population: 42.8 million (2017)
Capital: Kampala
Official languages: English, Swahili

Significant investments in children and women in recent years have led to developmental successes in Uganda, notably in primary education and in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

However, more than half of children in Uganda aged 0-4 are still living in poverty, and 33% have stunted growth. “Children whose growth is stunted at a young age may suffer a lifetime of consequences such as poorer schooling and lower earnings,” say UNICEF.

Thankfully, child mortality rates, and access to clean water in Uganda are steadily improving, thanks to health interventions.

Source: UNICEF

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The offer was huge: 7,000 brand new toys, including dinosaurs and remote controlled dolls, all battery operated, from a well-known multinational toy company. It was a larger donation than we could immediately handle at our own warehouse, but we knew there might be Hong Kong NGOs in our Global Hand network who would jump at the offer. We started asking our local partners if they could use the toys for children in their programmes, and several put up their hands, including a project that runs school for sick children in hospital, mobile toy library for underprivileged areas, and a group working with children with special needs.

One little boy with special needs was particularly overjoyed with his new dinosaur. He told staff that he had been wanting a dinosaur toy for a long time, even asking for it last Christmas. “My wish has come true!” he shouted joyfully, clutching the toy for dear life.

The ripple effects of these toys are being felt beyond their young recipients. One of the NGOs who received toys runs an evening meal box programme for elderly in poverty, and some of the toys were given out to elderly for their families. Yuk Ching, who attends the programme, is an elderly grandma living on a shoestring budget. She spoke with tears in her eyes of what the gift meant to her and her family: “As a grandmother, I never give any gifts to my grandchildren,” she said. “I don’t know where the toy shops are, and I can’t afford it. This is the first time I’ve been able to give gifts to my grandson and granddaughter!”

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The people in Marie’s* region knew the soldiers would come – it was only a matter of time. They had heard stories of nearby villages burned to the ground in their part of Cameroon, but when the soldiers finally reached their own town, the pain was unspeakable. The attackers killed both of Marie’s parents, and she – a young teenager – fled in terror to the bush. There, Marie had no shelter from rain or sun, no medical care, little by way of food to be found. They lived alongside others who had escaped with their lives but, sadly, it wasn’t the safe haven she needed. She was raped and assaulted repeatedly, leading to the birth of two young children. As a new mother, she desperately wanted a home, with food and security for her little ones, but fear of life in her own village made return impossible. Marie made her way out of the bush with her baby and her toddler, to seek help. Her search brought her to the doorstep of a children’s home, run by our partners in Cameroon. Upon arrival, the small, traumatised family (pictured above right) hadn’t eaten for many days, and they had no clothes at all. It took days, they said, before Marie could manage to eat again, but, with their care and expertise, the home managed to give the relative safety she and her little ones so desperately needed.

The current conflict in Cameroon has hardly made it on the current world news radar, as is true of so many tragedies in our scarred world today. It’s been made very real to us here, though, because we are hearing from a stream of partners there with a cry for help. In the past, they’ve needed help with poverty alleviation and rural need, something we did often. Now, though, they write about war: displaced people, the need for clothing for people hiding in the bush, and the pressure of conflict seeing the NGOs we partner with having to pack their belongings to escape to safer towns, as illustrated in the picture above, sent by Marie’s group. “Many of our people are dying here,” they told us. Other photos they included with their application were some of the most graphic and tragic that we’ve received.

In 2007, we first shipped to this particular group with goods that helped set up a vocational training centre, seeing hundreds of youth trained in employable skills. This summer, with the help of volunteers from a financial consulting company, we loaded a shipment of goods (pictured below) for this group that will help not just projects for longer-term survival, but also the likes of ‘Marie’s who are desperate for immediate care: families whose homes have been burned, and displaced people living in the bush.

*Not her real name

 

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Most kids in Moldova’s orphanages are not orphans, technically. Their parents, struggling with some of the lowest incomes in Europe, simply leave Moldova behind and work in other countries. It is largely their children who populate the orphanages. Global Hand NGO partner, Help the Children, finds foster families for children who have been in institutions and, to support their work, runs a thrift shop, where they also train ‘orphanage graduates’ to become self-sustaining.

They received a magnificent corporate donation of 6,975 items of clothing, based in China, for distribution throughout their areas, and adjoining ones, where clothing can be sparse. As well, they received coffee shop furniture from a UK donor which renovated the canteen for their trainee staff (see main photo below).

From places far and wide, we love to see Global Hand facilitate movement of strategic goods.

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“But what can I do at school to help others care?” We’re often asked this by students who undertake our x-periences, come out with deepened empathy and want to to see it translated into action at their schools.  It’s a conversation we love to have. Meena, in Beijing, is one who called, this year and spoke with our Global X-perience director on this very point.  She came up with a remarkable idea. She would hold an ‘Empathy Film Festival’ at school.

It was difficult at  first, though, and Meena quickly discovered that the path to world change isn’t always easy.

“There were so many times I thought my idea was dead — that maybe I should just give up,” she told us. “But the inspiration and the ideas we shared were too good to just let go. Slowly I was able to find other students and teachers who believed it was a good idea too.”

The end result of her perseverance? A communal 24 hour fast, to build empathy for the hungry, followed by an outdoor film festival showing films dealing with issues of world need, and US$2,000 raised to help the poor. We’re so proud of Meena for fanning the spark of an idea into flame, and passing that flame of compassion on to others!

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