Lush, the handmade soap company, always furnishes its shops in ways that are a feast for the eyes. So imagine our delight when, just when we needed to furnish our new Hong Kong Distribution Centre, they happened to be refurbishing and offered us their exquisite, superseded items.

It was amazing. Our goal had been to create a space which Hong Kong people would find not only helpful but even beautiful: a place that felt rather like a nice boutique, although, of course, they would pay us no money when ‘shopping’ in it. This shelving was perfect, except for one factor. Our space was quite large and there wasn’t quite enough shelving to fill it. It seemed a pity. We had stored this furniture for three months, knowing how helpful it would be in this project, but we definitely didn’t have enough. Our team met on it and suggested other shelving to supplement, but it was not a great match. The following day, to our astonishment, an email came in. “Lush is renovating another store and is offering more shelving. Might Crossroads be interested?”  We jumped onto email with an astonished yes. The timing, the quality, the need met: everything about this was a perfect match. Now this space is open, serving Hong Kong people in need with, we hope, the sense that they are being cared for with dignity and respect (see image below).

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Each year Hong Kong generates around 70,000 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). That’s the weight of nearly 6,000 double decker buses in televisions, washing machines, air conditioners and computers, trashed annually!

 

One of Crossroads’ values is ‘Stewardship: Eager for right care of product and planet’.We were thankful to begin partnering in 2017 with recycling company ALBA IWS. This group takes electrical and electronic goods from across Hong Kong, repairs what can be repaired and strips down to parts those that can’t.

 

In 2016-17, ALBA took 2,785 pieces of electrical and electronic equipment from Crossroads to give them new life.

Since early 2017, we’ve been sending ALBA appliances and computers that are too broken or old to repair, and in return, they regularly supply Crossroads with high quality, often new appliances, from their own supplies. We’ve been able to redistribute these goods to people in need in

Hong Kong and around the world, making our partnership with ALBA a serious win-win!

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Care and Capacity Building for Women, elderly and Children

Women in Cameroon from impoverished families often live in precarious situations. If they lose their husbands, they may be driven from the family home, and left to care for children with no income. If they weren’t taught skills or learnt to read and write, they can be forced into poorly paid work in vulnerable conditions, and even prostitution. Crossroads is sending a shipment to a project which has a number of programmes reaching out to vulnerable women and children. They offer care and support to widows, orphans, elderly people and children in difficult family situations. They have a micro-finance project, a library for youth and social and financial support for HIV-positive pregnant women and children.

Potential impact:Cameroon_S2893_2

  • Clothing & household equipment for hundreds of widows and orphans
  • Equipment for youth programme for 1000 young people
  • Equipment for vocational training programmes for 500 families.

 
Cameroon_S2893_1

Shipment includes:

  • Books, stationery and basic school supplies
  • Toys and sports equipment
  • Computers for vocational training and administration
  • Clothing and household goods for vulnerable families.

 

 


Cameroon_S2893_4

 

Mama Elizabeth lost her husband in 2002, and was left with 8 children to raise and no job. Our partner organisation, gave her training – not only to make baskets, but also to establish a micro-enterprise to market and sell them. She has her dignity, and her children are fed and can attend school.

 

Our shipment will provide materials to help in vocational training to help more people like Mama Elizabeth.

 

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Cameroon Snapshot

Population: 22.25 million

Capital: Yaoundé

Cameroon is in the west Central Africa region, with natural features including beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas.

Although the country as a whole has improved standards of literacy and healthcare, there is still a long way to go. Less than half of children go on to secondary education, and over 40% are involved in some kind of child labour. In rural areas, less than half the population has access to clean water and sanitation.

Cameroon_S2893_5

80 year old Xiang and his wife woke, in the black of night, as rushing water poured into their village home, bringing down one of its aged walls. Heavy rains had seen a nearby river burst its banks and the elderly couple, in shock, only just escaped before its angry waters saw their house collapse. In minutes, they lost the possessions of decades.

Photo courtesy of CFPA.

Photo courtesy of CFPA.

Flooding is a tragic part of life in many parts of rural China and the poor, inevitably, are the hardest hit. Their smaller, less stable homes have less resilience to the ravaging flood waters, and they have little access to communication technology that could warn them of impending danger or equip them to seek help.

This year, once again, torrential rainfall is likely to cause widespread flooding in rural areas of China. And, once again, those already poor will pay the highest cost in the loss of homes, livelihoods, family members and their meagre possessions.

For some time now, Crossroads has been partnering with other organisations not only in disaster response, but also disaster preparation. The Hong Kong community has provided superb support as schools and community groups have helped us prepare consignments, providing, in particular, hygiene and other survival kits, together with much needed bedding and clothing.

Nature strikes with heartbreaking frequency in these areas, but, with emergency supplies in place beforehand, we have a greater chance of mitigating its tragic impact.

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China Snapshot

Population: 1.35 billion

Capital: Beijing

Population below international poverty line of US$1.25 per day: 11%, or 157 million people

China is experiencing rapid economic growth, but the benefits have not reached millions of people in rural areas. People who are already poor are the most vulnerable to death, injury and loss of livelihood when floods and earthquakes hit.

Natural disasters in China affect more than 200 million people every year.

China_S1359U_6

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“They called it ‘Black September’. Two months afterwards, you could still smell the acrid smoke in the air.” The aid worker falls silent, recalling the charred remains of East Timor’s capital, Dili, in 1999. “I saw people in the streets just wandering… wandering, like they didn’t know what to do with themselves.”

September 1999 is burnt into the memory of East Timorese people, when the horrors of the war came to a savage conclusion. As peace-keepers and aid workers later sifted through the wreckage in Dili, they found the bodies of whole families strewn with their possessions around the remains of their burnt homes.

Those aid workers had to face heartbreaking issues. How do you heal the memories of a six-year-old boy who has witnessed the slaughter of his mother and baby brother? How do you help a teenage girl who battles devastating shame and confusion after being raped by a soldier? While the country battles to rebuild its infrastructure, the people of East Timor struggle to overcome deep psychological wounds: the legacy of 24 violent years.

In July, 2003, Crossroads sent a shipment to a group in East Timor, working to help children deal with their horrific experiences. The group, a non-profit organisation, could not afford many of the resources it needed to do this work. We were able to send clothes, shoes and household items for families struggling to rebuild their homes, as well as toys and other items that will be used in the children’s counselling centre. An entire playground set was one of the larger items in the container, which the community helped to build in the grounds of the local school.

An aid worker from this group wrote to thank us for the goods, saying, “Words are not enough to describe the joy we felt upon receiving this container. We’ve been waiting for such materials for a long time.” The playground set was particularly well-received by the children, who have been deprived for so long of a normal, happy childhood. “The children in our school are very eager and excited upon receiving the materials,” he wrote. “They are specially overjoyed with the very nice playground. This playground is so important for the development of the kids, but when it arrived, it was not only the kids who enjoyed it, even the parents and adults are making fuss out of it!”

Our joy is, likewise, great, as we hear such news of lives in East Timor being changed through donated goods from Hong Kong.

Give Now!

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