Lei Mei was 25 when she suddenly lost her hearing. It was a devastating blow. She knew that being deaf would mean the loss of her job as a salesperson.

Her future looked bleak. She did, indeed, lose her job and learned that the only way she could hear again would be a cochlear implant, costing her US$30,000. She had been earning approx. US$200 per month and paying all her costs out of that. This purchase, then, was impossible. She tried selling goods on the street at night but, with her hearing challenge, this was harder for her than others in the noisy marketplace and she struggled. With just two years’ schooling, she had nothing else to fall back on.

In time, she was introduced to ‘Hearts and Hands’, an organisation which had, amazingly, been set up in her area to employ people with hearing difficulties. They taught her how to make handicrafts and, today, she has done so well she is in charge of the stock and fabric rooms. When our Global Handicrafts team visited, they told us, “She said that normally, in her local community, deaf people are treated as second rate and very often cheated. Here, though, she is genuinely respected and valued and nobody cheats anyone. It is truly run on a Fair Trade basis. She loves this work.”

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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The deaf population of China numbers around 72 million.  Since the majority of deaf young people are unable to find adequate employment, many turn to gangs, theft, and drugs. In an effort to curb this growing trend, Hearts & Hands offers employment to deaf people in the handicrafts business. All the workers are disabled or deaf, and they are each able to learn useful skills while working in a friendly, encouraging environment. Thank you for offering your support to these people and giving them the hope they need!

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Browse Global Handicrafts’ full online range here or visit our shop at Crossroads Village to walk through our colourful global marketplace, with even more handmade delights from around the world, all of which care for the people who made them.

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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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Cui Li grew up in a world of silence. Born deaf, Cui Li lived with her family in an impoverished region of China where nobody was able to teach her sign language and her parents had no money to send her to school.

China_sewing_lady-DEAFIt was a lonely, friendless existence until, at age 13, Cui Li discovered a group of people who were deaf like her. One new friend taught Cui Li sign language and how to read and write. It was an opportunity that suddenly opened the world to the teenager. She could now communicate, her relationships with her family improved and she began to meet more and more deaf people, including one young man who then became her husband!

“The deaf population of China numbers around 72 million,” says Hearts and Hands.  “Since the majority of deaf young people are unable to find adequate employment, many turn to gangs, theft, and drugs.”

We’re privileged to work with groups like Hearts and Hands across the world giving new hope to people with so many different needs. When you purchase a Hearts and Hands product through Crossroads’ Global Handicrafts store, you’re supporting people like Cui Li and her husband to build a life for themselves with dignity and honour.

(Cui Li’s story and images courtesy of Hearts and Hands China.)

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Want to shop for more fair trade handicrafts?

Browse Global Handicrafts’ full online range here or visit our shop at Crossroads Village to walk through our colourful global marketplace, with even more handmade delights from around the world, all of which care for the people who made them.

SHOP

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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