SHIPMENT FEEDBACK

When Crossroads shipped to a long-term partner in Antipolo, we knew the goods would be valuable in their work with families from the slums. What none of us knew, though, was how timely the shipment would be for their disaster and poverty relief efforts. Within weeks of the shipment arriving, the Taal volcano erupted, forcing more than 70,000 people within a 14km radius to evacuate.

Our partners leapt into action, making several trips to the evacuation centres with goods from Crossroads’ container. “With a tragedy of this size, our resources to help the community would have been drained quickly,” they wrote. “But we are grateful that the shipment form Crossroads was there. We have already done our fourth relief outreach and have provided food, shelter, clothing, blankets and medical supplies, children’s toys and other things from the shipment.”

“We are grateful that the shipment from Crossroads was there. It made a lot of displaced families happy.” NGO staff

“We were able to help three community councils with school furniture and office equipment.  Two of them can now restart operation of their offices after their offices were damaged by the volcano eruption.  These communities have an average constituency of more than 5,000 residents each,” they said.

“Showing victims that there are still people who have not forgotten about the calamity helps boost their morale despite their dire situation,” they reflected. They estimate that around 1,000 people in evacuation camps directly benefited through goods from the shipment.

Alongside the disaster relief projects, their schools for urban poor children were impacted by goods from Crossroads. Growing up in the slums of Antipolo means crowded living quarters, with families squeezed into one-room homes where all home activities take place. Diseases spread quickly, and family tensions are hard to escape. For children from these families, a high-quality education can be the key to breaking the poverty cycle.

We have shipped goods for their network of schools and youth clubs in past years, and this new investment of goods has now upgraded and improved the level of education they can offer. Seven different facilities, from day care to youth clubs, received desktop computers, school equipment, educational toys and other goods. “674 students are now benefitting from better equipped classrooms,” they said.

(Above) Helping Taal volcano evacuees: More than 70,000 people were displaced when Taal volcano erupted. Living in temporary evacuation centres they were in desperate need of essential goods and items for children. For local councils, our partners distributed office furniture, fridges, computers and wheelchairs, replacing goods lost through damage after the eruption. For children and families in the evacuation camps, toys and educational supplies (pictured below) added to the food, shelter and medical supplies that our partners were distributing, showing the evacuees they were not forgotten.

For children in urban slums (below), a quality education like that offered in our partners’ schools, can be the key to escaping a life of desperate poverty. See next page for initial feedback photos of goods from Crossroads arriving to help equip schools.

(Above) Crossroads’ team loads the container at Crossroads Village in December 2019.

(Above) Staff and volunteers unpack the goods at their community centre in the Philippines.

 

Reference No. : S2316B


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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

Sierra Leone has faced multiple tragedies in recent decades, and our partners on this shipment have been walking with those suffering, every step of the way. During the 11 years of war in Sierra Leone, they helped more than 600 displaced people with medical care, food, clothes and counselling. When entire villages were burnt, they helped rebuild homes. When Ebola devastated the nation in 2014, killing thousands, our partners supported impoverished families with food packs and nutritional care to help people stay as healthy as possible. Then, in 2017 when mudslides caused the deaths of 1,000 people and displaced 3,000, they were there yet again, with relief goods and educational support for children who had been evacuated (see story below).

As well as responding to disasters, these partners know that through education, training and job creation, communities become stronger and more resilient to future disasters. “People can’t afford their basic needs, like clothes or shoes. They eat whatever they raise for the day, with nothing in reserve,” they wrote. Their projects aim to move vulnerable communities from this subsistence lifestyle to a more sustainable one. They have four primary schools, a secondary school and a job skills training centre, as well as a computer school for underprivileged youth and a health clinic. They have asked for goods to equip all their projects, including computers, furniture, clothing and educational supplies and equipment.


Aminata’s story

Nearly 4,000 people died in Sierra Leone during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, leaving broken and traumatised families behind. Aminata’s was one of them. When both Aminata’s parents died of Ebola, it left her the head of her small household. Suddenly, she and her three siblings had nobody to care for them. They became homeless and dropped out of school, not knowing what the future might hold.

Our partners met Aminata and came alongside her. She wanted to get a job so that her brother and two sisters, at least, could return to school and finish their education. Staff helped Aminata start a small restaurant business where, over time, she has been so successful that she is not just supporting her own siblings, but is able to help other young girls who were once vulnerable like herself.

Aminata’s is just one of many stories  showing how these partners consistently look for the needs of individuals and groups in their community, and find solutions that lead to more sustainable futures.

We are pleased to be shipping goods to help in the administration of their outreach programmes intervening in the lives of more families like Aminata’s.


A new school for flood evacuees
In 2017, Sierra Leone made headlines when severe mudslides and flooding killed over 1,000 people and left 3,000 homeless. Our partners leapt into action, offering food and other immediate aid to people who had lost everything.

Then, as villagers began to move into new homes provided by the government, they saw that there was no school for children of evacuated families. They rallied support through their network, and successfully built a new school, now home to 250 students.

Goods from this shipment will help our partners respond quickly when disasters hit, with both immediate relief and longer term support.


Flooding, landslides, disease and conflict have all taken their toll on Sierra Leonean communities. Our partners are well-placed to give immediate help in times of disaster, but also run schools and training projects that are helping  equip children and young people to find more stable employment and build stronger communities.


Reference No : S5199

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Sierra Leone snapshot

Population: 7.6 million
Capital: Freetown
Main languages: English (official), Mende, Temne, Krio

Sierra Leone is situated on the Atlantic coast in West Africa. It has a diverse environment ranging from savannah to rainforests. The country is rich in resources but economically impoverished, with 60% living below the national poverty line. The country was devastated by a civil war which destroyed much of the infrastructure and, more recently, struck by the Ebola outbreak causing another humanitarian crisis. 70% of youth are unemployed or underemployed.
Source: UNDP

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When Typhoon Sendong hit the Philippines in December 2011, Merlinda and her husband knew they were looking death in the face. If they stayed in their village, Dumaguete, they and their two daughters would have little chance.

“The water was this high,” recalls Merlinda, holding her hand above her neckline. “We had to carry the kids till we got on a boat.”

They were more fortunate than many. The catastrophic flooding caused by Typhoon Sendong killed at least 1,268 people in the Philippines.

After the water receded, Merlinda and her family were doubly fortunate in finding their hut still standing. They did, however, lose all their clothes, bedding and household utensils – items our warehouse holds in abundance.

 Community Business Day of Action 2011

What this family, along with many of their devastated compatriots, most needed were emergency supplies for basic living. Within weeks, our volunteers sent a 40’ shipping container on its way to the Philippines, loaded with 1,430 blankets, more than 800 hygiene kits, and hundreds of toothbrushes, carry bags, water bottles, kitchen utensil kits and drinking cups.

Rebuilding the village could take months. Rebuilding lives will take even longer. We were delighted, though, to take the beginning of this journey with them and we now regularly ship to the Philippines to partner with its courageous people.


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Philippines Snapshot

Population: 98,39 million
Capital: Manila

Population living below international poverty line of US$1.25 per day: 26.5%

Government statistics indicate that 1.57% of people in the Philippines are living with a disability.  97% of people living with disabilities are not being reached by the public school system.A51

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As the days wear on in the tragic aftermath of the Sichuan quake, the suffering deepens. 5 million survivors, now homeless, endure the daily battle with rain, exposure to the hostile elements and the threat of disease.

“In the days immediately following the quake,” said our Crossroads worker in the field, “people settled in the open spaces. The problem has now become that there is little option for shelter in these areas. Groups of 20 people have been huddling in shelters made for 7.”

Through the generosity of DHL, Crossroads was able to send 15 tonnes of plastic sheeting, blankets and medical supplies into the quake zone. Red Cross and Crossroads volunteers met the emergency flight in Chengdu and escorted the relief items on a 12 hour journey along partially collapsed roads. The final destination was a village in Qingchuan County, in an area that had been cordoned off due to the spread of disease.

 5

“Into this situation, the gift of shelter is unimaginable,” the Crossroads worker commented. “As we delivered the aid, words of thanks kept coming from everyone, from the gas station attendants who were filling the tanks, to the ladies serving the food, the officials, and finally the people most deeply affected. On every side they were saying, ‘Thank you for what you are doing to help our people and China.’

We are deeply grateful to DHL for the strategic provision of its core competencies in this catastrophic situation.

This was the second round of aid that we have prepared for the earthquake zone. Working from pre-positioned materials and in cooperation with KPMG we have also sent two containers of relief supplies.

Within China, Crossroads is partnering with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation: a registered China charitable organisation with distribution facilities in Sichuan, and head office in Beijing.

Help continues to be needed as we are committed to assisting not only in this current emergency situation but for the lengthy process of rebuilding.

“The people are relieved for a moment when you bring them the goods,” said the Crossroads worker, “but when we ask them about the future, their eyes well in despair. Whole towns have gone. Fields for crops and livelihoods wiped out. We must be committed to helping these people in the long term.”

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE GOODS, Crossroads has been advised that, at this time, the urgent needs are for the following items. Important: It is China’s policy that all donated items must be new. They are currently requesting:

• Blankets
• Bulk clothing, babies’and toddlers’ in particular
• Tents
• Sleeping bags

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE CASH, click here for our form and mark your donation, “China Earthquake”. We will use your donation to cover the costs of sending this relief to those affected.

You are welcome to contact us for further enquiries.

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Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Give Now!

Donate to a shipment like this one.

DONATE MONEY

Donate Goods!

Want to donate goods for a shipment like this one?

DONATE GOODS

HELPING LIGHT THE DARKNESS

The BBC calls if ‘the worst refugee camp on earth’. A camp on the far-flung island of Lesvos, Greece, seen by...

read more ...

7,000 brand new toys for Christmas

The quantity was astonishing: 7,000 brand new toys, donated through our Global Hand service by a leading toy manufacturer. NGOs across...

read more ...

Excelsior Hotel close equips HK social enterprise

It was the end of an era when Hong Kong’s beloved Excelsior shut down in early 2019. As their doors closed,...

read more ...

Helping equip Ukrainian maternity facility

"Finally, the repair of our maternity hospital is finished," wrote our colleagues in the Ukraine. "Your beds are in refurbished rooms...

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