We love to care for people in need within Hong Kong. Our buildings are not young, though, and, much as we want our clients to feel a sense of dignity, when visiting here, our aged bricks and mortar don’t always convey that message. Our former distribution centre for Hong Kong people was proving too ancient and, as well, too small, for this busy part of our work. So, this year, we took the plunge on a major project to renovate an old, but larger, space specifically for our Hong Kong clients. It took months of work, but, in Spring 2018, our new location was ready.

We drew on the beauty of local art for its decoration. We created a space where local clients can more freely browse a selection of goods. We made a large padded play area for their young children. We built changing rooms where all could try on clothes. We installed stylish, matching shelving we were donated for display of goods on offer. Our hope is that this feels like a visit to a pleasant shop, with just one difference: clients don’t need to pay any money!


WHO DO WE HELP IN HONG KONG?

We supply goods to:

  • individuals and families recommended by the Social Welfare Department.
  • Individuals recommended to us by Hong Kong NGOs.
  • other charities which may use them for their own operations or distribute to their beneficiaries.

WHEN ARE WE OPEN?

10.30-5.30 each working day. We ask our clients to make a booking in advance, though.


WHAT KINDS OF NEED DO WE HELP IN HONG KONG?

Adoption services, AIDS support, animal welfare, asylum seeker/refugee programmes, care of prisoners and ex-prisoners, community/cultural groups, community centres, community development programmes, computer training centres, drug rehabilitation services, educational institutions, elderly care, English training centres, environmental care, fair trade initiatives, family services, halfway houses, leadership training programmes, medical clinics & hospitals, microbusiness initiatives, orphanages, rehabilitation and therapy centres, rehabilitation services following abuse, service organisations, shelters for the vulnerable and people at risk, sports programmes for the disadvantaged, suicide prevention services, support for domestic workers, support for new arrivals, support for sufferers of autism, epilepsy, physical handicaps, etc, support for the disabled, support for women, typhoon recovery, vocational training programmes and youth services.


HOW DOES IT WORK?

People make an appointment through a Social Welfare branch or through a registered NGO. Through them, the client indicates what he/she needs and we see how much of their list we can meet from our donated stock.

 

We love to help any and all we can.

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In our line of work, envy can take strange forms. It’s not that we aspire to plush offices or elegant homes, but we can become quite envious when we see commercial warehouse equipment which lightens the load of our volunteers. Until recently, they loaded tons of cargo into containers using sheer determination and massive perspiration. Swire, however, has helped.

One of its companies, HAECO, specialises in aircraft repair and maintenance services at Hong Kong’s International Airport. Some of their work processes are not unlike our own so, when we considered fundraising to buy more supportive equipment, we consulted HAECO for their recommendation. As it happened, the man we spoke to had been to Crossroads and undertaken our poverty x-periential programme. “Take what you like!” he told our team, as he showed them a collection of equipment the airport no longer needed.

And the story got better. Some adjustments were needed for our use and these might have proved expensive. One of our volunteers, however, is a professional with the needed expertise and devoted his spare time over several weeks to fit it precisely to purpose.

As we say, it’s a strange kind of envy we harbour here. Sometimes the business community helps us with a straight up financial gift, and that is always welcome. Sometimes, they help with the provision of the needed expertise or equipment, and that can also be transforming. We are constantly looking for commercial partnerships, large and small, that can build capacity and empower us further on behalf of the powerless.small, that can build capacity and empower us further on behalf of the powerless.

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It was the middle of the night when Muhammad heard the terrifying sound of rebels at the door. “They said, ‘Join us or die’,” he remembers.

Syrian_refugee

The scars still fresh on Muhammad’s shoulder bear witness to the savage beating that came next. The rebels destroyed his home and Muhammad (right) knew there was nothing but fear and death left if his family stayed in their homeland.

Muhammad, his pregnant wife and his three young children joined the ranks of Syria’s 2.5 million displaced people. They escaped in the night across the border to Lebanon.

“Two children froze to death today.” – Crossroads’ partner, Lebanon, on the harsh winter faced by Syrian refugees.

The family found their way to one of Lebanon’s informal tented settlements, where Crossroads’ David Begbie met him and heard his story. “A lot of these people came with some money,” David said, “but they’ve been living off their savings and most of their money is now gone.”

Most bring skills and ingenuity with them across the border, but aren’t permitted to take formal jobs in the community.  Muhammad himself, desperate to find something to bring in a little income, now collects plastic from around the muddy streets in his makeshift cart (below) to sell, but the family has no idea how long they’ll be living in this bare, cold, temporary home.

Syrian_worker

It’s hard to remember, looking at images of these ‘tent cities’ stretching as far as the eye can see, that each tent houses a family with its own specific and individual stories of terror, distress and loss like Muhammad’s.

When Harrow International School Hong Kong asked Crossroads how they could help Syrian refugees, we seized the chance to partner. Harrow gave a generous donation of funding and when we looked to our different partners in the region, we found one who was planning a campaign to give warm winter clothes and toys to 5,000 children in the freezing refugee camps but were looking for funding!

Syria_Harrow_Students

Harrow students rallied for the cause, sending messages of support to Syrian refugee families.

Fast forward to the end of December, and distribution of ‘winterization’ packs (below) to precious refugee children had begun.

distrubution_syria

“I wish you could have been there to see the distribution!” said one of our contacts. “It was like drawing a smile on the children’s faces.”

Younger children received not just warm clothes but a soft plush toy in the distribution. For some of them it’s the only toy they now own.

“We want them to know they’re not forgotten,” said our partners.

Click here to see Crossroads’ photo essay from the camps, with more stories from families and the people helping them.

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