When Covid-19 started to spread in Hong Kong, health and hygiene products flew off the shelves. It became impossible to buy the things that everyone needed most to stay safe. For those at the grassroots, particularly vulnerable elderly, it was extremely difficult to find these high-demand goods.

We were so grateful to have supplies in our warehouse of donated soap, hand-wash and healthy fruit juices. When NGO Manna asked Crossroads for help with these very goods to assemble packs for the elderly, they were very pleased to take a large supply. They immediately started distributing them to Kwun Tong elderly in need (pictured at right), as part of their Covid-19 support projects in February.

Through this challenging season, it’s an ongoing honour to keep teaming up with both goods donors and hardworking NGOs, helping each other walk with the most vulnerable in Hong Kong.

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Meet Josiah. He’s a Hong Kong citizen, but not one of those who works in a smart suit beneath the glittering lights of our designer malls and high streets. Josiah has lived at the other end of the spectrum. He moved out of home when he was young, and fell in with a bad crowd, soon becoming a drug addict. Without a decent job, and having to feed his addiction, he could only afford to live in the most basic accommodation possible. Poverty, coupled with one of the highest population densities in the world has led to tiny spaces being made available: beds for rent with sliding, lockable doors, in cramped, shared rooms. They are known, sadly, as cage homes or even ‘coffin’ homes as they are not much bigger than the bed itself. Josiah paid just HK$2,000 a month.

For years, he lived in this ‘coffin’ home, desperate to break out of this lifestyle, but not knowing how. “When you’re in a coffin house, you can’t change,” he told our staff. “We always quarrel there. People just shout, there is no order. No relationship with neighbours.”

It was a turning point in Josiah’s life when Hong Kong NGO Impact HK reached out to him. The group has a focus on helping Hong Kong’s homeless, giving them counselling, goods to meet their basic needs, and helping them find a place to live. They helped Josiah find an apartment that he can call home. It’s just 70 square feet in size, but already Josiah feels a weight off his shoulders, and a new optimism for the future. He can talk freely and peacefully with his new neighbours, he has more privacy and a cleaner (bug-free!) environment.

Crossroads became part of Josiah’s new journey when we helped Impact HK work with Josiah to find furniture for his small flat (he’s pictured below at our site with our staff and his social worker). When some of our staff paid him a visit at his new home, he said, “I like my new bed and chairs! I am thankful to Crossroads.”

What’s most remarkable to us is seeing how these acts of kindness have profoundly affected him. They’ve moved him to ‘pay it forward’. The experience has given him a heart to give back, grateful for how he’s been helped by others. “If you need me to come and volunteer, just call me!” he said.


Want to help change lives like Josiah’s? We’re raising $4 million to help us continue serving grassroots families in Hong Kong and overseas. Your donation, however small, can help us reach our goal. Click here to give.

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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.

 

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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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

Mr Chen, a 94 year old Hong Kong man, has lived through his fair share of tragedy, war and economic hardship. Nothing, however, prepared him for the devastation that followed when a fire swept through the traditional, fishing village of Tai O where he lived, destroying his home. “This was the one thing I owned, the thing I was proud of,” he told our staff when they visited.

In picturesque Tai O, life is slow and many families still depend on fishing for their livelihood. The average income for many local residents, especially elderly people like Mr Chen, is low. Where, then, was he to go? How was he to start life over?

IMG-20131206-WA0005

Thankfully, the Social Welfare Department placed Mr Chen in public housing, so that, while he yet mourned the loss of his home, he could be safe and sheltered. Mr Chen still had one critical need in his new home: a washing machine. This is a costly item, particularly for one at his age and stage of life, but it’s an essential.

With his hands no longer up to the task of handwashing. We gladly provided a washing machine to Mr Chen, giving him what support we can in the final years if his life.

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At 60, Mr Mak is nearing life’s end. He battles lupus but, as well, recently learned he is dying of cancer. The doctors have told him they could no longer do anything but help him manage the pain.

Before he became sick, Mr Mak worked as a welder on construction sites but now, too ill to continue, he depends on social welfare. He was granted a government flat but struggled to furnish it. He owned just a bunk bed and a fridge. Without any cupboards, he could only store his belongings in bags on the bunk. With no couch, he could only use the lower bunk as a place to sit.

His social worker helped him visit Crossroads, where he chose all his other furniture needs: a small couch, side table, two large cabinets for storage, drawers, chairs, a washing machine and other items. Later, one of our team visited and he said, that, now, his happiness comes from “having this lovely apartment and sitting by the window on my couch.” The gratitude that radiate from Mr Mak is remarkable.

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Christine, a 49 year-old widow, lives in a grass thatched house with her 8 grandchildren whose parents died from HIV/AIDS. She had very limited household resources – just one saucepan, two plates, no bed and no mosquito net. Her grandchildren were not going to school because they didn’t have the school supplies and clothes they needed. Finding enough food to feed all nine of them has been a huge struggle for Christine, and the children regularly suffer from bouts of malaria. They were often bored and restless.

“I thought I had been forgotten” – Widowed grandmother of 8

Uganda elderlyLife changed for Christine and the 8 little ones when a shipment arrived from Crossroads, filled with goods donated from Hong Kong. Our partners in Uganda came into contact with Christine and her family and were able to give her some of the very things she needed most: mosquito nets, new plates, cups and cooking utensils, toys, clothes and games for the children and, most importantly, uniforms and stationery so that they can return to school.

“I thought I had been forgotten,” Christine exclaimed when she received the goods. Staff told us that she hugged everybody and danced around with joy!

Uganda schoolIt wasn’t only impoverished families like Christine’s that benefited from the shipment. Goods from this container were used to invest in community schools and health centres. At one clinic, some patients were sleeping on the floor because the number of beds was insufficient. Now, beds from Crossroads mean that more patients can be treated and served in comfort and safety.

In one rural secondary school (right), students sat on the floor for lessons because they didn’t have desks and chairs. Uganda school chairsSchool furniture from Crossroads’ shipment means that now, not only can they sit at desks and chairs each day for more effective learning and concentration, but the school has been upgraded to an exam facility! This means children no longer have to travel to a different village for exams but can sit them at their own school.

It’s truly been a story of transformation for this Ugandan community, and one for which we’re so very grateful to our donors and sponsors!

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Uganda Snapshot

Population: 37.58 million
Capital: Kampala

Uganda is a fertile, land-locked country in East Africa, in the Africa Great Lakes region, with a tropical climate.

Great progress has been made in fighting HIV in Uganda, but 1.5 million people still live with the disease, and there are 1 million children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

39% of girls are married by the age of 18. 37.7% of people in Uganda live below the international poverty line of US$1.25/day.

A6

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When female unemployment in Zimbabwe was at 97%, a bunch of smart women got together and created a knitting cooperative. Knitting, they explained, is easy and can be done anywhere! They called their group Gogo Olive: ‘Gogo’ means ‘granny’ and olive branch represents peace.

They knit stuffed animal toys which are as funky as their name and they call them ‘shamwari’, which means ‘friends.’ These little creatures are among our best sellers in our Global Handicrafts’ shop.

00Gogo Olive Handicrafts

IMG_7256When we buy products from Gogo Olive (and many others) for our Global Handicrafts store, Crossroads not only pays the ‘fair trade’ minimum. We pay an additional sum which the women use to invest back into their community and families. The Gogo Olive ‘grannies’ told us they had recently bought eyeglasses for some of their workers with this ‘premium’ payment. It was a joy to see photos of the proud faces of these middle-aged craftswomen wearing their new glasses, for some the first glasses they had owned.

Buy now!

You can support the craftswomen of Zimbabwe’s Gogo Olive by buying their ‘shamwari’ toys in our online store here! Or, visit our real life store at Crossroads’ Village for a wider range.

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Nina is 78 and one of Kazakhstan’s elderly poor. Her only family is a daughter, with whom she has a broken relationship, and she’s almost completely blind. Nina’s back was badly injured when she fell many years ago, cleaning windows. She rarely leaves her small apartment. “I’m so lonely – sometimes I forget my Russian words,” she told a Social Welfare officer.

When, not long ago, her upstairs neighbour’s water pipes burst, the water flooded Nina’s kitchen and damaged her cupboards. A team from our Central Asian partners had already been visiting Nina regularly, through their Community Care program, encouraging her and meeting her needs. So, when they heard of her need for a new cupboard they knew they could help.

Clients - Bana Nini

“We heard her before we saw her,” said one of their staff. “We brought her new cupboard up the stairs and though she couldn’t see us, she could hear us. She stood, bent, both hands upon a short, wooden stool for support. When we put the laminate cupboard in the kitchen, Baba Nina began her inspection. She stopped a moment. She put her head on the benchtop, smiled and said, ‘I could fall over with joy.’ As we watched, we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”

Even as Baba Nina, disabled and almost blind, experienced friendship and practical help from their team, her story is multiplied many times over in Central Asia, where we regularly ship containers of goods from Hong Kong to help the region’s poor, lonely, unemployed and disabled.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Donate money to support a shipment like this one.

DONATE MONEY

Donate Goods!

Want to donate goods for a shipment like this one?

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Kazakhstan Snapshot

Population: 17.9 million
Capital: Astana

Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country by land area and ninth largest country in the world. The climate is continental, with warm summers and colder winters.

The GDP per capita is US$12,950 or around $35 per day. In Hong Kong, the GDP per capita is US$33,534 or $91 per day.

kazkhstan