SHIPMENT FEEDBACK

During the 1990s-2000s Liberia experienced two civil wars in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed and many thousands more became refugees. Although the country is now seeing renewed peace and stability, the effects of the conflict on the economy are still severe.

Crossroads’ partners on this shipment have been serving their local Liberian community for many years and felt despair at seeing so many young people turn to crime to survive. They knew that their local children and youth needed activities that would give them hope for the future. Younger kids needed help learning to read and getting excited about education. Older youth needed vocational training, sexual health education and mentorship. The projects they established are innovative and successful, including a street library for children from impoverished communities and a youth leadership academy, but they needed help equipping and furnishing them, so they turned to Crossroads for help.

“The kids are very happy, and our centre attendance has increased even within two days.” — Crossroads’ partner in Liberia

 

Computers from Crossroads’ shipment are helping establish an IT training lab at their youth centre, where young people can practice using computers, learn to use the internet and learn employable skills.

At the centre’s ‘street library’, children from the community who otherwise may not have access to books and learning support can enjoy a range of books, games and toys, sent in this shipment and Crossroads’ previous shipment, and sit on new carpet, included in our most recent shipment.

“Because of the amazing games we received from Crossroads Foundation, adolescents assemble in the space every day to play and learn together,” wrote staff.

 

Our most recent shipment of furniture, computer, toys and other goods was our second to this group, and it came at just the right time. “We received the donation at a time when we had to relaunch our Street Library and Computer Literacy programs,” they said. “With the help of [the shipment], our institution saved an estimated amount of US$30,000 from operational expenses.”

Goods sent included a huge amount of school and office furniture, enough computers and monitors to set up an IT centre, electrical appliances and equipment for education, such as projectors and speakers, carpet tiles to cover the concrete flooring and hundreds of toys and games for the street library.

“The learning environment for the Street Library was deplorable,” they wrote. “Students could not play educational games because of the roughness of the floor and leaking water.” After a huge effort from their staff, the centre is now fully renovated, filled with toys, books and games from Crossroads, with new carpet tiles covering the floor and a projector from the shipment that shows educational movies.

 

We are thrilled to be able to support their valuable work with at-risk children in Liberia, investing in lives and futures.


PHOTOS OF THE GOODS IN USE

A projector from Crossroads’ shipment is used to show educational films and other material at the street library, while new carpet tiles donated to Crossroads by a manufacturer in Hong Kong have covered the concrete floor, creating a much more comfortable environment for the children.  

Hundreds of toys from the shipment, including Lego, dolls, board games, hockey tables, soft toys and soccer balls, have made the centre hugely appealing for children from the surrounding area to come and access new educational experiences otherwise out of reach.

“The school goods have enabled us to increase our intake of kids in the street library program. These features provide a sense of comfort to children who now have the opportunity to use modern equipment.  This gives them a sense of hope that they too can have access to any opportunity in life.” 

 

 

“The computers, office chairs and desks [from the shipment] have improved our efficiency at our Youth Innovation Hub. Our increasing numbers of volunteers and interns now have access to computers.  This has increased productivity at our workplace and expanded our impact,” said NGO staff.

Hundreds of chairs, desks and office furniture have been installed at our partners’ professional skills and development complex, which will soon be fully operational, empowering women, children and youth through training and support.

Reference No. : S4381A

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

The civil war through the 1990s in Sierra Leone killed between 70,000 – 300,000 people. Today, for thousands of survivors, the trauma and lasting effects of this brutal war continue. Tens of thousands of people lost limbs in the conflict, whether intentionally cut off in violent attacks, or lost accidentally by landmines or gunshot wounds. Life for these amputees has been particularly difficult in Sierra Leone. They feel stigmatised, have often lost out on valuable years of education, and can be excluded from employment and social life because of their disabilities.

We’re shipping to an NGO that was founded by one of these amputees. Having lost his left arm in the war, he knows the uphill battle that people with disabilities are facing in his community. He saw that many amputees felt hopeless, and couldn’t find ways to support themselves beyond begging. So, he started an organisation that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities and offers training in the kinds of skills that empower people to start their own businesses and support themselves.

They now run training programmes in hairdressing, tailoring, metalwork, electrical repairs and weaving, and have seen their graduates move from a life begging on the street to one of self-sufficiency and dignity.

They have asked us for a shipment that will help them continue and expand their programmes. They especially hope, with our support, to open a new ICT centre that can train young people with disabilities in computer skills, as well as other exciting new projects.


Our partners teach employable skills like tailoring, hairdressing (left), electrical repairs and weaving to people who have lost limbs in the war, or have other disabilities.

A hand up, not a hand out

James knows the dignity that comes with having a secure job, and earning a sustainable income. James was left with a disability after contracting polio, and found it very difficult to find a job. After going through a tailoring course with our partners, he now earns an income making and selling clothes. “I used to wait for a handout from people,” he said. “I’m an independent man now and can contribute to society.”


Jestina’s story

Jestina was one of the thousands badly injured in Sierra Leone’s civil war. During the conflict, between 4,000 and 10,000 people lost arms, legs, hands, fingers, ears or feet hacked off by fighters. Thousands also suffered landmine or gunshot wounds, losing limbs.  In post-conflict Sierra Leone, it’s hard enough for able-bodied people to find a job. For those with a disability like Jestina, it can be impossible, and many turn to begging on the streets as their only means of survival.

Thankfully, Jestina found hope in our partners’ job training programmes for people with disabilities. She is now a fully trained dressmaker, and is earning an income to support herself and two children. It’s a huge relief to Jestina that she can make her own money without needing to beg. Her perspective on life has totally changed. “I never knew there was ‘ability’ in ‘disability’!” she says.

This shipment will include goods to support our partners’ training programmes, helping more like Jestina.


Advocacy for people with disabilities is an important part of our partners’ work in Sierra Leone. They empower those with disabilities to understand and stand up for their rights, as well as educating the community to accept and celebrate diversity. 

Reference No : S4352A
Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Sierra Leone Snapshot

Population: 7.5 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 through the 1990s, which killed between 70,000 – 300,000 people and left many thousands of people missing limbs, ears or fingers. Youth unemployment is very high.
Source: UNDP, World Bank

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