“The situation is bad…there is no tourism at all. Locally, business has totally stopped. We worry about what awaits us in the coming months if the situation will remain the same. Our people will suffer from a shortage of food, medicine.”

These words above came from friends in Bethlehem, whose handicrafts made by traditional carpenters (pictured above) we sell in our Global Handicrafts shop. They’re not unique, though. They represent a heart’s cry which is coming at us from all corners of the world. When the pandemic started spreading globally, we started talking to our partners – fair trade producers, shipment consignees, long-time friends – and all, regardless of their field of work, were telling a tragically similar story. As soon as the crisis hit, these communities were reduced to the bare bones of survival. They needed food, and they needed money to stay above water, let alone care for those who were now battling the infection.

We knew that shipping food halfway across the world from Hong Kong may not be the most efficient way to help. We also knew that Crossroads would not be able to send money of our own. In fact, money has been a particular challenge for Crossroads, too, during Covid-19.

We could do two things, however. First, we could be a voice. Our Global X-perience team was looking right then to find new ways to envision people, during a time when we couldn’t host visitors at our site. So, they produced online videos telling the stories of these suffering friends. Second, we set up an appeal for money so we could quickly and efficiently channel funds to Covid-19 affected communities and use the videos to ask for contributions. We sent money from that fund to several groups who had shared their needs. Now, we’re hearing back about how it’s lifting just some of the burden.

In Northern Uganda, where formal employment is already in single digits, an injection of funds allowed our friends to provide food for extremely vulnerable families struggling through the economic impact of Covid.

In Bethlehem, the funds are helping our fair trade producer partners there stay operational, as traditional carpenters face the instant drying up of their livelihood without a flow of tourists. “Thanks a lot for your hard work,” they said. “The amount will help us to keep on with our missions, this is highly appreciated…”

In Thailand, our partners work with people who are often forced to work in the red light districts of Pattaya. Funds from Crossroads purchased food packs (pictured above) for women who’ve suddenly had their livelihood cut off. “Wonderful news that you want to contribute to the food bags!” came the excited reply when some of our staff offered financial help. “The food distribution is still going on as the need is still huge. More and more people are losing their jobs because there are no tourists here and bars, shops and restaurants are closing all around us.”

More of the relief fund has been shared with partners in places like Nigeria and the Thai-Burma border. As always, difficult times like these affect the poorest and the most vulnerable the most deeply. A recent World Bank report said that this pandemic could push between 71 – 100 million people into extreme poverty in 2020. It would be the first increase in global extreme poverty since 1998.

Want to give funds to help during Covid-19?

You can help relieve the burden of economic hardship hitting those in poverty during Covid-19. Click here to donate. We’re also looking for sustaining donors to help Crossroads continue to serve throughout this challenging time. You can join our team of champions who help make this work possible! Click here to read more about becoming a sustaining donor.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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“But what can I do at school to help others care?” We’re often asked this by students who undertake our x-periences, come out with deepened empathy and want to to see it translated into action at their schools.  It’s a conversation we love to have. Meena, in Beijing, is one who called, this year and spoke with our Global X-perience director on this very point.  She came up with a remarkable idea. She would hold an ‘Empathy Film Festival’ at school.

It was difficult at  first, though, and Meena quickly discovered that the path to world change isn’t always easy.

“There were so many times I thought my idea was dead — that maybe I should just give up,” she told us. “But the inspiration and the ideas we shared were too good to just let go. Slowly I was able to find other students and teachers who believed it was a good idea too.”

The end result of her perseverance? A communal 24 hour fast, to build empathy for the hungry, followed by an outdoor film festival showing films dealing with issues of world need, and US$2,000 raised to help the poor. We’re so proud of Meena for fanning the spark of an idea into flame, and passing that flame of compassion on to others!

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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It might not look like a treasure chest. But the 40 foot shipping container outside the only school in Kamwokya slum is filled with valuables that are changing Ugandan futures, one child at a time. Children in the densely packed, dangerous Kamwokya slum once had nowhere to go to school, while their parents went to work in surrounding neighbourhoods. Now, this school is a beacon of hope, educating 2,000 pupils, not just in academic subjects but in life skills, job training and children’s rights.

FABBAs container provides valuable storage space at Ugandan slum school ...

They struggle with very few resources, though. We responded with the shipment sent by Fund Managers, Asian Bankers and Brokers Awards (FABBAs). As a result, the school library in Kamwokya is now filled with text books, the boys’ soccer team wears uniforms, the students sit at new desks and chairs, and some of the poorest students, who previously slept on the floor, now have soft new mattresses and warm blankets. All have a new zeal to attend school each day.

 

It’s FABBAs – our largest single donor in 13 years – who made this possible. At their 2013 banquet, FABBAs raised a staggering HK$1.5 million for Crossroads’ operations and international shipments.

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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“Champions know there are no shortcuts to the top. They climb the mountain one step at a time.” (J Adler)

While stunningly beautiful, Mt Blanc, Western Europe’s highest mountain, can be mercilessly tough, even for experienced climbers.

We were in awe, therefore, when we heard that Nicolas Cohen Addad, a Barclays Capital executive, was planning to climb it in support of Crossroads.

At 4810 metres, Mt Blanc defeats many climbers. Some call it, in fact, one of the deadliest peaks in the world.

As if that were not challenge enough, moreover, Nicolas chose the more difficult of the climbing options, starting at Aiguille du Midi then descending/ascending a series of peaks before reaching Mt Blanc itself.

We have now received details of his climb. They, quite frankly, leave us breathless. The photograph shows the series of ascents and descents needed to scale the various lesser peaks to the summit itself.
7am:    
Descended from Aiguille du Midi (3870m) to Col du    Midi (3542m). Rather like climbing points in a royal crown, he mastered a series of descents and ascents, steadily tracing the ridge to the summit
8am:
Up to Epaule du Tacul (4100m)
Down to Col Maudit (4035m)
Up to Breche Maudit (4400m)
Down to Col de la Brenva (4309m)
Up to Mur de la Cote (4640m)
1pm:   
On to Mont Blanc. (4807m)
5pm:  
Back to Aiguille du Midi

In that unforgettable day, he had spent 10 hours at an average altitude of 4175m, ascended a cumulative 2000m of positive climb, dealt with 50km/h winds and battled freezing conditions. The water in the hose of his camel bag had frozen.

Did he find it tough? Nicolas, whose Barclays colleagues had ‘sponsored’ his climb to raise funds for Crossroads, wrote: “Thinking of all the nice and generous people supporting this adventure was a key element to the success, especially when ascending the last 500m”. It didn’t, he added, “need much to get emotional at the top!”

Apparently, too, he’d like to try it again. “I only have one thing in mind now… to get back up there with my beloved wife Susan.”

His massive climb leaves us overwhelmed. During this period of economic challenge, many traditional sources of funding have dried up. So we are grateful, beyond words, for his originality in championing our cause in this extraordinary way and generating greatly needed funds.

Nicolas, we salute you!

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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 ...

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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...

read more ...