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.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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In Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar, those struck by poverty seek shelter in the city’s heating and water systems below the streets. They emerge occasionally to pick through garbage heaps above for food, and some will scavenge for plastic or glass to sell to scrape a meal together. Mary and Martha Mongolia formed to offer relief to the poor by providing them with a place to live and a chance to learn marketable trade skills. The pioneering organisation trains these people to create handicrafts based on traditional materials and techniques which they can then sell to support themselves and their families. Each purchase allows this work to continue, bringing renewed dignity and hope to the poor.

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‘Super’ typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda devastated parts of the Philippines, leaving at least 5,500 dead and thousands more homeless.

PHP_typhoon

Local residents are putting their lives back together, and Crossroads has sent 4 shipments to help.

“The one beautiful thing amongst all the horrendous devastation is the Filippino community spirit,” said our partner in the Philippines. “There’s a lot of real ingenuity on the ground.” One villager, Noe, lost his own house in the storm but “before he even began to rebuild his home, he has been helping his neighbours repair their fishing boats, knowing that their children desperately need food.”

Before the typhoon struck, we already had a large stock of disaster kits prepositioned and waiting in our warehouse, thanks to ongoing efforts from volunteers and donors throughout the year. This meant we could respond immediately, shipping a container of kits and other emergency goods to our partners within a week of the typhoon.

 

PHP_typhoon_container

Students from West Island School helped load the container (above) and CNC Line generously carried it free of charge to the Philippines.

Containers of aid

Meanwhile, our phones were running hot and our email inbox bulged with offers of more and more disaster kits from schools, companies and families across Hong Kong who were desperate to help!

We began planning our second shipment, and when the deadline closed on 26th November, we counted up the donations: at least 2,630 kitchen and hygiene kits donated! We had enough kits and other goods to fill a further two 40′ containers, loaded on 30th November.

PHP_typhoon_contaimer_gifts

Each disaster kit contains kitchen or hygiene goods for a family group of six. This means that our amazing kit-collectors in Hong Kong have directly helped at least 15,780 people in need in the Philippines.

Volunteers from Standard Chartered helped to load the container, which included disaster kits, hardware for reconstruction, water purification tablets, mosquito nets, footwear and more.

Many from Hong Kong and around the world gave generous financial donations towards the shipments.

What next?

Now that the typhoon has passed, the world’s media may have pulled out of the Philippines, but Crossroads hasn’t.

PHP_typhoon_family

Typhoon Haiyan flattened entire villages. © European Commission DG ECHO

Our partners, who have run projects in the Philippines for decades, are committed to supporting the local people as they rebuild their homes and their lives. “These sorts of problems require long term solutions from organisations that are going to stay on the ground and partner with the people,” they said. We will continue to work with them to see how Crossroads can best help their projects.

They’ve told us that what they now need most is hardware and building supplies, to help people reconstruct their homes. Because of financial donations that flooded into our disaster fund, we have now been able to source these items and send them in our fourth shipment.

We continue to look for ways to respond to the ongoing rebuilding process.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Somalia Snapshot 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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