History says that the most recent war in DR Congo ended in 2003, but those on the ground live with a different reality, especially the ones in the nation’s East. Here, there are still pockets of brutal violence, where families are fleeing their homes at a moment’s notice, loved ones are slaughtered and rape is wielded as a weapon of war.

Pendeze, a young Congolese woman, lives in one of these communities. She can speak to the ongoing conflict from bitter, firsthand experience. When she was a teenager, Pendeze and her family were forced from their home during an attack. They tried to hide in the bush, but soldiers found the family and killed Pendeze’s mother and father in front of her. It left a deep, open scar on Pendeze’s young heart and she longed for revenge. She joined a rebel group and fought as a soldier while still in her teens, until finally, she had the opportunity to return home.  As with so many child soldiers, though, she found ‘home’ no longer existed. The warm faces of family and the close community she had known had been destroyed. She had to rebuild life from scratch. In this, she was helped by one of our partners, on the ground.

Despite the odds, this group has developed several strategic arms of support. They have created a refuge which our shipment helped furnish. In this haven, people can meet, finding healing after their years, even decades of trauma, including the sexual abuse which so typically marks these conflicts.

Our shipment also helped equip a medical centre. Hospital beds we sent are being used for new mothers and are, they told us, “so beautiful that the health centre manager felt obliged to repaint the room to fit with the beds”! Even the provision of something as simple as refrigeration played a role.  Prior to this, it was hard for them to get blood for transfusions, but “with a fridge, the blood is now made available and the community so much helped”. That refrigeration also permits then to store medicine which needs temperature control.

Tools in the shipment created jobs for 50 youth, now able to find work as painters.  In a war zone, a reliable job, even a basic one, helps anchor lives.

Books in our shipment filled the community’s first library since the start of the most recent conflict.

Finally, fabric and sewing machines from Crossroads have helped train people in valuable tailoring skills. Pendeze, the young woman whose life was devastated by her suffering, is herself one of the tailoring school’s success stories. She now runs her own business, and owns two sewing machines. She’s a walking example of hope, and how a shattered life can be healed and begin again.

Our partners are seeing many, many more follow in her footsteps, following the arrival of our shipment. They estimate that the goods we were privileged to send have impacted more than 4,000 people directly, and more than 10,000 indirectly.

 

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Investing in Post-war Communities

Women and children are particularly vulnerable, with so many men lost in the conflict.

S3938 Uganda project profile-5The devastating conflict in Northern Uganda officially ended a decade ago, but even though people have returned home, life is far from restored. Families are deeply traumatised from the war’s atrocities, and unemployment is high. Women and children are particularly vulnerable, with so many men lost in the conflict.
Crossroads’ partners are working in these recovering communities to see more children succeed in school, and more youth and women trained in income-generating skills. “Our children have not been able to excel in their studies simply because of lack of essentials like mathematical sets and other things,” they wrote. “The need for scholastic tools, materials like books, pens, pencils, and drawing and painting kits is enormous.” Their soap-making project has been a joyful success story. Vulnerable women and widows learn how to make soap, and are now selling around 100L each day. This brings income to the women, who can now feed their families and keep their children in school, and it lets the community buy quality soap made locally.

S3938 Uganda project profile-4
Crossroads is shipping school supplies and equipment, along with school desks and chairs, and goods for our partners’ other programmes: hospital beds, medical supplies, office furniture and clothes and shoes for the poorest families.

This woman (left), widowed and HIV positive, was given a small loan by our partners to start a cassava business, which is now allowing her to support her family.


S3938 Uganda project profile-2Rose (left) has been left doubly vulnerable to poverty: a widow, and HIV positive. In July 2010, Crossroads’ partners gave Rose a sewing machine along with training in tailoring. It was a wise investment, indeed! After starting a small business, Rose has been able to generate sufficient income to buy three more sewing machines. She has been encouraged to train two more people in tailoring every year, and she now employs six of these people. As a result, Rose is now living a self-reliant and successful life and the returns on this investment are multiplying throughout her community.


Crossroads’ shipment will include furniture and equipment to support the administration of programmes like the job-creation scheme that helped Rose, so far reaching 800 beneficiaries.

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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

Health care and community building

Kenya_4While the Kenyan economy is improving, 44% of the population still live below the poverty line.  Nearly 2 million are living with HIV/Aids, and  1 million children are living as orphans because of the disease. Crossroads is shipping to a partner NGO who is bringing hope into this darkness and has already helped thousands of HIV/Aids patients in Kenya.

 

They have asked us to send medical goods and relief supplies to help them care for communities that can’t cope with the burden of so many who are sick and poor.

Potential impact:

  • One hospital, three health clinics and nine pharmacies will be provided with the necessary equipment they need to help people in need.
  • Hundreds of vulnerable people will be provided with clothing and other essentials

Shipment includes:

  • Wheelchairs, hospital beds, medical supplies and more
  • 80 boxes of clothing and 10 boxes of shoes

A85Jane lives in a very dry area where people need to walk 5 kilometres in search of water. Quite often Jane could spend most of her days looking just for water and had less time to look after her children. With the help of Crossroads’ partner NGO, a borehole has been drilled in Jane’s village, which provides her and the whole community with clean water.

Because she has more time now, Jane is able to get milk and vegetables for her family, who are now healthier and happier.

Our shipment will help families like Jane’s access resources they need to be productive and self-sufficient.


A26When Doris became pregnant she felt very weak, and knew something wasn’t right. She decided to go to the health clinic of our partner NGO, who tested her for HIV. Doris discovered she was HIV-positive, and being pregnant, it meant her child was now at risk too. Under the care of the clinic, Doris was put on ARV treatment and given food supplements and medicines. Because of this basic care her health condition improved and soon she gave birth to her first child. She then had an agonising wait. Was her baby infected or not? At 18 months, the baby was tested and Doris was relieved to discover that he was fine!

Today, she has  had a second child and, with some help, Doris has started her own small scale business and is living happy with her family.

The shipment will improve the quality of the health facilities where Doris received care, helping many more like Doris.

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Kenya Snapshot

Capital: Nairobi
Population: 45.55 million. About half of the population is under 18.

Population below international poverty line of US$1.25 per day: 44%

There are 1.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS ,  1 million children orphaned because of AIDS, and 2.6 million orphans in total.
More than a quarter of children are involved in child labour, mostly in agriculture, but also in the mining industry. A30