WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

Since late 2016, a conflict has been worsening in Cameroon between the French and English speaking populations. Tensions and violence have forced more than 160,000 people to flee their homes, becoming refugees or internally displaced people. Our partners in Cameroon on this shipment are working hard to continue to support health, education and human rights amidst the often chaotic conditions faced by their communities. “Most of the schools have been closed,” they write, “and the children are being deprived of their right to education.”

We have shipped twice to these partners, and both shipments have been highly strategic in their efforts to improve health, education and poverty in their communities. They told us that previous shipments have made impacts such as:

  • Increasing the exam success rate at schools, when ten institutions were given improved school supplies and furniture.
  • Better service and patient comfort levels at a rural health centre, after receiving medical supplies and equipment.
  • Upgrading head office and facilities using furniture, appliances and office equipment, helping them administer projects more effectively and retain staff.
  • More than 100 aid workers and other key stakeholders given training at workshops using equipment and supplies from Crossroads’ shipments.

With this next shipment, they have asked for goods to extend and expand their projects, such as a scheme to train 300 women in basic bookkeeping and business skills, and to launch a new HIV/Aids education campaign, as well as much more. We are grateful for another opportunity to give a capital investment of goods into their work once again.


How donated goods built a school

In one of Crossroads’ previous shipments to these partners, we included school goods and clothing. We couldn’t have imagined the impact these simple items could have on our partners’ orphanage. The goods kickstarted an education wing of the children’s home, and now they have a functioning school for these children who can now access caring, quality education. Here’s how they described it:

“The children in the orphanage had no new clothes and toys to play with nor books for reading.  We remedied this situation by providing them with clothes, toys and books. We made sure they were visited by national and international staff and volunteers who used the toys to play with them and the books to help them read. They then developed a culture of reading which lead to the building of a classroom in the premises of the orphanage. 

Our organisation carried out an online fundraising campaign to help raise money to build two classrooms. We achieved our goal and today there is a school in the orphanage.”

 

We look forward to including more clothing and school goods in this upcoming shipment.


The gift of basic furniture can lift the profile and build the capacity of a grassroots organisation. In our last shipment to these partners, they spoke of the impact of office furniture form the shipment: “All our staff now have office tables and chairs to sit on for better working conditions. We hold planning meetings with staff and stakeholders in our conference room which is solely equipped with donations received from Crossroad.” This next shipment will include furniture and other goods to equip the administration of projects.


People displaced by conflict through Cameroon are struggling with trauma, loss, and unemployment. Our partners support both displaced people in their new communities and those in the host communities who were already living in poverty, in great need of essentials like clothing, shoes and bedding.

Women displaced by war are offered counselling and job training through our partners’ projects. Crossroads included sewing machines in our last shipment, which are being used to help women learn dressmaking skills. This shipment will include more goods for job creation such as hairdressing equipment.

 

REFERENCE NO. S3318B

 

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Cameroon snapshot

Population: 25.2 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. Fewer than half of children go on to secondary education, and over 40% are involved in some kind of child labour. The current conflict has created more than 160,000 displaced people, and caused havoc in education and healthcare services.
Source: UNICEF

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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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Lured to the big cities by the prospect of finding a job to support their extended families, many young women in Asia instead find themselves led into prostitution by deceit, coercion, or desperation. They are then trapped by the lack of sufficient education, job skills, and familial connections needed to break free. They lose hope for a different way of life, suffering physically and emotionally from the struggles they face daily.

Eden formed as an outreach to these trapped women, offering them shelter, protection, medical assistance and skills training as a way to lift them out of their imprisoning circumstances. Women learn various job skills including making handicrafts, allowing them to find a new start in life.

Global Handicrafts sells Eden jewellery in our marketplace store, with many pieces available online. Purchasing the jewellery made by Eden’s artisans allows their work to continue, bringing new life and hope to women in Asia. Browse our Handicrafts store for Eden jewellery and other products by clicking the button below!
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Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Browse Global Handicrafts’ full online range here or visit our shop at Crossroads Village to walk through our colourful global marketplace, with even more handmade delights from around the world, all of which care for the people who made them.

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