SHIPMENT FEEDBACK

Benin, bordered by Togo and Nigeria in West Africa, is rich in natural beauty and cultural history, but is one of the world’s poorest nations. Benin’s 9.4 million people still lack access to basic social services and are dependent upon agriculture and farming crops like corn or soya, which is threatened by climate change, further endangering already fragile livelihoods.

Crossroads sent a shipment bound for a region of Benin where our NGO partners are addressing these needs through a carefully-structured system of women’s “micro companies”, where women who show motivation and a desire to change their circumstances attend evening training and educational sessions for 3 years.

“Since receiving the container there have been great changes in the lives of the population.”NGO staff

Sewing machines from Crossroads’ container are helping women in poor communities learn skills that are helping them start businesses and lift their families out of poverty.

Computers and furniture from the shipment have set up a community computer centre, where eager youth can now access the internet, use computers for their school work and engage with the wider world.

Crossroads volunteers loading the Benin container in Hong Kong

The shipment was a huge boost to our partners’ operations, with goods that not only helped their own offices and administration, but were a very real investment in their job creation and training projects.

Impact of Crossroads’ shipment so far:

  • Computers and furniture set up a new computer centre, now attended by 110 people per day. 20 youth have been formally trained in computer skills already, and 5 young people have been employed to manage the centre.
  • 30 young women are enrolled in dressmaking classes using sewing machines from the shipment, with several already having completed the training.
  • A care home for vulnerable children has increased its capacity from 30 to 60 children, thanks to furniture and household goods from the shipment.
  • 2,000 of the area’s most vulnerable, like orphans, widows and elderly, were reached with distribution of essentials from the shipment including clothing and mattresses.
  • An estimated 3,000 people were directly impacted by goods from the shipment, with a further 20,000 estimated to be indirectly impacted.

We’re grateful to all who contributed to this shipment, investing in the lives of the poor in Benin. Turn over for more stories of how the goods have touched people’s individual lives!

Madeleine is widowed, with three children to support. She’s thankful to be learning how to sew, thanks to the sewing machines from Crossroads, and hopes to use her newfound skills to earn an income.

Martine is a widow, and was unemployed, finding it very hard to climb out of poverty. Now that she’s learnt sewing skills using the equipment from Crossroads’ shipment, she’s been able to take on small jobs and can now afford to buy clothes for herself and her children, and feed them properly, as well as pay for their health and education.

Grace, in 3rd form, is a grateful recipient of a bicycle from Crossroad’s shipment. It was hard for her to get to school on time, traveling on foot, and she was often late for class even if she left home early. Having a bike has drastically reduced her commute and made it that much easier for her to stay in school and improve her future!

Jacques was born healthy, but suffered an illness that left him paralysed later in childhood. His mobility is severely limited, and he had no way to get around without the help of his mother. Now, with a wheelchair from Crossroads’ shipment, he’s proud and grateful to be able to control his own mobility and has renewed hope for the future.

“Our thanks to Crossroads Foundation of Hong-Kong and DHL for the sewing and embroidery machines,” said the women’s cooperative, in a joyful statement. “


“We are learning and working together for the good of our children and our homes.”

Reference No. S4125

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Meiman, of China, knows the meaning of fair trade first hand. For almost a year, Meiman worked in a large factory far away from her hometown. The hours were long and after eight months she started to suffer serious health problems. It was then that Meiman knew she wanted to go back to the job she had held before: working as a seamstress for China Ethnic Crafts, a small handicrafts enterprise in Hunan.

“They not only took me back and welcomed me,”said Meiman, “they were also willing to adjust my work duties to help with my health issues.”

China Ethnic Crafts (4)

Many of the ethnic minority women employed with China Ethnic Crafts have similar stories to tell.

Meiman’s co-worker Ying Xiang says, “If there was no embroidery work for me to do here, the only other option I would have to earn money would be to go sit outside all day and shine shoes.”

The beautiful designs sewn by Meiman and her friends echo the traditional bright embroidery that Miao women have been sewing for centuries. Now, those same skills can be turned into a fair job in a safe environment and a steady income to support their families.

We have the adorable embroidered coin purses made by Meiman and her colleagues available online, with more products from China Ethnic Crafts to be found in-store!

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Shop Now!

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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China Snapshot

Population: 1.35 billion

Capital: Beijing

Population below international poverty line of US$1.25 per day: 11%, or 157 million people

China is experiencing rapid economic growth, but the benefits have not reached millions of people in rural areas. People who are already poor are the most vulnerable to death, injury and loss of livelihood when floods and earthquakes hit.

Natural disasters in China affect more than 200 million people every year.

China_S1359U_6

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