Jordan is one of the most water scarce countries in the world. That is a major problem for our partners, Help Refugees Jordan (HRJ), as they care for the massive influx of people from neighbouring countries. (Almost 1 in 10 people in Jordan is a refugee.)

This year, we continued to support the programmes begun last year. A Hong Kong donor provided a generous donation which HRJ used in a highly creative way. They bought specialist container gardens which are cleverly designed to grow crops with very little water. They installed these in their school and used them to educate the children, their parents, and staff on water management issues. The plants have been so successful that the crops are used to supplement the school feeding programme with fresh vegetables and herbs.

 

HRJ would like to extend this more widely among the groups they serve to help people be less dependent on hand-outs while reaping the benefits of fresh vegetables. As well, the gardens seem to have been a calming influence on these students who have suffered the trauma of war. One little girl, deeply impacted by the conflict, had simply stopped speaking. Now, though, she manages a few words about her garden. It’s a brilliant project bringing environmental, nutrional and psycho-social benefit.

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Each January, some of the planet’s most powerful corporate leaders gather in the small Swiss town of Davos to discuss how they can use their resources and influence to improve the state of the world. It’s the World Economic Forum, and this year, Crossroads was privileged to bring our Refugee Run to the event, giving participants a deep, though brief, experience of life as a refugee.

While we’ve been running simulations in Davos since 2009, this was the first year we were part of the official programme, giving us a new, unique opportunity to reach some of the world’s changemakers.

Refugee_run

We focused, in particular, on the escalating crisis in Syria and the plight of the refugees in the neighbouring countries. We brought aid workers from Jordan and Lebanon who spoke of the refugees they serve. Wonderfully, people of Syrian nationality attended too, including refugees.

simulations_Davos_2014_2

Those who took part in the experience ranged from the King and Queen of Belgium to leaders of multinational corporations, to Sheryl Sandberg (below), COO of Facebook, who spoke to the participants about ways to find peace in this troubled region.

simulation_famus_people

Many of the CEOs who attended were blinking back tears: people who are used to managing their international companies, but who found themselves feeling helpless and disempowered when confronted with the reality simulated. We had scores of comments that echoed one another’s themes.

‘I was skeptical but this simulation has been too powerful. Overwhelming. A call to action.’

‘A powerful way to seal our commitment to improving the world.’

‘Thank you for such an incredible and moving experience. I feel hugely compelled to take action.’ – Justin Keeble, Managing Director, Accenture Sustainability Services, Europe, Africa and Latin America.

‘While it can never compare to real trauma/resilience of refugees, Crossroads has a chilling simulation at WEF.’ via Twitter, Robert Kauffman, International Relations and Strategic Partnerships, Int Fed Red Cross and Red Crescent

‘I did the Refugee Run in a past year and found it to be amazing and life changing.’ – Jimmy Wales, Founder, Wikimedia

Company directors responded in many ways. Some spoke of renewed commitment to keeping factories open in the Syrian region so people could remain employed. Several offered to fund schools for refugee children in camps. One spoke of using the company’s solar technology to support the need for power in camps.

Raphael, former DR Congo refugee and now aid worker, shared his experiences and insights with participants.

The goal is, in a broken world, to be a crossroads: a place where those in need can be linked with those who can help. In Davos, we often feel that we speak to some of the world’s most powerful individuals on behalf of some of the world’s least powerful.

To see the full set of images from Crossroads’ Refugee Run in Davos, click here.

Want to book the Refugee Run for your organisation?

We’d love to talk! Click here or email life-x@crossroads.org.hk, or visit Global X-Perience for Crossroads’ full range of simulations, catering to a variety of individuals or groups.

Truckloads of protective equipment for Ukraine and Romania

"The Covid-19 pandemic is pushing Ukraine towards its worst recession in decades - possibly a depression - with devastating consequences for...

read more ...

COURAGE IN CAMEROON

“I am tired of listening to gun shots and seeing lifeless bodies here and there. I just want to go where...

read more ...

SYRIA’S LOST CHILDHOODS

Syria's lost childhoods For young children in Syria, life equals war. “Every Syrian child has been impacted by violence, displacement, severed family...

read more ...

Benin: The multiplier effect in action

Benin: The multiplier effect in action outside   Outside Benin’s bustling major cities, opportunity can be hard to come by. Take Moise, a...

read more ...