WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

“Poverty has spared no one,” writes Crossroads’ partners. In their work with rural communities, they see daily the real face of poverty. “94% of rural women and young farmers here spend time in poorly paid or unpaid work such as chores or supplementing men’s paid work with free labour, drawing water or carrying sand for construction,” they say. It impacts infrastructure like health clinics too. “Village clinics which service pregnant women and children under 5 in remote areas have inadequate facilities or none at all. With high unemployment, youth are vulnerable to exploitation, theft, substance abuse and prostitution, which continues the spread of HIV.”

All these are patterns that keep people poor and prevent communities from developing, but our partners are making a difference. Their projects focus on advocacy, education, counselling and business training. As well as supporting health, micro-enterprise and education, they teach women public speaking and negotiation skills that help them fight for their own human rights and access services they didn’t know they deserved. Likewise, their farming projects teach people more advanced agricultural methods that can yield more than twice the amount of food, and make them more resilient to droughts or sudden economic changes.

We are pleased to be sending a shipment of goods to support our partners’ projects across the board. As well as being distributed to needy families, schools and clinics, the goods will update and expand their facilities, which they say will allow them to employ more people and reach even more in the community with their development programmes, which have already impacted more than 200,000 people.


Women meet in our partners’ support groups to learn about money, business, health and their own human rights, increasing their ability to advocate for themselves and their children to break out of poverty.

Sendeza’s story
From age 17 when she had her first baby, bearing children was all Sendeza knew. She birthed 11 children in total, of which 4 died. “My body was not healthy and neither were my children,” says Sendeza. She was dependent on food aid from a nearby clinic, and her children were malnourished, but she had no time to seek advice or work that could have made her more independent. Thankfully, our partners met Sendeza and counselled her in things like family planning, home hygiene and generating income for the whole family. Today, she trains other women in need of similar support, and she loves that she can be part of their empowerment.


Most rural clinics for pregnant women and young children are desperately under-resourced. Our partners run roaming health programmes where women and babies can access health information and treatment, as well as education on raising healthy children.

Esitele’s story
Esitele remembers the day her husband left. She thought when he told her they were separating, that it was a joke, until the next morning he was gone, leaving her with twin 3-year-olds. “Life became tough,” says Estile, “and then tears could not change anything, so I decided to stop crying and stand up for my children.” She joined the village savings loan group, a scheme initiated by Crossroads’ partners, hoping it would help her save some money and to be able to borrow money when she needed it. “Things worked as I wanted,” she said. “I borrowed money and invested it in farming potatoes and groundnuts.” She used her farming profits to buy building materials and build a beautiful, strong, brick home for her and her twins, and to buy farm animals. “I am so happy, though I know I still have a long way to go,” says Estile. She is hugely grateful to our partners for their support and counselling, helping her and other women like her to be financially secure. This shipment will include goods to boost our partners’ women’s empowerment projects.

he told her they were separating, that it was a joke, until the next morning he was gone, leaving her with twin 3-year-olds. “Life became tough,” says Estile, “and then tears could not change anything, so I decided to stop crying and stand up for my children.” She joined the village savings loan group, a scheme initiated by Crossroads’ partners, hoping it would help her save some money and to be able to borrow money when she needed it. “Things worked as I wanted,” she said. “I borrowed money and invested it in farming potatoes and groundnuts.” She used her farming profits to buy building materials and build a beautiful, strong, brick home for her and her twins, and to buy farm animals. “I am so happy, though I know I still have a long way to go,” says Estile. She is hugely grateful to our partners for their support and counselling, helping her and other women like her to be financially secure. This shipment will include goods to boost our partners’ women’s empowerment projects.


(S5234)

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Malawi snapshot

Population: 18 million
Capital: Lilongwe
Language: English, Chichewa

Landlocked Malawi is sometimes called the ‘warm heart of Africa’, for its culture of hospitality, however, the nation ranks among the world’s least developed countries. The country’s economic performance has historically been constrained complex factors including poor infrastructure, high population growth, and poor health and education outcomes that limit labor productivity.

The economy is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas

Source:BBC Country Profile/CIA World Factbook

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SHIPMENT FEEDBACK

As a largely agricultural country which has struggled to develop economically, poverty remains a persistent challenge in Malawi. Over 80% of the population are considered ‘working poor’, which means that even though they are employed they earn less than US$3.10 a day. Poor infrastructure means that access to education and healthcare in Malawi are both lacking, and the country’s problems have been exacerbated by the fact that it is one of the world’s worst hit regions for HIV/AIDS; over one million children in Malawi have been orphaned by the disease.

Our NGO partners in the region are working tirelessly to provide support and relief to the people of Malawi. Their vision is to build a society where people’s livelihoods are secure, and there is equal access to quality schools and health facilities for all. In order to achieve this, our partners coordinate a series of programmes which aim to improve social and economic development, empower local communities, and provide material aid to the most vulnerable in society. Their projects encompass schooling, health and hygiene education, elderly care, orphanage support, and more.

“We had a very big problem with lacking hospital equipment at our health centre, but the beds and mattresses from this shipment have rescued us from this situation and we have already seen maternity services improved”  – Health & Social Services Administrator

(Above left) New hospital beds and mattresses arrive at a local health clinic. (Above right) Desks and chairs are unloaded at a local primary school.

(Above) New bikes are providing children with easier access to schools, and new opportunities to enjoy their free time!

The goods donated in this shipment have had a huge impact on the lives of the people who our partners support and even the shipping container itself has proven useful, finding a new life as office space at a youth training centre. Here are just a few examples of the ways in which these goods have touched people’s lives so far:

  • Computers have allowed the opening of new IT training facilities, allowing young people the opportunity to develop new and important skills.
  • Hospital beds and mattresses have drastically improved the quality of care in many local health centres.
  • Books and educational materials have allowed the opening of three community libraries, accessible by over 9,000 people.

Our partners estimate that 4,200 people have been directly impacted by this shipment, and over 30,000 indirectly impacted.


PHOTOS OF GOODS IN USE

(Above left) Hospital beds are unloaded, ready to be distributed to health centres. (Above right) Students wait for their new desks and chairs to be set up in classrooms.

 

(Above left) New computers have improved IT facilities drastically for our partners. (Above right) Students set up one of the new computers in the IT training facilities.

 

(Above) Clothing is sorted and organized ready for distribution amongst local communities.

 

Reference No. S4669

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Mr Gande, at 76, could be the face of grassroots poverty in Malawi. He’s a farmer who has always survived day to day by growing his own food. After suffering a back injury, though, it became more and more difficult to live off his land.

“He has to crawl to get around,” said Thandiwe Moyo, one of our staff, who visited him in his humble home: one where he sleeps on a hard bench, his chickens in the next room.

Being disabled in this way means Mr Gande now relies mostly on the kindness of neighbours. Malawi likes to call itself ‘The warm heart of Africa’, and, certainly, his neighbours, in their provision of food and other care for him, demonstrated that. Even with their support, though, his life remains tough, uncomplaining as he is.

His quiet life is one example of those at the grassroots who benefitted from a shipment we sent to Malawi this year. Mr Gande received items which, unremarkable enough in themselves, were life-changing nonetheless. A thick, soft mattress, for example, now protects his injured back and he now has much needed clothing which was beyond his normal financial reach (picture below).


Our shipment to Malawi saw items distributed, at the grassroots, to hundreds more individuals like Mr Gande. At an institutional level, moreover, it helped equip a medical clinic and a school, both offering services to the poorest of the poor in the region.

 

Before our hospital beds and mattresses arrived at this health centre, staff told us it grieved them to see patients arrive when the centre was full, knowing they could only offer them a sheet spread on the floor as their ‘bed’. Our shipment helped build capacity for this centre.

 

Village children, though bright and ready to learn (above pic), can find it hard to focus on learning while sitting on the floor, with nowhere to write. Our shipment included school desks and chairs (below pic) that will make learning easier at this school for both students and their teachers.

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They call it the silent killer. Hunger is responsible for more deaths per hour, per day, than any other force on the planet, war, HIV, climate change included.

It is described as silent because it does not get talked about as much as the other big killers. Its menace is greater, though. Statistics indicate that, globally, around 25,000 people die from hunger related causes per day. That is just over 1000 per hour.

If we narrow the lens from global to close-up, a country like Malawi comes into focus as a typical, and treacherous, example. The majority of Malawi’s 12 million people live below the poverty line and, as a result, have struggled for years with food-deficiency. Their need is the greater as the nation also has a high incidence of HIV/AIDS, currently estimated at 12%, which has a knock on effect: high death rate of wage earners among parents, strained health infrastructure and increased rupture of family life.

Survival has been tough for many in Malawi. In order for families to make it, emerging reports indicate child labour is widespread. In the tobacco industry, for example, 78,000 children are estimated to be employed daily. Current indicators say some are as young as 6, working up to 12 hours a day, on less than 2 US cents an hour, and suffering headaches and other symptoms from their exposure to nicotine. The need to eat, and to live, drives people to desperate measures.

New steps have been taken to grow more food in the country. Crop cultivation is improving the situation for some, but the benefits are not yet reaching the marginalised and those most vulnerable. Almost 50% of children under the age of 5, for example, are chronically malnourished.

Some of Global Hand’s NGOs are playing their part in helping Malawi, among them the Scottish charity, Glasgow the Caring City (GTCC), which has combated hunger for several years.

Ross Gailbraith, Projects Manager, emphasised the need for food security among children. GTCC, he explained, supports the Chazi Orphanage in its care for over 3000 children. The staff use their training as nurses and horticulturalists to educate, feed and look after the orphans, including those who are, as they put it, ’beyond the care of society.’ They care for those who are ill, run a day care centre and offer a weekly feeding programme.

It caters even for breast-fed babies, since, Ross added, they often remain in need of supplements, because the women, if malnourished themselves, cannot generate the needed milk supplies for their little ones.

So when UK company, ‘Handling Matters’, offered 10,000 baby bowls, spoons and bibs on Global Hand, GTCC responded.

This provision was clearly ideal to include in their Malawi programme, along with soap and clothing. The baby products were particularly suitable because they were impregnated with a disinfectant that would help to revolutionise the eating system in the orphanage.

“If we can conquer space, we can conquer childhood hunger,” Buzz Aldrin, astronaut of former years, famously said. But it takes global, as well as national, will to make it happen. Global Hand welcomes all efforts to overcome this killer and to dispel the silence which, still today, allows it to rob too many of life.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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