WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

The Ukraine is one of Europe’s poorest nations and has particularly struggled in recent years with a recession and conflict. When it comes to funding and upgrading hospitals and schools in Ukraine, the smaller towns and villages are often left behind.

Crossroads has partnered with an organisation in the Ukraine with projects in health, education and care for people with special needs, particularly those in villages that may otherwise miss out on essential services. Our first shipment included goods like computers for health clinics, school furniture for village schools that had not been upgraded in 40 years, and heaters for health centres whose patients had been struggling through extremely cold winters without adequate heating. A second shipment was filled with high quality hospital beds that are now in use in rural areas where beds were previously extremely basic and badly in need of replacement.=

This third shipment is, once again, helping invest in a rural region, with goods to equip health care and education. “This region is very poor, and still needs long-term cooperation in receiving aid for medical institutions, and schools,” they wrote. They asked for goods including electrical appliances and heaters for midwifery centres, computers and flooring for village schools, and health supplies for rural health posts.

Thank you for helping us improve services and care for those in need in Ukraine.


Hospital beds: before and after

Health posts in rural Ukraine are essential to the villages they serve. Without them, residents would need to travel up to 70km to the nearest hospital for treatment. Sadly, though, many of the hardworking health workers in these rural posts battle to do their job using very outdated equipment, and with inadequate supplies. We have been privileged to invest in some of these clinics with high quality donated goods, like the hospital beds pictured below, which have upgraded old, basic beds like the one pictured above. “The goods from the previous shipment were perfect and made a great impact on quality of life and services,” wrote our partners. We are excited to be preparing another shipment that will be another boost to their health and education projects.


Donated computers from a previous Crossroads shipment to these partners helped this Ukranian hospital digitise their patient records.

Now they’re able to better serve their community of 25 villages. This next shipment will include furniture, office equipment and more goods that help staff battling to serve their clients with inadequate resources.


Winters can be bitterly cold in the Ukraine, making it especially difficult to operate healthcare services without proper heating and equipment.

School furniture from Crossroads’ last shipment to the Ukraine equipped this small village school. Our partners wrote that most equipment in schools in this region is more than 40 years old, and badly in need of replacement. Our upcoming shipment will include more goods for village schools.


Reference No : S4642C

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Ukraine snapshot

Capital: Kiev
Population: 42.3 million

Major languages: Ukrainian (official), Russian

Ukraine has been in a near-permanent state of transition since it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The western part of the country seeks closer ties with Europe while the east prefers to retain its ties to Russia. The result is constant upheaval resulting in economic turmoil and occasional unrest.

Unemployment is on the rise and the dependence on the global steel market for exports makes for an uncertain future.  Life is a struggle for many, especially those in rural areas.

SOURCE: BBC-Country profile/WB

 

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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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When the wounding is done, and you are left alone and bleeding, where can you turn in a war torn environment?

With your country impoverished by years of fighting, it probably won’t have the resources to help you. With the conflict over, the world has turned its back on your country, so little help may be forthcoming from international aid. With your family and friends dead or destitute, you may have few, or no, individuals to turn to. What options, then, are left? 2009 saw the publication of a book by a young war victim in Sierra Leone whose story has stunned readers and earned multiple awards.

Mariatu Kamara, at 12 years old, lived securely at home with her family. Although there was talk of war elsewhere in the country, her family had no indication that it was coming near them. So it was with confidence that she set out on a journey to a neighbouring village. Tragically, though, she was never to complete that journey.

On that path, she found herself confronted by rebel soldiers, some close to her own age, who were used to their powerful weapons and very adept at torture. For them, it was probably no more than another moment in a day as they cut off both her hands. For her, life was changed forever.

Mariatu, bleeding but alive, set out to find a shelter away from the fighting. As it happened she encountered a man on her journey who, out of kindness, offered her a mango. That simple act became a defining moment for her. The taste of the mango brought back to her the beauty of the life she had loved and lost, and motivated her to find a way to live again.

With blood streaming from her arms, she insisted on holding the mango herself: proof of her determination to work past the loss that had left her disabled. She would later call her story, ‘The Bite of the Mango.’

The book recounts the way Mariatu reached a refugee camp, collected survival money by begging in the streets of Freetown, and eventually, found her way to Canada. She is now an international speaker on behalf of people recovering from war.

There are few voices for those in post conflict situations and the agony they find forging a new life. Mercy Ships, a UK NGO that is part of the Global Hand network, is an exception. It provides free medical healthcare as part of its sustainable development support for the poorest nations of the world, through the use of hospital ships.

Mercy Ships has established a land-based centre in Freetown, the nation’s capital. The conflict left some 50,000 dead, and thousands more maimed or mutilated. The New Steps Centre in Freetown provides physical therapy and the creation of assistive devices as well as health care services, personal and community development projects.

So, when Mercy Ships saw an offer of crutches on Global Hand, they responded enthusiastically. These were, as it turns out, not just any crutches. Cool Crutches is a UK company that was set up by Clare Braddell when her daughter broke her back and was forced to use those supplied by the National Health Service. Their website promises coloured crutches that are funky and comfortable, helping boost people’s morale as well as supporting their mobility. The organisation sent out the crutches to Mercy Ships in pre-paid heavy-duty polythene bags.

imagelink_sierraleoneAs a Mercy Ships spokesman put it: “It’s an easy way to make a big difference.” They subsequently fitted members of the Single Leg Amputee Sports Club in Freetown at the New Steps Centre with the ‘cool crutches’ (photo, left). Many members of the club lost limbs in the war, but rather than dwell on the past, are using this opportunity to bring hope and inspiration to their country through sport.

Clare was grateful for the opportunity to partner with Mercy Ships. “Global Hand got us together”, she said. “Although I had heard of Mercy Ships, I didn’t click that they would be the perfect partnership for us. Mercy Ships need hundreds of pairs of crutches for war zones around the world, particularly Sierra Leone at the moment. If buyers of Cool Crutches could be bothered to go to the post office, when they are better, they might feel good about themselves, particularly if Cool Crutches pays the postage, and has labelled the bag, so that all they have to do is seal it!”

People of Mariatu’s ilk are an inspiration. Her very life is testimony to the fact that hope, even in the most wretched of times, can yet be found. At Global Hand, we consider the very least we can do is resource those willing to battle the odds and start over.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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As the days wear on in the tragic aftermath of the Sichuan quake, the suffering deepens. 5 million survivors, now homeless, endure the daily battle with rain, exposure to the hostile elements and the threat of disease.

“In the days immediately following the quake,” said our Crossroads worker in the field, “people settled in the open spaces. The problem has now become that there is little option for shelter in these areas. Groups of 20 people have been huddling in shelters made for 7.”

Through the generosity of DHL, Crossroads was able to send 15 tonnes of plastic sheeting, blankets and medical supplies into the quake zone. Red Cross and Crossroads volunteers met the emergency flight in Chengdu and escorted the relief items on a 12 hour journey along partially collapsed roads. The final destination was a village in Qingchuan County, in an area that had been cordoned off due to the spread of disease.

 5

“Into this situation, the gift of shelter is unimaginable,” the Crossroads worker commented. “As we delivered the aid, words of thanks kept coming from everyone, from the gas station attendants who were filling the tanks, to the ladies serving the food, the officials, and finally the people most deeply affected. On every side they were saying, ‘Thank you for what you are doing to help our people and China.’

We are deeply grateful to DHL for the strategic provision of its core competencies in this catastrophic situation.

This was the second round of aid that we have prepared for the earthquake zone. Working from pre-positioned materials and in cooperation with KPMG we have also sent two containers of relief supplies.

Within China, Crossroads is partnering with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation: a registered China charitable organisation with distribution facilities in Sichuan, and head office in Beijing.

Help continues to be needed as we are committed to assisting not only in this current emergency situation but for the lengthy process of rebuilding.

“The people are relieved for a moment when you bring them the goods,” said the Crossroads worker, “but when we ask them about the future, their eyes well in despair. Whole towns have gone. Fields for crops and livelihoods wiped out. We must be committed to helping these people in the long term.”

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE GOODS, Crossroads has been advised that, at this time, the urgent needs are for the following items. Important: It is China’s policy that all donated items must be new. They are currently requesting:

• Blankets
• Bulk clothing, babies’and toddlers’ in particular
• Tents
• Sleeping bags

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE CASH, click here for our form and mark your donation, “China Earthquake”. We will use your donation to cover the costs of sending this relief to those affected.

You are welcome to contact us for further enquiries.
Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Musa, just nine years old, has cerebral palsy and spends his life in a wheelchair. The little boy lives in rural Sierra Leone, a nation where the average person can expect to live to around 48 years of age. Musa’s short life began with trauma. His mother was seriously sick during her pregnancy, and suffered a bad fall, with her growing belly taking the weight of the fall. A short time later, Musa was born prematurely, in a difficult birth, which doctors believe could have caused his brain damage.

Following Sierra Leone’s devastating war, hundreds of thousands of people in the nation were left with no proper housing. Musa’s family – himself, his brother, his two sisters and his mother, a widow – live in a single room mud dwelling where, until recently, Musa was hardly given any attention because of his disabilities. His mother plants and sells vegetables from which she feeds and takes care of the welfare of her children, but it is a pitifully meager income for a family with special needs such as Musa’s.

While Musa’s body is disabled, his mind is as active as any other child. In normal circumstances, a child in rural Sierra Leone living in such poverty would have no hope of going to school. He may have no hope of a proper wheelchair, instead, forced to crawl around or move on a board with wheels. Instead, Musa’s family was taken on by a non-profit organisation that works in his area. They help families like Musa to send their children to school, learn about hygiene, HIV/Aids prevention, proper nutrition, and even build houses for those who have no shelter, and toilets in communities that previously had unsanitary, disease-ridden facilities.

The organisation now provides financial support for Musa’s education, medication, rehabilitation and other social needs. The difference in the little boy’s future simply cannot be measured. His family see him with a new respect, thanks to the care and training from staff workers. After Musa completes his education, they want to see him trained in job skills, that will let him contribute to the family income and his community. He has been given a chance at a normal life that his family could never have afforded on their own, and it’s a story that is repeated over and over again in Sierra Leone because of the work of this organisation.

The organisation has asked us for a container of goods that will let them help more families like Musa’s. They want to expand their work, to serve more communities and in different ways. The kinds of goods that Crossroads is preparing to send them will help almost every section of their work – preschool, primary school and high school educational supplies, their work with health clinics, their administration offices, and their programs training young people to be community educators themselves.
Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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