The digital divide is very real in remote parts of Nepal. About 50% of the population is illiterate and, given the pressure of poverty, there is a high drop-out rate from schools. Even those who stay in school might not emerge with an ideal education as infrastructure and equipment is often insufficient.

Meanwhile, Microsoft told us they were interested in helping people in need. “We were just looking for an opportunity to allow our team to give back in some way to one of the global communities we serve,” they wrote. They came out to Crossroads and took part in our poverty x-perience, the Struggle for Survival, along with a massive volunteering team-build. Following that, they assisted with our shipments, gave Crossroads exceedingly generous software provision and then began discussions about helping people cross the digital divide.

“Our computer lab is really becoming fruitful for students of class 4-8. It’s being nearly 1 year but we can’t express the outcome in words.” School principal to Microsoft.

The result? Microsoft, through a partner group, New Zealand nonprofit, Global Equity Brokers. donated hardware, software and expertise to children in a remote part of Nepal. They gave a fully equipped computer lab, with twenty computers and the needed software. They also sent six members of staff to install it and train the students. This equipped the laboratory to provide 1500 computer training slots for students each week, enabling many to cross the digital divide.

We often say that, in this work, we love to be as our name suggests: a crossroads between people in need and those who can help.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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It’s a nice problem to have. Our phones run hot and our email boxes burst with new messages as Hong Kong people generously offer goods to us each day. The people of Hong Kong love to give.

So, yes, a nice problem to have, but a problem, of sorts, nonetheless. With phone calls numbering 60, 70, or more, every day, it can be hard for even our dedicated team of volunteers to keep up.  They were sometimes overwhelmed. So was the system they were using. It was designed for an earlier time in Crossroads’ history. It worked fine, back then, but could not meet today’s demand. Nor, from what we could see, would it meet tomorrow’s.

Microsoft2When Microsoft first contacted Crossroads, it was to arrange a day of corporate volunteering and simulations. But after a day serving at our Crossroads’ site and experiencing a taste of poverty through the Struggle for Survival simulation, they were inspired to do more than just use their muscles!

Microsoft worked with Crossroads to come up with a partnership that truly used their core strengths, and solved our incoming phone calls dilemma.They donated and hosted a brand new IT system which is far better suited for handling the generosity of Hong Kong’s wonderful community.

“The most immediate benefit is that we have more visibility of our donation pipeline so that we will be able to match more donations to more needs and deliver relief faster. That means we will be saying ‘no’ [to donations] less often!” said Matthew Gow, Crossroads’ CTO.

With Microsoft’s partnership, it’s a joy to be saying ‘yes’ to more lives changed!

We can help your company engage with development issues

Crossroads has helped hundreds of companies, including some of the world’s biggest brand names, find ways they can develop their CSR programmes and serve the poor, through volunteer days, finding NGOs to partner with around the world, taking part in simulations, and much more.

Contact us today at enquiries@crossroads.org.hk to start talking about how we can help!

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Nepalese_woman_cleaning_riseWhen Anu’s family fell on hard times, they were forced to pull her out of school. It was a harsh blow for this Nepalese village family, who knew the young girl had huge potential, but they simply couldn’t afford to pay her fees.

Hope finally came to town in the form of an NGO who opened an innovative kindergarten for impoverished families, and they employed Anu’s mother. It brought in enough extra income for Anu to re-enrol in school and finish a high quality education. Today, instead of expecting a lifetime of poverty, Anu has plans to study further and become a civil engineer.

Engagement strategist for Crossroads’ Global Hand, Eric, met Anu when he visited Nepal this year with a Microsoft representative. Microsoft Hong Kong has been designing a project for villages like Anu’s, building computer labs in schools where there are none.

Microsoft Nepal 2The partnership with Microsoft was born when they organised a team day of landscaping and manual work at Crossroads’ site, but weren’t content simply to use their muscle for us! They wanted to use their core strengths but consulted Crossroads for guidance on NGOs who needed their help and how to go about it.

Crossroads worked closely with Microsoft to find partners in Nepal that desperately wanted computers and could use them strategically for the poor. Today, Microsoft is in the final stages of establishing two computer labs in poor communities, and would love to do more.

Can we help your company connect with NGOs that need your help? Email engagement@crossroads.org.hk to talk!

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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