“The situation is bad…there is no tourism at all. Locally, business has totally stopped. We worry about what awaits us in the coming months if the situation will remain the same. Our people will suffer from a shortage of food, medicine.”

These words above came from friends in Bethlehem, whose handicrafts made by traditional carpenters (pictured above) we sell in our Global Handicrafts shop. They’re not unique, though. They represent a heart’s cry which is coming at us from all corners of the world. When the pandemic started spreading globally, we started talking to our partners – fair trade producers, shipment consignees, long-time friends – and all, regardless of their field of work, were telling a tragically similar story. As soon as the crisis hit, these communities were reduced to the bare bones of survival. They needed food, and they needed money to stay above water, let alone care for those who were now battling the infection.

We knew that shipping food halfway across the world from Hong Kong may not be the most efficient way to help. We also knew that Crossroads would not be able to send money of our own. In fact, money has been a particular challenge for Crossroads, too, during Covid-19.

We could do two things, however. First, we could be a voice. Our Global X-perience team was looking right then to find new ways to envision people, during a time when we couldn’t host visitors at our site. So, they produced online videos telling the stories of these suffering friends. Second, we set up an appeal for money so we could quickly and efficiently channel funds to Covid-19 affected communities and use the videos to ask for contributions. We sent money from that fund to several groups who had shared their needs. Now, we’re hearing back about how it’s lifting just some of the burden.

In Northern Uganda, where formal employment is already in single digits, an injection of funds allowed our friends to provide food for extremely vulnerable families struggling through the economic impact of Covid.

In Bethlehem, the funds are helping our fair trade producer partners there stay operational, as traditional carpenters face the instant drying up of their livelihood without a flow of tourists. “Thanks a lot for your hard work,” they said. “The amount will help us to keep on with our missions, this is highly appreciated…”

In Thailand, our partners work with people who are often forced to work in the red light districts of Pattaya. Funds from Crossroads purchased food packs (pictured above) for women who’ve suddenly had their livelihood cut off. “Wonderful news that you want to contribute to the food bags!” came the excited reply when some of our staff offered financial help. “The food distribution is still going on as the need is still huge. More and more people are losing their jobs because there are no tourists here and bars, shops and restaurants are closing all around us.”

More of the relief fund has been shared with partners in places like Nigeria and the Thai-Burma border. As always, difficult times like these affect the poorest and the most vulnerable the most deeply. A recent World Bank report said that this pandemic could push between 71 – 100 million people into extreme poverty in 2020. It would be the first increase in global extreme poverty since 1998.

Want to give funds to help during Covid-19?

You can help relieve the burden of economic hardship hitting those in poverty during Covid-19. Click here to donate. We’re also looking for sustaining donors to help Crossroads continue to serve throughout this challenging time. You can join our team of champions who help make this work possible! Click here to read more about becoming a sustaining donor.


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Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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“Farmers are an important part of our society,” says Adisa of Guildance Community Development Foundation, Nigeria. That’s a serious understatement. In rural Nigeria, farming is the backbone of the community and, if farmers can’t work, families don’t eat. Guildance supports grassroots agricultural communities and Crossroads was able to come alongside them to help Nigerian farmers with a UK donation of safe footwear made through Global Hand.

“Many farmers have lost legs or suffered serious foot diseases from hazards on farms. These would have been easily avoided if they’d had farm boots on,” says Adisa. Working with herbicides and other chemicals adds an additional hazard, he explains.

When a UK donor organisation offered 200 pairs of industrial-quality boots (pictured right) on the Global Hand website, Guildance was quick to accept. The boots are not only waterproof and resistant to chemicals and animal products, they have steel toe-caps, making them extremely hardy and safe for agricultural work. The boots were shipped from the UK and distributed to farmers in south-western Nigeria, where they’re now in use. “The farmers were full of praise,” said Guildance. “They now use the safety boots on their farms and, from their feedback, incidents of hazards have reduced drastically.”

The boots are a wonderful example of how Crossroads can help give a second and even third life to un-needed goods. They were offered as second-hand goods, having been formerly used in the food industry, but the quality was fine. We are excited to see them find a new life on Nigerian farms, contributing not only to safety but, in the larger picture, to food security and, ultimately, poverty alleviation.


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Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

HELPING LIGHT THE DARKNESS

The BBC calls if ‘the worst refugee camp on earth’. A camp on the far-flung island of Lesvos, Greece, seen by...

read more ...

7,000 brand new toys for Christmas

The quantity was astonishing: 7,000 brand new toys, donated through our Global Hand service by a leading toy manufacturer. NGOs across...

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It was the end of an era when Hong Kong’s beloved Excelsior shut down in early 2019. As their doors closed,...

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SHIPMENT FEEDBACK

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and one of the world’s largest oil producers, however decades of instability and recent internal conflict have severely hampered development and over half of its people still live below the international poverty line. Access to education and work can often be a challenge in Nigeria, particularly for vulnerable groups such as women and children, and this has exacerbated poverty across the country. Ranking just 157 out of 189 on the Human Development Index, Nigeria sees many in need of the type of support which will allow them to improve their own situation.

This is what our NGO partners in the region are trying to do, to offer the programmes and services that are needed for people to break the poverty cycle. Among the projects that they have embarked on are rural education improvements, vocational skills courses, orphanage support and poverty relief drives, all of which seek to bring about long-term improvements to the lives of those involved. These, and the other programmes that they run, are all in pursuit of their vision:  ‘A world in which human rights are protected and enforced on the basis of equality, equity and non-discrimination’.

“The shipment has vastly helped our projects and our objectives as an organisation” – NGO director

(Above) New computer equipment and desks arrive at our partner’s training centre where IT lessons are conducted for young people in the community.

(Above) School children pose with the new books that will soon fill their classroom.

 

The goods that we sent in this shipment have been put to good use supporting the work of our partners in the region. The wide range of goods that were sent, including homeware, clothes, furniture and computer equipment, have ensured that a number of different projects, and many different individuals, received a direct benefit from the shipment. Here are just a few examples:

  • Tables, plates and other kitchen utensils have been used by unemployed women to open small catering businesses called bukkas, allowing them to contribute to supporting their families.
  • Computers and printers have replaced those that were worn out in schools and community facilities, saving the communities around US$1500.
  • Books, stationery and educational equipment have been donated to schools and orphanages, allowing them to improve and expand their classrooms and libraries.

(Above) Clothes are distributed at a local orphanage.

Our partners estimate that the effects of this shipment will go on to produce a direct benefit for some 10,000 local people. Without the support of goods like these being donated the good work that our partners are carrying out would not be possible, the impact of your donations should not be underestimated.


FURTHER IMPACT

“These items have changed people’s lives; they have been distributed to those who actually needed them”– NGO director

(Above) A local family who have received support from this shipment in the form of new clothes for their children and young baby.

 

(Above) Students enjoy the new facilities that have been fitted in their classroom.

 

(Above 1st & 2nd pic)  A local school receives new desks and clothing for their students.

 

Reference No.: S4709


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Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Life had not done the ‘Honorable’ thing by the young African boy of that very unusual name. Young Honourable was born into a very poor Nigerian family and despite a bright, active mind, he couldn’t afford to go on to college or university.

Crossroads’ West African representative, Bona, saw potential in Honorable. “He’s one of those kids kid that breaks your heart when they can’t get more education,” he said.

Bona, though, was in a position to do something about it. Some years before, he had set up a training centre with computers from Crossroads. Bona enrolled Honourable in the centre and, when Honorable graduated, helped him establish his own ‘Business Centre’, with another Crossroads computer.

The business centre started small, as a place where customers could get basic photocopying and word processing services, but thanks to Honorable’s computer training and a good head for business, it soon began to turn a profit. With it, he invested in 5 more computers and, in turn, set up a computer training centre of his own.

Today, his new centre has trained more than 1,000 young underprivileged youth, many from his own home village. From one donated computer, a tree of opportunity grows, bears fruit and continues to flourish! An ‘Honourable’ outcome indeed!


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Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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HELPING LIGHT THE DARKNESS

The BBC calls if ‘the worst refugee camp on earth’. A camp on the far-flung island of Lesvos, Greece, seen by...

read more ...

7,000 brand new toys for Christmas

The quantity was astonishing: 7,000 brand new toys, donated through our Global Hand service by a leading toy manufacturer. NGOs across...

read more ...

Excelsior Hotel close equips HK social enterprise

It was the end of an era when Hong Kong’s beloved Excelsior shut down in early 2019. As their doors closed,...

read more ...

Helping equip Ukrainian maternity facility

"Finally, the repair of our maternity hospital is finished," wrote our colleagues in the Ukraine. "Your beds are in refurbished rooms...

read more ...