The people in Marie’s* region knew the soldiers would come – it was only a matter of time. They had heard stories of nearby villages burned to the ground in their part of Cameroon, but when the soldiers finally reached their own town, the pain was unspeakable. The attackers killed both of Marie’s parents, and she – a young teenager – fled in terror to the bush. There, Marie had no shelter from rain or sun, no medical care, little by way of food to be found. They lived alongside others who had escaped with their lives but, sadly, it wasn’t the safe haven she needed. She was raped and assaulted repeatedly, leading to the birth of two young children. As a new mother, she desperately wanted a home, with food and security for her little ones, but fear of life in her own village made return impossible. Marie made her way out of the bush with her baby and her toddler, to seek help. Her search brought her to the doorstep of a children’s home, run by our partners in Cameroon. Upon arrival, the small, traumatised family (pictured above right) hadn’t eaten for many days, and they had no clothes at all. It took days, they said, before Marie could manage to eat again, but, with their care and expertise, the home managed to give the relative safety she and her little ones so desperately needed.

The current conflict in Cameroon has hardly made it on the current world news radar, as is true of so many tragedies in our scarred world today. It’s been made very real to us here, though, because we are hearing from a stream of partners there with a cry for help. In the past, they’ve needed help with poverty alleviation and rural need, something we did often. Now, though, they write about war: displaced people, the need for clothing for people hiding in the bush, and the pressure of conflict seeing the NGOs we partner with having to pack their belongings to escape to safer towns, as illustrated in the picture above, sent by Marie’s group. “Many of our people are dying here,” they told us. Other photos they included with their application were some of the most graphic and tragic that we’ve received.

In 2007, we first shipped to this particular group with goods that helped set up a vocational training centre, seeing hundreds of youth trained in employable skills. This summer, with the help of volunteers from a financial consulting company, we loaded a shipment of goods (pictured below) for this group that will help not just projects for longer-term survival, but also the likes of ‘Marie’s who are desperate for immediate care: families whose homes have been burned, and displaced people living in the bush.

*Not her real name

 

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The Silver Lining Foundation lives up to its name. Their work is with orphans and abandoned children so they see great heartbreak and suffering. Yet there’s also joy, the proverbial silver lining surrounding the cloud, which can be found. Their name celebrates that joy with the children. Based in Hong Kong, they support vulnerable children in nearby Asian nations.

“We help 10 schools with more than 2,000 children each year,” they said. “Some orphans have been discriminated against in their home towns, or are from broken families. We treat them like our own kids.”

When Silver Lining moved offices in April 2017, they were starting from scratch. Much of their old furniture was broken or not suitable, so they approached Crossroads with a wishlist, and we were only too happy to fill it! They took away a truck’s worth of goods including 25 chairs, tables, sofas, cabinets, computers, a conference table and more.

 

That’s one thing we  love about this work. Gifts of this kind can mean dedicated NGOs, working on a minimal budget, can save money for other purposes. As we often say at Crossroads: We can’t make a capital injection of money, but we can make a capital injection of product. And, yes, we love to help others help others!

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Educating orphans and training youth

In Zambia, where 80% of rural families are living below the poverty line (UNICEF), this shipment has provided immeasurable support to schools, children’s homes and unemployed youth in rural Zambia. Before the shipment arrived, staff described the lack of resources that is keeping community children in poverty in one of their target schools:

“The room is packed with a sea of small bodies in khaki uniforms, some sprawling on the dirt floor trying to balance their note books and write at the same time. The lucky few who get desks are tightly squeezed together on the on the same bench, elbows touching as they scrawl notes while the teacher talks and writes on the chalkboard. The metal sheet that serves as a roof makes the room hot and stuffy.”

 

When Crossroads’ shipment arrived from Hong Kong, filled with school goods, toys, furniture and other items, excitement at the news spread quickly!

 

52178pre_c08d21d5c6b07e1

“You should have been here to see the tears of joy trickling down faces,” they wrote. “THANK YOU CROSSROADS!!!! Together we are making things happen. Some kids that came to witness were nervous at seeing what was going on. Some of them have never seen such BIG cars, let alone standing side by side.”

Some of these goods have already been distributed, including:

  • Furniture to outfit the community’s library
  • Toys and educational supplies for school children
  • Baby equipment, toys and supplies for an orphanage caring for 0-3 year olds

 

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Still more of the goods, though, are now waiting onsite to be installed at the project’s most exciting new endeavour: a new school building (right), which will be able to better cater to the community children’s needs with more space, more classrooms and now, thanks to this shipment, better desks and chairs.

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Zambia Snapshot

Zambia Snapshot

Population: 14.83 million

Capital: Lusaka

Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, with a tropical climate.

74.5% of people in Zambia live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 per day.

40% of children are involved in some kind of child labour

1.1 million people are living with HIV.

map

Tanzania

Ester was engaged to be married while she was in her mother’s womb. A child of a traditional tribe in Tanzania, Ester’s parents promised her to a man 50 years older than her. When Ester turned 9, the man, now 60, paid a dowry to her family, ready for marriage, but the little girl was understandably terrified, and ran away. At just 9 years of age, having fled from her family and her community, Ester joined the ranks of the world’s most vulnerable children, at high risk of exploitation and abuse, and certainly unlikely to finish an education. Thankfully for Ester, she finally found haven in a children’s home, one with which we recently partnered on a shipment. They took Ester in and today, she’s attending school and facing a secure future.

This group cares for orphans, street children, and girls escaping child marriages and abuse. The founders have very little themselves, but couldn’t help but act when they saw the needs of those who needed love most.

Tanzania school desks and books

When they received our shipment and wrote of its impact, the scarcity of resources to do the job was felt in every paragraph. “Our small school didn’t have tables and good chairs; we used our local benches. We didn’t have enough stationery, or toys for kids to play with, even a single one,” they said. “Since we received these items our school now has two more classes! Now we have four classes with good tables, chairs, stationery and all materials which are important for the kids to learn.”

Tanzania computers

In fact, the computers, furniture and supplies have lifted the status of their school to a place where other local families are eager to enroll their children! The fees that these other families pay are now making the orphanage itself more sustainable for the future, able to care for more children, and less dependent on donations. We’re so thankful to be part of unlocking the futures of little ones like Ester and her housemates.

Want to sponsor an international shipment?

We have several international shipments ready to set sail and waiting for sponsors! Your company, club, organisation or family can make a shipment happen.

Email us at partnerships@crossroads.org.hk for a list

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Tanzania Snapshot

Capital: Dodoma

Largest City: Dar es Salaam

Population: 47.4 million. About half of the population is under 18.

Population below international poverty line of US$1.25 per day: 68%

There are 1.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS, with 1.2 million children orphaned due to AIDS out of a total of 3.1 million orphans.
21% of children are involved in child labour.

Tanzania_S3203_5

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HIV care and prevention

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Uganda has caused untold misery for children there, with large numbers orphaned and left to be cared for by aging grandparents or in orphanages. While public awareness campaigns and health initiatives have made excellent progress in Uganda, 7.2 percent of the population still lives with HIV (2012).This amounts to an estimated 1.4 million people, which includes 190,000 children and overall an estimated 1.1 million children have been orphaned by the epidemic.

“This shipment has changed us for the better. You have helped us move forward so fast because the things which we would have done in five to ten years, we are now going to achieve within two years.”

DSC01435Crossroads’ partners who received this shipment have an orphanage   and school for children affected by HIV/Aids, educating and preparing them for fulfilled adult lives. They arrange seminars and workshops to spread information about HIV/AIDS and promote safe practices to reduce the chance of infection. It’s important work in this rural area where infrastructure is limited and access to antiretrovirals is difficult.

The feedback we received from this shipment expressed overwhelming gratitude for how the goods have invested in this community. Educational goods were distributed to the NGO’s school, and other schools in the area, beds to the local hospital, and clothing and shoes to impoverished members of the community, especially those affected by HIV/Aids.

DSC01161

“We received pens, pencils, exercise books, paint and art brushes as well as writing papers. These items have made all our education very easy. All students have been able to receive his or her own items unlike before when they were sharing and their work has greatly improved.” Photos show furniture, play equipment and educational aids from Crossroads.

Their administration offices were also given a facelift withgood quality furniture and accessories that they could not have afforded to purchase themselves, allowing them to better operate their programmes educating the community on HIV issues and caring for those suffering through the epidemic.

We are delighted to play a part in such valuable work stemming the tide of HIV, and are hugely grateful to those who made it possible to help so many.

DSC02076

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Uganda Snapshot

Population: 37.58 million
Capital: Kampala

Uganda is a fertile, land-locked country in East Africa, in the Africa Great Lakes region, with a tropical climate.

Great progress has been made in fighting HIV in Uganda, but 1.5 million people still live with the disease, and there are 1 million children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

39% of girls are married by the age of 18. 37.7% of people in Uganda live below the international poverty line of US$1.25/day.

A6

Hospital and health:

“Our patients will be able to be treated on beds rather than before when they were being treated on the floor.” (Hospital beds)

“Sick patients who have been carried when brought to hospital will be able to be put in these wheelchairs.”

“The eye glasses have been distributed to many old people with sight problems and they have been given a new chance to see again. These will last them for years and new hope for them.”

Clothing for vulnerable people:

“Most of the people in our community or village have dressed in second hand clothes and some have been putting on clothes which are worn out with holes but this time, the shipment Crossroads sent us had new clothes which were given to all the community members from babies to the old people.”

“Some of our members have even dropped tears of joy when receiving these goods as they cannot believe that the goods were given to us free of charge by people who don’t know us but care so much about the needy.”

Recreational goods for youth:

“Without this donation from Crossroads, I as a coach would never have got this chance to dress my teams in sports uniform and I would never have got this chance to train my sports students with this sports equipment we have received. Thank you Crossroads.”

“From all the people here, please allow me to say a BIG THANK YOU.”

DSC01161Kato doesn’t know why his parents abandoned him. They left their home in rural Uganda one day in 2009, bound for the capital, and simply never came back. Overnight, the little boy was left completely alone, seemingly forgotten by the world and by those who should have cared for him most.

When local aid workers discovered Kato, he was homeless and 12 years old. “He had no food, no clothing, or shelter,” they told us. They brought Kato to their orphanage where he started school, and today, he’s one of their success
stories. “He’s very happy and so bright,” wrote the staff. “He’s the school football team’s goalkeeper and he wants to be a professional footballer! We treat him like our son.”

Kato’s journey from abandoned, frightened little boy, to an educated teenager with such mighty dreams, is repeated over and over with the children at this home. To date they have reached 680 children with shelter, education and love, helping them grow to thriving, contributing adults.DSC02076

Crossroads shipped to Kato’s orphanage, including goods like a huge amount of school equipment, play equipment and supplies, even uniforms and sports goods for Kato’s soccer team, but also goods for their offices, the local medical clinics and the secondary school. “This shipment has changed us for the better,” they said. “The things we would have done in five to ten years, we are now going to achieve within two years.

We are going to save over US $27,000. This money will help us build more classrooms, pay our staff, treat the sick children as well as buy more land for our future projects. Some of our members shed tears of joy when receiving these goods as they could not believe that the goods were given to us free of charge by people who don’t know us but care so much.”

Sponsor a shipment

You can be part of changing the lives of children like Kato. Email partnerships@crossroads.org.hk for a selection of shipments currently awaiting sponsorship.

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Uganda Snapshot

Population: 37.58 million
Capital: Kampala

Uganda is a fertile, land-locked country in East Africa, in the Africa Great Lakes region, with a tropical climate.

Great progress has been made in fighting HIV in Uganda, but 1.5 million people still live with the disease, and there are 1 million children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

39% of girls are married by the age of 18. 37.7% of people in Uganda live below the international poverty line of US$1.25/day.

A6

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Promoting Dignity: HIV Support for Uganda

The HIV epidemic in Uganda has left more than 1 million children orphaned. In some cases, elderly grandparents take up their care, but, for many, it is older children who are suddenly thrust into responsibility as heads of households.

Crossroads’ shipment to partners in the Bogosa region, Eastern Uganda, was hand-tailored to serve as a ‘bridge’ for support community strategies to bring relief from poverty.

Capital Investment

RS43785_MSMU-287Crossroads’ goal for this shipment, as for all, was to make a capital investment in the lives of those in need, not with finance, but with a strategic injection of goods to equip initiatives that will multiply themselves in years to come.

 

 

 

“Your support is a huge investment in the future of our nation.”

Just imagine the number of people who are going to be influenced through the items you’ve donated. When you set up an institution, you solidify a movement.” It was, they said, in keeping with their motto: “Promoting Dignity.”

RS43664_MSMU-166Medical equipment from Crossroads has revolutionised care at this rural health centre. For the first time, they can offer diabetes and blood pressure tests and have totally upgraded their level of care: “We can now offer inpatient services where clients are hospitalised on proper hospital beds,” they wrote.

 

“We can give better handling of critical patients with these trolleys. People are flocking to the centre for medical services!”

200 Children received toys, clothes and school books. All are from homes headed by widows or elderly grandparents who struggle to keep their little ones in school. Many of the children had never owned a toy before.

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Uganda Snapshot

Population: 37.58 million
Capital: Kampala

Uganda is a fertile, land-locked country in East Africa, in the Africa Great Lakes region, with a tropical climate.

Great progress has been made in fighting HIV in Uganda, but 1.5 million people still live with the disease, and there are 1 million children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

39% of girls are married by the age of 18. 37.7% of people in Uganda live below the international poverty line of US$1.25/day.

map-uganda

 

Care for orphans and vulnerable children

Kenya_1Narok district in Kenya is often referred to as the nation’s breadbasket, rich in natural resources and fertile land. For residents, though, many aspects of life in Narok are not easy, and they see few of the benefits of those rich resources. Many live on less than US$1 a day, barely enough to survive. A lack of clean drinking water, food and housing creates challenges that seem impossible to escape. Crossroads’ partner NGO in Narok is helping their community fight to break free from the web of poverty. They offer agricultural services, distribute food, clothing and household goods, help provide access to clean drinking water and are giving education to children in the area.

Potential impact:

  • Computers will help set up an IT-centre in the school, teaching computer skills to children and young adults.
  • Community-building through the distribution of clothing and other essentials.
  • Establish new professions of vocational training

Shipment includes:

  • Clothing, medical supplies and toys
  • Computers, scanners, printers and more

A90School happens under the trees for these students. Their school doesn’t have the space and facilities to cater for the number of children they want to help.Because the area floods easily in the rainy season, it poses further inconveniences and risks such as increased malaria risk. The school is constructing new classrooms to cope with demand, but needs the furniture to fill them!

The shipment from Crossroads will include furniture and more to equip the newly build classrooms of this school.

 

 



Kenya_2

Joseph, aged 5, is an orphan who lives with his grandmother, together with his brother and two sisters. When their thatched house collapsed, they were left homeless. His grandmother, herself a widow, couldn`t afford to take care of Joseph and his siblings. Thankfully they got some support from our partner organisation who helped his  grandmother to start a little corn selling business which now provides for the needs of the family. 

The shipment will include materials to improve the school Joseph attends, which will care for needs of many more children.


 

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Kenya Snapshot

Capital: Nairobi
Population: 45.55 million. About half of the population is under 18.

Population below international poverty line of US$1.25 per day: 44%

There are 1.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS ,  1 million children orphaned because of AIDS, and 2.6 million orphans in total.
More than a quarter of children are involved in child labour, mostly in agriculture, but also in the mining industry.

A61

Education and community development

Far from the bustling capital city, many villages in Zambia’s countryside are struggling to catch up to the nation’s growth. In this shipment’s target area, people earn their living through subsistence farming, growing maize, pineapples, cassava, bananas, and beans, but only enough to feed their family. Finding extra money for more nutritious food, medicine for a sick child or further education is impossible for many.

“Many children walk almost naked, because they have no clothes, even as areas are growing, children are leaving school, only to end up not doing anything.” wrote our partner NGO.

Zambia_5

Crossroads’ partners are helping their community of 25,000 move out of this hand-to-mouth existence by teaching better farming methods, new business skills,   training young people in computers, supporting village schools and equipping health clinics. They have asked us for a shipment of goods that will boost and grow their education and community development programmes.

Shipment includes:

  • Clothing for orphans, elderly and vulnerable families
  • School stationery and books for community schools
  • Medical supplies and equipment for health clinics
  • School furniture to equip poor village schools

    A87Carlos was neglected by his family because of his disability. He used to walk around on his knees, often getting cuts from broken glass, and couldn’t play with other children. Crossroads’ partner worked with his family to help them appreciate and help Carlos. Staff now give him a regular food and financial allowance that lifts the family’s burden, and as well as clothes, they found crutches for Carlos to be able to walk upright for the first time. Today, he can even play football with the neighborhood children!

  • This shipment will include clothes, school equipment, household items and other goods that will directly benefit vulnerable children like Carlos.


    Communities here are close-knit, but many struggle with a lack of basic daily needs. “Some elderly are starving from a lack of food, or only eating mangoes,” wrote staff.

     

    A51In this community in Eastern Angola, on Zambia’s border, there are so few formal schools that some children have classes under a mango tree (above). During the rainy season, they simply can’t go to school. Others are in a one-room school trying to cater for 200 students. “There are only three desks for 40 pupils at a time and children write on their knees. Most of them sit  on logs,” writes a staff member.Staying in school, and breaking out of poverty,  is difficult with all these odds stacked against them, but Crossroads’ partner is helping children in  Zambia and in Eastern Angola, just across the border, gain access to better educational opportunities. Once those children graduate, they’re then helping them train in useful skills like using computers, beekeeping and fish farming.

     

    This shipment will include goods like school desks and chairs to equip very under-resourced rural schools.

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Zambia Snapshot

Population: 14.83 million
Capital: Lusaka
Zambia is a beautiful, landlocked country in Southern Africa, with a tropical climate.

74.5% of people in Zambia live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 per day.
40% of children are involved in some kind of child labour
1.1 million people are living with HIV.

A54