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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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

Since late 2016, a conflict has been worsening in Cameroon between the French and English speaking populations. Tensions and violence have forced more than 160,000 people to flee their homes, becoming refugees or internally displaced people. Our partners in Cameroon on this shipment are working hard to continue to support health, education and human rights amidst the often chaotic conditions faced by their communities. “Most of the schools have been closed,” they write, “and the children are being deprived of their right to education.”

We have shipped twice to these partners, and both shipments have been highly strategic in their efforts to improve health, education and poverty in their communities. They told us that previous shipments have made impacts such as:

  • Increasing the exam success rate at schools, when ten institutions were given improved school supplies and furniture.
  • Better service and patient comfort levels at a rural health centre, after receiving medical supplies and equipment.
  • Upgrading head office and facilities using furniture, appliances and office equipment, helping them administer projects more effectively and retain staff.
  • More than 100 aid workers and other key stakeholders given training at workshops using equipment and supplies from Crossroads’ shipments.

With this next shipment, they have asked for goods to extend and expand their projects, such as a scheme to train 300 women in basic bookkeeping and business skills, and to launch a new HIV/Aids education campaign, as well as much more. We are grateful for another opportunity to give a capital investment of goods into their work once again.


How donated goods built a school

In one of Crossroads’ previous shipments to these partners, we included school goods and clothing. We couldn’t have imagined the impact these simple items could have on our partners’ orphanage. The goods kickstarted an education wing of the children’s home, and now they have a functioning school for these children who can now access caring, quality education. Here’s how they described it:

“The children in the orphanage had no new clothes and toys to play with nor books for reading.  We remedied this situation by providing them with clothes, toys and books. We made sure they were visited by national and international staff and volunteers who used the toys to play with them and the books to help them read. They then developed a culture of reading which lead to the building of a classroom in the premises of the orphanage. 

Our organisation carried out an online fundraising campaign to help raise money to build two classrooms. We achieved our goal and today there is a school in the orphanage.”

 

We look forward to including more clothing and school goods in this upcoming shipment.


The gift of basic furniture can lift the profile and build the capacity of a grassroots organisation. In our last shipment to these partners, they spoke of the impact of office furniture form the shipment: “All our staff now have office tables and chairs to sit on for better working conditions. We hold planning meetings with staff and stakeholders in our conference room which is solely equipped with donations received from Crossroad.” This next shipment will include furniture and other goods to equip the administration of projects.


People displaced by conflict through Cameroon are struggling with trauma, loss, and unemployment. Our partners support both displaced people in their new communities and those in the host communities who were already living in poverty, in great need of essentials like clothing, shoes and bedding.

Women displaced by war are offered counselling and job training through our partners’ projects. Crossroads included sewing machines in our last shipment, which are being used to help women learn dressmaking skills. This shipment will include more goods for job creation such as hairdressing equipment.

 

REFERENCE NO. S3318B

 

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Cameroon snapshot

Population: 25.2 million
Capital: Yaoundé

Cameroon is in the west Central Africa region, with natural features including beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas.

Although the country as a whole has improved standards of literacy and healthcare, there is still a long way to go. Fewer than half of children go on to secondary education, and over 40% are involved in some kind of child labour. The current conflict has created more than 160,000 displaced people, and caused havoc in education and healthcare services.
Source: UNICEF

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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

Guinea has long struggled with instability and internal conflict, and this has slowed development. Despite Guinea’s vast mineral wealth, the people of Guinea are amongst the poorest in West Africa and ethnic tensions often boil over into violent clashes. These problems have been made worse in recent years by the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees from the neighbouring countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Literacy rates are low, with only 46.3% of the population literate, and that percentage is lower still for women.

Our NGO partners in the region are running a number of projects to try and address the multi-faceted problems causing poverty. They travel around rural areas offering their programmes in literacy, small business training and poverty alleviation.

As well as goods to invest in strategic educational projects, they asked for some basic necessities like clothing. “In some areas we have found people without clothes and shoes,” they said, “We help them by providing them these items, particularly children who are walking a lot for school.”

We are preparing a shipment of goods to equip and expand their many projects, including computers, educational supplies, school bags, books, electrical goods, school and office furniture, clothing and more.

LITERACY AS A PATHWAY OUT OF POVERTY

Literacy rates in Guinea are shockingly low: 46.3% (UNESCO, 2014). That means fewer than half of the population can read and write, which helps keep people trapped in poverty. Our partners are pioneering a literacy programme in Guinean communities, whereby they train ‘peer educators’ in how to teach literacy skills to their fellow villagers, then open and manage literacy training centres.

They have told us that they need educational equipment to help bring these centres to life! We are pleased to be including educational goods in our shipment to support their literacy and primary school projects, like books, stationery, furniture, school desks and chairs, and whiteboards.

SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT

“The aim is to help vulnerable women to become financially independent,” said our partners of their small business startup programmes. They travel the countryside offering training in skills like baking or soap-making, equipping women to start their own business to support their families. Goods from this shipment will help our partners administer programmes like these.

 


“Guinea has a high level of natural resources,” write our partners, “but most Guineans are living in poverty, particularly in rural areas where women are most affected.” Our partners are working hard on solutions, like small business training, agricultural training and building a new school for children in poverty.


Reference No. S3985

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Guinea snapshot

Population: 12.72 million
Capital: Conakry
Official language: French
Population below poverty line of US$1.90 per day: 35.3%

Despite Guinea’s wealth in natural resources, instability and internal conflict have left the country underdeveloped. Guinea’s people are amongst the poorest in West Africa and there are frequent ethnic clashes. Although 2010 saw the country’s first democratic election, there is still much work to be done in easing Guinea’s internal tensions and in improving the lives of its people.
Source: UN WFP and BBC

 

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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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The offer was huge: 7,000 brand new toys, including dinosaurs and remote controlled dolls, all battery operated, from a well-known multinational toy company. It was a larger donation than we could immediately handle at our own warehouse, but we knew there might be Hong Kong NGOs in our Global Hand network who would jump at the offer. We started asking our local partners if they could use the toys for children in their programmes, and several put up their hands, including a project that runs school for sick children in hospital, mobile toy library for underprivileged areas, and a group working with children with special needs.

One little boy with special needs was particularly overjoyed with his new dinosaur. He told staff that he had been wanting a dinosaur toy for a long time, even asking for it last Christmas. “My wish has come true!” he shouted joyfully, clutching the toy for dear life.

The ripple effects of these toys are being felt beyond their young recipients. One of the NGOs who received toys runs an evening meal box programme for elderly in poverty, and some of the toys were given out to elderly for their families. Yuk Ching, who attends the programme, is an elderly grandma living on a shoestring budget. She spoke with tears in her eyes of what the gift meant to her and her family: “As a grandmother, I never give any gifts to my grandchildren,” she said. “I don’t know where the toy shops are, and I can’t afford it. This is the first time I’ve been able to give gifts to my grandson and granddaughter!”

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Walking many miles to school can make it hard for children to access an education. Our partners in Zambia knew that for kids in remote villages where they operate, just getting to class can mean hours walking in difficult weather, on rocky or dusty roads. Some children miss out on school entirely, or don’t finish their education because there’s no school in their village.

zambiabus6

It was a joy, then, when a Hong Kong NGO donated an excellent van to Crossroads, which we could include in a shipment to our partners in Zambia. They’re now using it as a school bus for children in remote villages, making it that much easier to access school, and a brighter future! With enrollment expanding from 85 students to a whopping 400 at the end of 2016, the new ‘bus’ couldn’t have come at a better time.

zambiabus2

“[We were] extremely excited about the bus,” wrote the Zambian staff. “It was so exciting seeing this come out of the container to the jubilation of all the people that were part of the offloading program. A test drive was taken right away. It will be very useful to us in fulfilling our dream of enrolling more kids.”

zambiabus5

zambiabus4

Also included in the shipment were computers, shoes, clothes, school supplies, furniture and toys, many of which will equip new classrooms for the expanding school.

We’re proud of these children and their families for battling the odds to access education, and so grateful to all the volunteers and sponsors who made this shipment possible!

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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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.A65

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fatou

Fatou has been a fish seller in the Gambia for more than fifteen years, but until recently, she struggled to support her family. Fatou’s husband died several years ago, leaving her a single mother of six, and providing for their needs was very difficult. At the end of each day,  Fatou needed to travel ten kilometres from her base in the village to preserve her stock of fish in refrigerators overnight, keeping them in good enough condition to sell. The money and time spent on these trips, and the fee paid to the facility owners each night made it feel impossible for Fatou to get ahead financially.

When Crossroads’ partners, an NGO in Fatou’s area, set up a Fish Preservation Centre, it changed Fatou’s life. A refrigerator from Crossroads’ shipment is one of those installed in the centre, and it now means Fatou and women like her no longer have to make expensive, long trips to preserve their precious fish supplies! Fatou has been able to save money and time and can provide for her family better than before. Her children are able to continue their education, thanks to the increased income.

Fatou’s life is just one of hundreds touched by this shipment to the Gambia. Fatou’s neighbour, Samba, is a farmer who had been unable to work for months, due to an injury on his foot. With a donation of sturdy, strong boots from Crossroads’ shipment, though, Samba was able to protect his feet safely, and was delighted to start farming again immediately, protecting his source of income.

More photos of the goods distribution are below:

baby-clothes

Baby clothes from the shipment are being used in the maternity ward of a community health facility.

desks-and-chairs

School desks and chairs on their way to enrich and expand classrooms.

Girls, who often find it difficult to remain in school, were encouraged by the injection of text books and stationery to their school.

Want to help impact an entire community?

We have shipments awaiting sponsorship, to places all over the world. Email partnerships@crossroads.org.hk to talk about how you can sponsor a shipment!

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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light-be“Light Home is possibly the turning point of my life,” says Mrs Lee, a client of Crossroads’ partner Light Be. The social enterprise organisation arranges affordable housing, or ‘Light Homes’, by connecting Hong Kong landlords with underprivileged families. But it can take more than four walls and a roof to feel like home. Many families can’t afford the upfront costs to furnish their apartments with all the furniture and household goods they need. Crossroads has been privileged to partner with Light Be by supplying some of these items for their clients.

“Every month we go to Crossroads and look for furniture that will fit the needs of the families we serve,” says Ricky of Light Be. “If it’s an empty apartment, you won’t feel at home. This helps make the overall experience of housing complete. It might be the first time in two years that someone has had a table of their own.”

Crossroads loves working with Light Be, and the feeling seems to be mutual! “I think Crossroads provides the biggest selection of second-hand furniture in Hong Kong,” says Ricky. “We have a common mission, in terms of optimising resources in this city. It’s like other NGOs we work with. We fill each other’s gaps.”

Donate goods to help people in need

Crossroads relies on donations of goods to be able to help families in Hong Kong, and internationally. If you’ve got good quality items to give, we want to hear from you! Visit our Donate Goods page.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Food security and community development

In rural eastern Zambia, life can be dire for women in vulnerable situations, like widows, sex workers, and girls from poor families. Child marriage is still common when families can’t afford to support all their children, and women who lose their husbands often have no way at all to support themselves, beyond growing a small amount of food. Their children may have to drop out of school, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

 

This shipment is equipping an organisation to continue their work with the most vulnerable women in their district of 1.7 million. “In our area about 78% of the people live in abject or severe poverty,” they told us. They’re helping by training women in business skills, then giving small loans to start business of their own. Since starting in 2010, more than 5,300 women have benefited! The NGO also supports orphans to stay in school, and has further programmes to benefit entire communities, such as building safe, hygienic toilets for schools, digging boreholes and caring for HIV patients.

 

Shipment includes:

  • Computers, to train youth in computer skills
  • Clothing for children and women in women’s empowerment programmes
  • Office furniture and supplies for administrative centres
  • Books for new community library

4The Lungu family know what it means to feel starving. Each year, their small farm plot only grew enough food to last three months. For the rest of the year, they lived on what small amount of food their meagre income could purchase, which was scarcely enough to live on.

Today, as they stand in front of the granary (above), the Lungus feel more secure. Crossroads’ partner worked in their village to teach people better, higher yield agricultural techniques like soil management, crop rotation and irrigation. “Every farmer is expected to experiment with small, safe innovations to see what methods work best,” wrote our partners. Now the Lungu family farm grows enough food to last 12 months – enough to see them through to each annual harvest.

This shipment will include goods to  will help administer programmes that work with 900 families like the Lungus on agricultural techniques.


3Maiko (left) didn’t think he would ever finish school. His parents died of HIV/Aids, leaving Maiko and his siblings in the care of their elderly grandfather. Crossroads’ partners took Maiko into their programme and supported him, not only through school but on to a tertiary Education College. Now, Maiko works as a teacher and supports his entire family.

Clothes, stationery, toys and other goods in this shipment will help our partner care for orphans like Maiko, transforming their lives and giving them great opportunities.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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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.A65

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