Benin, bordered by Togo and Nigeria in West Africa, is rich in natural beauty and cultural history, but is one of the world’s poorest nations. Benin’s 9.4 million people still lack access to basic social services and are dependent upon agriculture and farming crops like corn or soya, which is threatened by climate change, further endangering already fragile livelihoods.
Crossroads sent a shipment bound for a region of Benin where our NGO partners are addressing these needs through a carefully-structured system of women’s “micro companies”, where women who show motivation and a desire to change their circumstances attend evening training and educational sessions for 3 years.
“Since receiving the container there have been great changes in the lives of the population.” – NGO staff
Sewing machines from Crossroads’ container are helping women in poor communities learn skills that are helping them start businesses and lift their families out of poverty.
Computers and furniture from the shipment have set up a community computer centre, where eager youth can now access the internet, use computers for their school work and engage with the wider world.
Crossroads volunteers loading the Benin container in Hong Kong
The shipment was a huge boost to our partners’ operations, with goods that not only helped their own offices and administration, but were a very real investment in their job creation and training projects.
Impact of Crossroads’ shipment so far:
- Computers and furniture set up a new computer centre, now attended by 110 people per day. 20 youth have been formally trained in computer skills already, and 5 young people have been employed to manage the centre.
- 30 young women are enrolled in dressmaking classes using sewing machines from the shipment, with several already having completed the training.
- A care home for vulnerable children has increased its capacity from 30 to 60 children, thanks to furniture and household goods from the shipment.
- 2,000 of the area’s most vulnerable, like orphans, widows and elderly, were reached with distribution of essentials from the shipment including clothing and mattresses.
- An estimated 3,000 people were directly impacted by goods from the shipment, with a further 20,000 estimated to be indirectly impacted.
We’re grateful to all who contributed to this shipment, investing in the lives of the poor in Benin. Turn over for more stories of how the goods have touched people’s individual lives!
Madeleine is widowed, with three children to support. She’s thankful to be learning how to sew, thanks to the sewing machines from Crossroads, and hopes to use her newfound skills to earn an income.
Martine is a widow, and was unemployed, finding it very hard to climb out of poverty. Now that she’s learnt sewing skills using the equipment from Crossroads’ shipment, she’s been able to take on small jobs and can now afford to buy clothes for herself and her children, and feed them properly, as well as pay for their health and education.
Grace, in 3rd form, is a grateful recipient of a bicycle from Crossroad’s shipment. It was hard for her to get to school on time, traveling on foot, and she was often late for class even if she left home early. Having a bike has drastically reduced her commute and made it that much easier for her to stay in school and improve her future!
Jacques was born healthy, but suffered an illness that left him paralysed later in childhood. His mobility is severely limited, and he had no way to get around without the help of his mother. Now, with a wheelchair from Crossroads’ shipment, he’s proud and grateful to be able to control his own mobility and has renewed hope for the future.
“Our thanks to Crossroads Foundation of Hong-Kong and DHL for the sewing and embroidery machines,” said the women’s cooperative, in a joyful statement. “
“We are learning and working together for the good of our children and our homes.”