Investing in Post-war Communities

Women and children are particularly vulnerable, with so many men lost in the conflict.

S3938 Uganda project profile-5The devastating conflict in Northern Uganda officially ended a decade ago, but even though people have returned home, life is far from restored. Families are deeply traumatised from the war’s atrocities, and unemployment is high. Women and children are particularly vulnerable, with so many men lost in the conflict.
Crossroads’ partners are working in these recovering communities to see more children succeed in school, and more youth and women trained in income-generating skills. “Our children have not been able to excel in their studies simply because of lack of essentials like mathematical sets and other things,” they wrote. “The need for scholastic tools, materials like books, pens, pencils, and drawing and painting kits is enormous.” Their soap-making project has been a joyful success story. Vulnerable women and widows learn how to make soap, and are now selling around 100L each day. This brings income to the women, who can now feed their families and keep their children in school, and it lets the community buy quality soap made locally.

S3938 Uganda project profile-4
Crossroads is shipping school supplies and equipment, along with school desks and chairs, and goods for our partners’ other programmes: hospital beds, medical supplies, office furniture and clothes and shoes for the poorest families.

This woman (left), widowed and HIV positive, was given a small loan by our partners to start a cassava business, which is now allowing her to support her family.


S3938 Uganda project profile-2Rose (left) has been left doubly vulnerable to poverty: a widow, and HIV positive. In July 2010, Crossroads’ partners gave Rose a sewing machine along with training in tailoring. It was a wise investment, indeed! After starting a small business, Rose has been able to generate sufficient income to buy three more sewing machines. She has been encouraged to train two more people in tailoring every year, and she now employs six of these people. As a result, Rose is now living a self-reliant and successful life and the returns on this investment are multiplying throughout her community.


Crossroads’ shipment will include furniture and equipment to support the administration of programmes like the job-creation scheme that helped Rose, so far reaching 800 beneficiaries.

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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

Building a Supportive Community

 

…but it is a world away from the facilities available there.

Microsoft Word - S3493 Uganda Project profile_EDITED_TY

In this town in Central Uganda, people face daily struggles to feed their families, send their children to school and access health care. It may be only 50 km from the capital, Kampala, but it is a world away from the facilities available there. The people engage in subsistence farming, petty trading and some go fishing. Everyone finds it difficult to make ends meet. Crossroads is shipping to a project engaged in community development programmes, including a nursery and primary school, construction of homes for the elderly and disabled, supporting children with HIV/AIDS, skills training for young people including small scale income-generating plans, and renovation of community wells and springs.

Potential impact:

  • Improved facilities and equipment for 1400 school children
  • Equipping two new village schools for 500 children
  • Computers for skills training for 600 young people

Microsoft Word - S3493 Uganda Project profile_EDITED_TY

We are told that Justine (right) was one of the most beautiful teenagers in her village; she married early and had 3 children. But tragically, they all died, her husband abandoned her and she fell victim to a wasting disease. Justine now lives with her elderly mother, and our partners have built them a 3 roomed house. She is a remarkable woman, with a welcoming spirit, who keeps smiling and showing love and gratitude to those around her.

 

 


Shipment includes:

  • Books, stationery and basic school supplies
  • School furniture and toys
  • Computers for vocational training & administration
  • Clothing and household goods for local communities.

 

This shipment will help our partners build homes for vulnerable elderly and disabled people by including administrative goods like office equipment.

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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

Orphanage and food distribution

Romania_5The last 25 years have been a difficult period for Romania.
Despite large strides, the poverty rate in Romania is still among the highest in the EU. Around 20% of the people currently live in poverty, on an income of less than US$3.50 a day. Children living on the streets, especially common amongst the marginalised Romani people (gypsies), are vulnerable to trafficking and abuse. Crossroads’ consignee runs and orphanage that is turning around the lives of street children by giving them shelter and education, and establishing food distribution centres throughout Romania. Our shipment will help them expand their services to care for 100 more children.

Potential impact:

  • Winter clothing for 2000 children
  • Increased capacity of the orphanage for 100 children
  • School supplies for 2000 children
  • Computers for education use

Shipment includes:

  • Beds, blankets, pillows and other bedding related items
  • Computers
  • Winter coats

Roamnia_4“Today we have 90 children,” writes our partner. “The fact is that all of our children are angelic and beautiful, but they did not arrive that way. At first they are frightened, distrustful, undernourished, and covered with lice and internal parasites. Many of the new children have lived such difficult lives that they barely even know how to play or laugh with other children. All that they know is hunger and basic survival.  Some have spent time on the streets begging daily for food or for a few coins to give to an alcoholic parent.  They are familiar with filth and being cold without a coat or shoes. Some have been beaten, and some have been abused. When you add these factors together and put it all inside of a little boy or little girl, he or she does not appear very pretty.

Romania_3Within a few weeks or a month, their hearts begin to soften as they realize every day breakfast will be waiting for them, and also lunch, dinner, and even a mid-afternoon snack. Changes also begin to happen when they are treated for the health and parasite problems, given clean clothes, and a warm bed provided. Soon they are running in the yard and playing with the other children.’’

 

Crossroads’ shipment will help another 100 children in Romania to escape the streets to find shelter and a normal life.

 

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Romania Snapshot

Population: 21.77 million
Capital: Bucharest

Population below national poverty line of US$3.50 per day: 21.5%

Infant mortality rates are among the highest in Europe. Access to health care is not commonly available for the poor.

Based on GDP stats, Romania is the 9th poorest country in Europe out of 50, with an average income of USD 12.80 per person.

A74

The filthy waters swirled around their family home, as 10 year old Inamullah* stared in growing fear. They had now burst over the river bank and showed no signs of slowing down.

“Stay inside until the tide goes down”, his relatives had told him. But was the house safe? Already water was pouring into the ground floor and he ran to see if it was approaching the second. There was no doubt. Any moment now, they would need to move to the third floor and who knew how long even it would be safe?

The young boy needed wisdom beyond his own. While he could make a plan for himself and his older brother, a harder question was beyond his ability to solve. His mother, an old, diabetic woman, could not manage to climb those stairs in the face of the swirling waters. Inamullah sought help from his 12 year old brother who was not much bigger or stronger and, try as they might, proved too weak to carry their mother out.

For the two children, the risk of losing her was not only horrifying but hauntingly familiar. Only five years earlier, they had lost their father to the earthquake in Pakistan. Neither brother would forget the terrifying shudders of the earth that day, nor the sickening moment of realization that their dad would never come home again. Surely now they could not lose their mother as well?

Natural disasters are nondiscriminatory: they strike where they will and affect people regardless of social class or family life. In the end, the two could only gaze in abject horror as the relentless waters swept their mother away from their grasp and out of their lives. All that remained for them, in their shocked state, was to try to cheat death themselves.

Somewhere in the dark waters, Inamullah found a rubber tire and hung on to it with what little strength remained. It bobbed and ducked in the violent waters as he tried to avoid the floating debris they carried at terrifying speeds in their raging path. It was thirteen hours before rescue workers found him and took him to safety. There he was reunited with his brother and the two, now orphaned, later spoke of their battle.

“We can’t sleep at night” they said, in what we would probably call post trauma response. “We are still scared of the floods. And we are all alone now that our mother has gone. She was all we had.”

Inamullah’s mother was just one of the death toll following Pakistan’s devastating floods in 2010. The body count was close to 2,000, but that statistic hides the true human cost of the disaster. 20 million people in Pakistan were estimated to be affected. Even though most of these displaced people are now beginning to return home, each day after they returned held countless, perilous risks. There was a very serious lack of clean water, with many people forced to drink from dirty canals and other sources. There were reports of widespread cholera outbreaks, as well as dysentery and diarrhea. These illnesses can be fatal, especially for the 3.5 million children, many of whom were already malnourished due to a life of chronic poverty.

Schools were hit too. Children returned to find that, along with the rest of the buildings, their schools had been washed away. The UNHCR estimated that around 10,000 schools were destroyed by the flooding, as well as many that were rendered unusable because they were serving as temporary shelters for people who lost their homes.

After the disaster, Crossroads was immediately in consultation with people in Pakistan who were working with those affected. The kind of help they needed varied with each stage of the recovery process, but, for the load we initially sent, they asked us to gather hygiene kits, kitchen sets and school supplies. Many people in Hong Kong responded generously by donating funds and running collection drives to help the flood victims. The container was sent to Pakistan and the goods inside reached people rebuilding their lives in new homes and those living temporarily in camps and shelters.

*Name changed

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