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

 

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Care and Capacity Building for Women, elderly and Children

Women in Cameroon from impoverished families often live in precarious situations. If they lose their husbands, they may be driven from the family home, and left to care for children with no income. If they weren’t taught skills or learnt to read and write, they can be forced into poorly paid work in vulnerable conditions, and even prostitution. Crossroads is sending a shipment to a project which has a number of programmes reaching out to vulnerable women and children. They offer care and support to widows, orphans, elderly people and children in difficult family situations. They have a micro-finance project, a library for youth and social and financial support for HIV-positive pregnant women and children.

Potential impact:Cameroon_S2893_2

  • Clothing & household equipment for hundreds of widows and orphans
  • Equipment for youth programme for 1000 young people
  • Equipment for vocational training programmes for 500 families.

 
Cameroon_S2893_1

Shipment includes:

  • Books, stationery and basic school supplies
  • Toys and sports equipment
  • Computers for vocational training and administration
  • Clothing and household goods for vulnerable families.

 

 


Cameroon_S2893_4

 

Mama Elizabeth lost her husband in 2002, and was left with 8 children to raise and no job. Our partner organisation, gave her training – not only to make baskets, but also to establish a micro-enterprise to market and sell them. She has her dignity, and her children are fed and can attend school.

 

Our shipment will provide materials to help in vocational training to help more people like Mama Elizabeth.

 

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Cameroon Snapshot

Population: 22.25 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. Less than half of children go on to secondary education, and over 40% are involved in some kind of child labour. In rural areas, less than half the population has access to clean water and sanitation.

Cameroon_S2893_5

IMG_0016In Northern Uganda, a small nursery school is a haven of peace and fun for little children who would otherwise be simply playing in the dirt. The villages in this war-torn area have suffered immeasurably over the years, and the people still battle with problems of HIV/AIDS and huge unemployment, but they are now trying to rebuild lives and livelihoods. Parents have hopes for their children beyond the subsistence farming they themselves have experienced. This nursery school received a shipment from Crossroads in 2008, receiving goods which transformed the lives of many children. They currently have 72 children attending.

 

11587scr_c1142be5a0aa3ac

 

 

As the children have grown, the school is now ready to open a primary school, and have asked Crossroads for books, computers, school furniture and uniforms, plus the equipment necessary for a first aid room. They are also looking to start vocational skills training for older pupils, and have asked for tools, sewing machines and other items to help with this.

 

IMG_0093

 

11594scr_68dd4ce54a67bd5

 

 

We hope that with an injection of further goods from Crossroads, these children happily playing with toys provided in the last container will have a more secure future education and the route to a better life.

 

 

 


Shipment includes:

  •  Stationery, Computers, books, uniforms, school & office furniture to equip the new primary school
  •  Medical equipment for first aid, and items for vocational skills training.

 

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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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

In the isolated region of far western Cameroon, village women could see that their children were getting sick too often. They would break bones easily, had discoloured teeth, and the distended round bellies that indicated malnutrition. “Almost everyone in the village was malnourished,” said a visitor conducting assessments. It wasn’t until an NGO began to run education programmes in their district, especially for mothers and grandmothers in the community, that the women realised the diet they were feeding their families – almost completely consisting of carbohydrates – could be making them sick.

Women cooking class“It was not that they did not have the food needed for a healthy diet,” one NGO staff member told us, “but that they did not know how to go about it.” After running seminars on food and nutrition (left), they saw the women eagerly learn what kinds of proteins and vegetables would give their children a balanced, healthy diet. Now, families in these Cameroonian villages grow beans and smoke fish to eat with their plantains and grind peanuts into paste for a nutritious, protein rich food, even growing enough to sell at market. It’s basic knowledge that has revolutionised the health of the community, meaning less sickness, fewer children dying early, and women better empowered to take care of their families.

These nutritional seminars, which have reached more than 800 families, and counting, are just one of the transformative programmes run by the NGO. They teach communities to keep bees for honey, they help with the basic needs of orphans and vulnerable children, and they give regular radio broadcasts educating people about HIV/Aids, and more.

They have now asked Crossroads for a shipment that will help them reach out to more people in western Cameroon. “Our offices are inadequately equipped,” they write. They need office furniture and computers, school furniture and clothes to help community children, and other goods. “98% of this area is cut off from anywhere else,” they told us. There is no road at all leading to much of the region.

We’re excited to be bringing this shipment together to support their work in isolated communities that is, literally, transforming and saving lives.

Sponsor a shipment

Crossroads is looking for sponsors for upcoming international shipments like this one! Email partnerships@crossroads.org.hk for a list of projects needing your help.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Cameroon Snapshot

Population: 22.25 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. Less than half of children go on to secondary education, and over 40% are involved in some kind of child labour. In rural areas, less than half the population has access to clean water and sanitation.

Cameroon_S2893_5

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“Hope is the hardest thing to find…” say those trying to rebuild Uganda’s northern areas devastated by two decades of war.

“Yes, the fighting has stopped, but our people don’t know how to re-start life. They have no seed to sow, no wood for carpentry, no tools for mechanical work.  It is hard not to give up.”

Mama Maliamungu (pictured below) is an example. She fled Uganda during the fighting and returned ‘home’ only to find many family members dead and her house destroyed. Mama Maliamungu became the sole carer for several orphaned grandchildren.

She could have become a further Ugandan statistic, had a non-profit not come to her rescue. They taught her how to make market baskets from plastic strapping. By selling six bags a day, Mama has managed to rebuild her home and send her grandchildren to school.

She is more fortunate than most. “It’s hard to give people what they need to survive,” locals tell us.  “Many have spent 20 years without education and, even if we teach them skills, how can we put the tools or resources in their hands so they can earn a living?”

That’s where Crossroads has been involved. We have often shipped to Northern Uganda and 2012 was no exception. What Hong Kong doesn’t need can literally save a life in this devastated community. Thank you for standing with us.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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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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When Katya* was found by local schoolteacher Eva, she was filthy and infested with lice, living without parents in a small village house. She had not bathed in several weeks and was traumatised after her alcoholic mother abandoned her, and her older brother was killed by a car.

It’s children like Katya, alone and vulnerable, that are easy targets for human traffickers. Official statistics estimate there are 25,000 Moldovan victims of human trafficking, and 40% of them are children.

Katya shows Crossroads staff the squalid conditions of the home in which she lived with her brother before being fostered.

Katya shows Crossroads staff the squalid conditions of the home in which she lived with her brother before being fostered.

Thankfully for Katya, Eva and her husband couldn’t bear to leave the little girl alone in the village, and brought her into their own home as a foster daughter. Today, Katya is a bright, well-dressed, articulate teenager, who loves her foster parents. The family, though, still struggles to make ends meet in a place that has been classified as Europe’s poorest nation.

Crossroads partnered with an NGO in the region to help foster families like Katya’s, shipping a container of goods that would help relieve the pressure of poverty. Today, Katya is happy, healthy and thriving in her foster family.

We shipped toys, stationery, household goods for foster families, and a large quantity of educational items that they are now using in their support centres. Families living in poverty, who may be tempted to give up their children to state-run institutions, are given the care, support and respite they need to keep their children within the family home.

*Not her real name

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Moldova Snapshot

Moldova Population: 3.55 million

Capital: Chișinău

Moldova is the poorest nation in Europe. There are currently 7,000 children in staterun institutions but only 2% are orphans (BBC). Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, formerly part of the Soviet Union. Our partner project is actually based in Transnistria, a breakaway state, autonomous but with limited international recognition. It has a population of 505 thousand, and its capital is Tiraspol.Of children who pass through orphanages in Moldova, one in 10 commits suicide and one in 5 become involved in crime

Moldova map

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The tourist write-up made it sound idyllic to spend Easter in Jerusalem, a city filled with history. What it didn’t mention was the fact that the area would be filled with military and police for the holiday weekend. When Crossroads representatives took a follow-up trip to the region, they found the armed forces on 100% alert.

Israel_girls_on_chairsThe media had extended the call to the population at large. “If you own a gun, carry it,” it had warned. “If you need to use it, do!” Our team encountered the tension repeatedly. Passing through a military checkpoint near Jerusalem, for example, their guide said, “Bombs are thrown here all the time. Just the other day, a homemade gasoline bomb exploded on this spot.”

As the Middle Eastern conflict continues, tourists and businesspeople are staying away from the area in droves. As a result, the local economy is plunging, making everyday life a battle for the average family. Nearly a third of children in Israel now live below the poverty line. Many elderly people are similarly vulnerable when poverty strikes. People simply can’t find enough work in the current climate, and the only real hope for many families is to be helped by an aid organisation.

“Poverty is hidden in this country,” an aid worker in Israel told us. “As a visitor, it might not be visible to you, but scratch beneath the surface and you will find real need.”

She should know. She liaises with organisations all over the country who are trying to supply life’s basics. “They can’t afford clothes, shoes, furniture, medical care. Some are even struggling to find food…” The outlets she supplies offer all these things.

Crossroads has helped too, and now supplies containers to the region several times a year.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Mubalama, a small boy living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, suffered tragedy before he had even reached school age.

His father was a soldier in the Congo’s brutal civil war, which still affects parts of the nation today, and he was killed when Mubalama was still only around 5 years old.

His father’s death meant the death of the family’s income, and their stability. Mubalama faced a bleak and uncertain future.

Congo_child

A school run by a local NGO discovered Mubalama and accepted him into their program for underprivileged children. “He was very little when we found him,” they told us, “and he had no shoes.”

After just three years at the school, Mubalama is a changed child. Healthy, and well-fed, under their feeding program, he is filled with hope and enthusiasm for learning. “His dream is to become the next president of DR Congo!” the agency told us.

It was children like Mubalama that we had in mind when we saw the joyful feedback photos from one partner in DR Congo who received a shipment from Crossroads, filled with goods like clothing, shoes, furniture and equipment to help them serve impoverished communities.

Congo_children_receives_new_toys

Much more than simply goods, the items were an injection of hope to this region where people have struggled so much.

“Your help was very great to us and helped us so much in all ways,” wrote a local Congolese staff member. “This has brought unity and peace in our community.”

Want to sponsor a shipment?

Visit crf-hk.preview.strattic.io/our-needs/be-a-star to browse sponsorship opportunities, including shipments waiting for funding.

Want to receive a shipment?

Can we help your NGO with donated goods to equip your work? Click here: crf-hk.preview.strattic.io/requestgoods

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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DR Congo Snapshot

Population: 77.43 million
Capital: Kinshasa

DR Congo is located in central sub-Saharan Africa, straddling the equator. It experiences the highest frequency of thunderstorms in the world with a tropical climate.

Although, one of the most resource rich nations in the world,  74% of people in DR Congo live below the international poverty line of US$1.25/day, one of the highest rates in the world.

A11

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For a person living with AIDS in rural Uganda, death hovers many months before they actually die. Anti-retroviral drugs are available in some areas, but this does not help those who are too poor to pay for treatment, or who live too far from a clinic.

Uganda_a_room_with_beds

As AIDS-related illnesses like tuberculosis, parasitic infections and cancers attack the body, the person grows weaker and thinner, over the course of months, eventually confined to bed where family members must care for them until they die.

The disease leaves thousands of orphans, which in turns creates strain on the elderly, who are often left in charge of a houseful of children with no parents, and no way to earn a steady income.

One NGO in Eastern Uganda who serves hundreds of HIV-affected people annually asked Crossroads for help with goods that could support their programmes and bring relief to those suffering so much. After receiving the container, they reported the impact with joy.

Medical equipment donated from Hong Kong has now been installed in the local health centres. “We can now offer inpatient services where clients are hospitalized on proper hospital beds, and give better handling of critical patients with the provided trolleys. We also can provide diabetes and blood pressure tests,” they said. “As a result of this donation we have been able to upgrade our services and are now seeing a number of people flocking to the centre for medical services.”

200 children from 6 different villages who were struggling to stay in school and whose homes are headed by widows or elderly people received toys, clothes and school books. Many had never owned a toy before.

Children who had previously been writing on the ground because they had no exercise books excitedly received exercise books and stationery.

A job creation scheme for women benefited from the container too: Crossroads sent cooking utensils and crockery which a group of women will use in a small catering business, generating income for them to be able to keep their children in school. They also used some of the clothing from Crossroads as uniforms for their catering business (above left).

Uganda_group_of_girls

The stories go on and on. Almost every part of the community was touched by the goods, given by so many generous Hong Kong donors, and will now experience real change.

Do you want to be part of an overseas shipment? Crossroads is seeking sponsors for containers bound for nations around the world where exciting projects are taking place. Email engagement@crossroads.org.hk to see how you can get involved!

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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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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