What’s the ideal solution for a mother who wants to work in Hong Kong while caring for the family and for the environment?

Bella Ip describes the journey she took, one that found answers, first for herself and then for other Hong Kong women.

She writes:

“Being a mother, I wanted to work near home with flexible working hours.

“Being an idealist, I would not compromise on any unethical commercial activities.

“Being an environmentalist, I wanted to help ease the burden on Mother Earth.”

Bella took out a loan and began making environmentally friendly soap. Now, she says, “I want to share this experience, knowledge and skills with more people, especially women. By becoming a soap-maker, they can spend more time at home taking care of their family, especially their children.”

So-Soap-(2)

So…Soap is not only responsible to the women it employs, it is also responsible to the environment. The soap is produced with eco-friendly, all natural components and bottled in sterilised, re-cycled soy milk packaging.

Their goal is a lofty one: “We attempt to spread our positive influence towards every corner of our society.” Their success offers proof of concept that innovative social enterprise can get it right with both its people and the planet.

We sell So…Soap products in our Global Handicrafts marketplace.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Our food-saving superheroes

Every day, 3,600 tonnes of food waste are sent to landfill in Hong Kong, according to Feeding Hong Kong. Meanwhile, people...

read more ...

Recycling artisans make good news in Sri Lanka

When Sri Lankan artist Sagara Ranga Liyanage decided to start a handicrafts business, he had to think outside the box. "I...

read more ...

GoodCity: Multiplying kindness

“I don’t want to throw this stuff out. I want it to go to someone who needs it. If only there...

read more ...

Battling Covid-19 together

COVID: SAME STORM, DIFFERENT BOATS  “This pandemic has magnified every existing inequality in our society,” Melinda Gates said of Covid-19. She adds:...

read more ...

Chi Man is a man of few words, but is rarely without a smile. The 29-year-old was born with an intellectual disability into a family of 5 brothers and sisters, all similarly disabled.

“If people with intellectual disabilities can’t work,” says his supervisor, “they simply live at home on their welfare allowance. Giving them a job helps them integrate into society.”

Since 2011, Crossroads has employed Chi Man and two others as our on-site cleaning team. We found Chi Man through a creative Hong Kong social enterprise that trains and finds jobs for intellectually disabled adults. It is a privilege to have him: his cheerful presence is a delight to all he meets and greets on the job.
In Hong Kong, social enterprise is increasingly seeing small businesses developed that are employing people who might not, otherwise, easily find work. Crossroads is committed to being part of this movement. Social enterprise is one of the tenets of our ethos.  As, Jacqueline Novorogratz, CEO of Acumen, puts it, aptly:

“It’s about all of us, and the kind of world that we, together, want to live in and share.”

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Our food-saving superheroes

Every day, 3,600 tonnes of food waste are sent to landfill in Hong Kong, according to Feeding Hong Kong. Meanwhile, people...

read more ...

Recycling artisans make good news in Sri Lanka

When Sri Lankan artist Sagara Ranga Liyanage decided to start a handicrafts business, he had to think outside the box. "I...

read more ...

GoodCity: Multiplying kindness

“I don’t want to throw this stuff out. I want it to go to someone who needs it. If only there...

read more ...

Battling Covid-19 together

COVID: SAME STORM, DIFFERENT BOATS  “This pandemic has magnified every existing inequality in our society,” Melinda Gates said of Covid-19. She adds:...

read more ...

In a workshop in Hue, Vietnam, two rows of women are intent on their work. Fine, brightly-coloured thread and embroidery needles fly through the lustrous silk, as patterns of flowers and swirls come to life.

Even as they concentrate, the women have time to talk and laugh in the well-lit workspace. It is a world away from their small, traditional homes, where many of these women live in poverty.

This is Vinh Hoa, a social enterprise in Hue, which has taken the rich embroidery and silkwork traditions of Vietnam’s ancient cultural capital, and used them to train and employ women who might otherwise have no way to find steady, safe, fair employment.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMany of Vinh Hoa’s staff can’t do fine embroidery work in their homes. A lack of electricity means the dim lighting weakens their eyesight badly. After 2-3 years working in such conditions, Vinh Hoa staff told us, the women’s eyes can be so damaged that they can’t continue embroidering at all.

In the workshop, though, Vinh Hoa has set up workbenches with bright down-lighting, protecting the workers’ eyes, giving them a social meeting point, and ensuring a longer, brighter future as skilled artisans!

Crossroads’ Global Handicrafts shop is dedicated to promoting and selling fair trade products from all over the world, like homewares, gifts, clothes, toys and the scarves made by the women at Vinh Hoa.

Our shop sells several of Vinh Hoa’s exquisite, hand-embroidered scarves, with two available online: Chrysanthemum scarf and Floral purple scarf, and more in-store.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Shop Now!

Browse Global Handicrafts’ full online range here or visit our shop at Crossroads Village to walk through our colourful global marketplace, with even more handmade delights from around the world, all of which care for the people who made them.

SHOP

Our food-saving superheroes

Every day, 3,600 tonnes of food waste are sent to landfill in Hong Kong, according to Feeding Hong Kong. Meanwhile, people...

read more ...

Recycling artisans make good news in Sri Lanka

When Sri Lankan artist Sagara Ranga Liyanage decided to start a handicrafts business, he had to think outside the box. "I...

read more ...

GoodCity: Multiplying kindness

“I don’t want to throw this stuff out. I want it to go to someone who needs it. If only there...

read more ...

Battling Covid-19 together

COVID: SAME STORM, DIFFERENT BOATS  “This pandemic has magnified every existing inequality in our society,” Melinda Gates said of Covid-19. She adds:...

read more ...

Crossroads loves to support Hong Kong social enterprises wherever we can. Meet Shing, just one of those whose lives have been changed through a job with social enterprise.

When Shing graduated from a special school in Hong Kong, he tried for months to find a job, with no success. Shing, who is intellectually impaired, relied on his family’s care and support for everything he needed. People who knew Shing commented that he was living each day having decisions made for him, eating simply what he needed to fill his stomach. Without his own independent income, it was hard for Shing to embrace all that life had to offer.

Finally, though, after a frustrating job search, Shing found an opportunity with iBakery, a Hong Kong social enterprise that trains and employs people like Shing who have physical and intellectual disabilities.

He started his training at iBakery’s small workshop in Aberdeen, making dough, cutting different cookie shapes, adding fillings, and learning how to operate the oven. After two years of training, iBakery employed him as one of their bakers!

Today, thanks to his job at iBakery, Shing has a salary of his own and to his delight, he can choose how to spend his own money. He enjoys shopping, and loves to buy comic books. He likes to eat at his favourite restaurants, savouring the pleasures of different flavours and dishes, instead of just consuming what was put in front of him for each meal.

“He knows how to enjoy life now,” said an iBakery manager. The same can be said for the other employees with disabilities at iBakery. “Now that they have their own salary, they can make choices about their lives. They have self-confidence.”

Crossroads’ Silk Road Cafe sells iBakery’s delectable muffins, pastries and cookies, alongside our fair trade tea and coffee. We love to be part of the solution in the lives of people like Shing and his co-workers, who might otherwise have trouble finding fair and reliable employment. Thanks to iBakery, they are not just surviving each day, but thriving!

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Our food-saving superheroes

Every day, 3,600 tonnes of food waste are sent to landfill in Hong Kong, according to Feeding Hong Kong. Meanwhile, people...

read more ...

Recycling artisans make good news in Sri Lanka

When Sri Lankan artist Sagara Ranga Liyanage decided to start a handicrafts business, he had to think outside the box. "I...

read more ...

GoodCity: Multiplying kindness

“I don’t want to throw this stuff out. I want it to go to someone who needs it. If only there...

read more ...

Battling Covid-19 together

COVID: SAME STORM, DIFFERENT BOATS  “This pandemic has magnified every existing inequality in our society,” Melinda Gates said of Covid-19. She adds:...

read more ...