We often speak of our experiential programme that simulate issues such as the complexity of poverty. Read these words from a participant this year:

“Seventy of us enter a large room. We sit on a concrete floor, empty aside from rusty corrugated iron wall paneling and a few makeshift shops…The next hour is a haze of noise, rejection, begging, and work that fails to meet the minimum targets. We start with intent and vigour but the desperation grows each moment. We start to offer our possessions and confront our own values and integrity in the quest for survival. And I feel like I’m in a washing machine struggling for breath. I cannot think of tomorrow when today looks hopeless and urgent. I’ll work all day. All night. But the challenge to survive is overwhelming. And this is day one.”

The person writing that was part of NGO, Global Development Group. This participant, as the others, already knew poverty well. GDG is an association that brings together people dedicated to alleviating suffering.  Even so, the simulation proved powerful. We often hear practitioners say that, while they work amid poverty, the simulation of it still brings the reality home in new ways.

GDG held its International Development Partner Conference in Hong Kong this year and chose to include our Struggle for Survival simulation. Its participants, largely from developing nations, found it a time of perspective-shift, and reaffirmation of their organisations’ goals.

 

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Unilever's global supply chain managers took part in the Struggle for Survival x-perience.

Unilever’s global supply chain heads make and sell paper bags to ‘survive’ life in the slum.

Unilever’s global supply chain heads became ‘slum dwellers’ for a morning when they took part in our Struggle for Survival x-perience in London in May.

A team from Global X-perience in Hong Kong and Global Hand UK threw the Unilever staff into their new roles as impoverished families in a slum, desperately trying to keep themselves alive by making and selling paper bags, escaping loan sharks, disease and other perils.

After the fast-paced simulation, the participants, in small groups, were tasked with coming up with solutions that would help Unilever care better for the communities they work in and source from.

Staff discussed how Unilever can better care for and work with the communities where their goods are manufactured.

Staff discussed how Unilever can better care for and work with the communities where their goods are manufactured.

The event kicked off an international meeting for the supply chain heads. They  were already scheduled to meet when Unilever’s chief supply chain officer was so moved by Crossroads’ Struggle for Survival X-perience at the World Economic Forum in January that he invited our team to run it for his staff at this gathering in May.

“It had such an impact on me even within a 90 minute session,” said one of the staff after the simulation. “It generated loads of empathy, ideas and positive action,” commented another.

Would you like your company, club or organisation to do one of our x-periences? We’d love to talk about how we might work together! Email partnerships@crossroads.org.hk

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Mong Kok school water challenge“I want to help, and you have opened my hands, desperate to do something.” Hong Kong school student

Since we started running poverty simulations for groups of Hong Kong school students, we’ve hardly been able to keep up with the demand for bookings! When children spend a few hours at Crossroads taking part in experiences like the Refugee Run or the Struggle for Survival, they emerge bubbling over with ideas about what they can do to help fix their broken world.
Mong Kok Kai Oi School brought a group of primary students to do Crossroads’ ‘Water Challenge’ (pictured right). It was a day that not only enriched the students’ English language skills, being immersed in English throughout the activity, but one in which they explored the burden of gathering water shouldered by the 1.1 billion people who lack access to clean water, and solutions to help.School group struggle for survivalStudents at Kingston School (in ‘Living with a Disability’ simulation, above) were so inspired by simulations they took part in at Crossroads that they went back to the classroom and came up with a strategy to raise enough money to sponsor two shipments of aid – one to a school in Zimbabwe, another to help orphans and foster families in Moldova.Crossroads has helped, literally, hundreds of Hong Kong school groups engage with world need since we began our Global X-perience programmes in 2005.

Want to book an x-perience for your school?

Click here to talk to us about how we can help your school group engage with poverty issues and explore solutions to help!
Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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