For decades, refugees from around northern Africa have fled to Egypt to escape horrors like persecution, rape and genocide, yet they find that life in their new home is still a struggle. Finding safe, fair employment can be almost impossible.

For Sudanese refugees, the situation is particularly dire. 75% of the Sudanese refugee community in Cairo is trying to survive on less than $1 a day. Finding a proper job, with fair conditions and a decent wage, is almost impossible.

Tukul-teatowelAlmost 30 years ago, a small group of displaced Sudanese people in Cairo were battling this same problem, so they started a little workshop to make some means of living.

They began with beadwork and printing t-shirts with simple stencils. After a while, they introduced basket weaving. They named the project “Tukul”, which means “small hut”.

Today an established social enterprise, Tukul produces and exports a large range of beautiful, vibrant products that reflect the style of the refugees’ home nations. Global Handicrafts sells several of the Tukul range, including their gorgeous tea towels, perfect for your Fair Trade kitchen!


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Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

HELPING LIGHT THE DARKNESS

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Madina, 17, faced a wretched set of options as a refugee in Uganda. She and her family fled the war in southern Sudan but there was little by way of support for her or the four younger sisters who needed care. Her mother asked her to marry so that the bridal price would help. Madina did not want to marry for that reason alone and sought to alleviate their need with income from occasional work.

As a refugee, though, without much education or training, she couldn’t hope to get a good, steady job.

Crossroads sent a shipment to the town where Madina lives, and she was identified by our local partner to benefit. They gave Madina a ‘start up package’ of things she could use to begin a small clothing business. Now, she owns a mobile business selling clothes door to door.

“You are different”, she told them, with gratitude. “You have made me feel loved in a foreign land.  With this new business, I will be able to provide for my mother and pay school fees for my sisters instead of marrying. You are changing our lives.”

Also included in the container was furniture for three schools, along with provision for many of the most impoverished families in the community.

“You have helped put a smile on many of these faces,” the NGO told us. “You have helped restore hope to those that had lost hope.”


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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

HELPING LIGHT THE DARKNESS

The BBC calls if ‘the worst refugee camp on earth’. A camp on the far-flung island of Lesvos, Greece, seen by...

read more ...

7,000 brand new toys for Christmas

The quantity was astonishing: 7,000 brand new toys, donated through our Global Hand service by a leading toy manufacturer. NGOs across...

read more ...

Excelsior Hotel close equips HK social enterprise

It was the end of an era when Hong Kong’s beloved Excelsior shut down in early 2019. As their doors closed,...

read more ...

Helping equip Ukrainian maternity facility

"Finally, the repair of our maternity hospital is finished," wrote our colleagues in the Ukraine. "Your beds are in refurbished rooms...

read more ...

Recent years have seen intolerable suffering for women in the conflict-ridden country of Sudan where they have, systematically, been victim to violence and rape.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) sought ways to empower women in this troubled country. They looked at ways of creating employment opportunities, since women would be less vulnerable with greater independence, self-sufficiency, control of their lives and, of course, dignity.

As they sought ideas for women in business, they discussed the growing of hibiscus. This is plentiful in Sudan and is an ingredient used in tea products of fruit tea blends.

There was a problem with hibiscus business initiatives, however. While Sudan is renowned for producing high quality hibiscus for teas, around 18,000 tons a year, many Sudanese hibiscus farmers have remained caught in the poverty trap.  As hibiscus growers put it, “We produce the crop, then the traders come and take it on their terms.”

UNDP Sudan (3)It was a situation calling out for a Fair Trade overhaul.

A staff member from UNDP therefore posted a request on business.un.org. She asked for interested companies, dealing in hibiscus, to come together and discuss how to make trading practices fairer for the farmers. Some of the world’s leading businesses responded and the result was phenomenal. People from different levels of the hibiscus industry came together and brought significant change. This will impact the futures of at least 5,000 vulnerable women and girls in Sudan by, for example, seeing factories in Sudan becoming Fair Trade certified to ensure sustainable income for those involved.

This is a story that truly illustrates the power of partnerships!


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Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

HELPING LIGHT THE DARKNESS

The BBC calls if ‘the worst refugee camp on earth’. A camp on the far-flung island of Lesvos, Greece, seen by...

read more ...

7,000 brand new toys for Christmas

The quantity was astonishing: 7,000 brand new toys, donated through our Global Hand service by a leading toy manufacturer. NGOs across...

read more ...

Excelsior Hotel close equips HK social enterprise

It was the end of an era when Hong Kong’s beloved Excelsior shut down in early 2019. As their doors closed,...

read more ...

Helping equip Ukrainian maternity facility

"Finally, the repair of our maternity hospital is finished," wrote our colleagues in the Ukraine. "Your beds are in refurbished rooms...

read more ...

imageThe Sudanese Civil War killed more civilians than any other conflict since World War 2. Two million Sudanese people died – an incredible 20% of the population – from war or the disease and famine it caused.

For those Sudanese who managed to escape the war, home in a new nation turned out to be almost as difficult as what they left behind. Life in Sudan meant torture, forced starvation, landmines, death of loved ones and losing their homes. But life as a refugee in a new country can mean discrimination, violent racial attacks, unemployment and poverty. The tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees that settled in nearby Egypt have found it extremely difficult to get a job, and care for their families. Simply to make enough to eat, they accept work in illegal, unsafe conditions, or with dismally low pay.

Tukul Crafts, in Cairo, Egypt saw this need, and wanted to give refugees the opportunity to use their existing skills to make a fair and sustainable living for themselves. The clothes and household items that Tukul artisans produce are bright and hopeful: a reflection of the hearts of the people who make them. Their screenprinted designs are intentionally rustic and traditional, the colours bold, and the textiles sturdy and strong.

From tea towels to travel bags, from aprons to coin purses, Tukul offers a beautiful range of products that Global Handicrafts is proud and pleased to be able to offer in our online store, and in a fuller range, instore at our shop.


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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

HELPING LIGHT THE DARKNESS

The BBC calls if ‘the worst refugee camp on earth’. A camp on the far-flung island of Lesvos, Greece, seen by...

read more ...

7,000 brand new toys for Christmas

The quantity was astonishing: 7,000 brand new toys, donated through our Global Hand service by a leading toy manufacturer. NGOs across...

read more ...

Excelsior Hotel close equips HK social enterprise

It was the end of an era when Hong Kong’s beloved Excelsior shut down in early 2019. As their doors closed,...

read more ...

Helping equip Ukrainian maternity facility

"Finally, the repair of our maternity hospital is finished," wrote our colleagues in the Ukraine. "Your beds are in refurbished rooms...

read more ...