“The situation is bad…there is no tourism at all. Locally, business has totally stopped. We worry about what awaits us in the coming months if the situation will remain the same. Our people will suffer from a shortage of food, medicine.”

These words above came from friends in Bethlehem, whose handicrafts made by traditional carpenters (pictured above) we sell in our Global Handicrafts shop. They’re not unique, though. They represent a heart’s cry which is coming at us from all corners of the world. When the pandemic started spreading globally, we started talking to our partners – fair trade producers, shipment consignees, long-time friends – and all, regardless of their field of work, were telling a tragically similar story. As soon as the crisis hit, these communities were reduced to the bare bones of survival. They needed food, and they needed money to stay above water, let alone care for those who were now battling the infection.

We knew that shipping food halfway across the world from Hong Kong may not be the most efficient way to help. We also knew that Crossroads would not be able to send money of our own. In fact, money has been a particular challenge for Crossroads, too, during Covid-19.

We could do two things, however. First, we could be a voice. Our Global X-perience team was looking right then to find new ways to envision people, during a time when we couldn’t host visitors at our site. So, they produced online videos telling the stories of these suffering friends. Second, we set up an appeal for money so we could quickly and efficiently channel funds to Covid-19 affected communities and use the videos to ask for contributions. We sent money from that fund to several groups who had shared their needs. Now, we’re hearing back about how it’s lifting just some of the burden.

In Northern Uganda, where formal employment is already in single digits, an injection of funds allowed our friends to provide food for extremely vulnerable families struggling through the economic impact of Covid.

In Bethlehem, the funds are helping our fair trade producer partners there stay operational, as traditional carpenters face the instant drying up of their livelihood without a flow of tourists. “Thanks a lot for your hard work,” they said. “The amount will help us to keep on with our missions, this is highly appreciated…”

In Thailand, our partners work with people who are often forced to work in the red light districts of Pattaya. Funds from Crossroads purchased food packs (pictured above) for women who’ve suddenly had their livelihood cut off. “Wonderful news that you want to contribute to the food bags!” came the excited reply when some of our staff offered financial help. “The food distribution is still going on as the need is still huge. More and more people are losing their jobs because there are no tourists here and bars, shops and restaurants are closing all around us.”

More of the relief fund has been shared with partners in places like Nigeria and the Thai-Burma border. As always, difficult times like these affect the poorest and the most vulnerable the most deeply. A recent World Bank report said that this pandemic could push between 71 – 100 million people into extreme poverty in 2020. It would be the first increase in global extreme poverty since 1998.

Want to give funds to help during Covid-19?

You can help relieve the burden of economic hardship hitting those in poverty during Covid-19. Click here to donate. We’re also looking for sustaining donors to help Crossroads continue to serve throughout this challenging time. You can join our team of champions who help make this work possible! Click here to read more about becoming a sustaining donor.

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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

“We want to empower communities to become self-sustaining,” write Crossroads’ partners in Tanzania. It’s a challenge in rural areas where people are so dependent on agriculture that changes in climate or a poor harvest can devastate entire families’ livelihoods.

The most vulnerable in these communities are children and young people living on the streets, or without family support. Our partners have a network of children’s centres and training programmes for these groups of children and youth, knowing that without education and a place to live, there would be no hope of escaping the poverty cycle. “Most of these children were abandoned because they happened to be children of single parents, or victims of diseases like HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, or typhoid.”

We are shipping goods to support their work, including textbooks and stationery for school students, appliances and household goods for children’s homes and offices, clothing, bedding, blankets for vulnerable children and youth, and goods like fabric for their tailoring training programmes.


‘Orphans’ aren’t always those who’ve lost both parents. Many children in children’s homes or in-home care in our partners’ communities, like Doris (right) and Juma (left) have people to care for them, but their relatives are themselves so impoverished that they need extra support from our partners for basics like food, clothing and school fees. Goods from this shipment will support some of those needs.


BUILDING ON PAST INVESTMENTS

Crossroads shipped to these partners some years ago, sending educational goods, clothing and furniture. Staff wrote of the impact that the shipment made. School books helped raise the grades of primary and secondary students (above), while preschool children now have comfortable furniture to use while learning. Children in their network of children’s centres were grateful for clothing and shoes to help relieve the burden of affording these basic essentials themselves.

The needs are growing, though. Our partners are expanding their services and building new buildings that are waiting to be filled with furniture and equipment. Not only are they opening new children’s homes, but they are seeking to give in-home support and care to more children who do have relatives to live with, but who are financially strained. Goods from this shipment will support education and training for these and other vulnerable children.


The harbour at Dar Es Salaam, home to a busy trade port, is helping a rapidly growing economy, but those in rural areas, particularly orphans and vulnerable children like Felicia (below), and people living with diseases or disabilities, can be left behind.


WANT TO BE PART OF THESE LIFE CHANGING STORIES?

Sponsor a container: We need HK$ 50,000 to send any of our waiting shipments on their way. Email us for a list of projects needing funds: partnerships@crossroads.org.hk

Give goods: We can help your company or group find projects that need your quality superseded goods. Email partnerships@crossroads.org.hk

Volunteer: We need regular volunteers in a huge variety of roles across the work, from manual labor to administration and specific skilled roles. Email volunteer@crossroads.org.hk

Reference No : S1864C

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Ethiopia Snapshot

Population: 57.3 million.
Capital: Dodoma
Largest City: Dar es Salaam
Main languages: Swahili (official) and English, and more than 100 local languages.

“Tanzania is in transition,” says a recent UN report. “East Africa’s second biggest economy is growing rapidly. Its population could approximately double to 100 million by 2050 with an unprecedented shift of people from the countryside to the city. With its population set to grow by one million a year, demand for housing, water, sanitation and healthcare is climbing steadily.” About 80% of the population still relies on agriculture to survive, and one in four people are living below the poverty line.

Source: UNDP

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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

At the end of last century, Ethiopia faced a catastrophic famine that caught the world’s attention and caused the death of millions. Today, despite relative stability and a fast-growing economy, nearly a quarter of the nation is still living in poverty. The 2016 Horn of Africa drought and floods showed that the rural population is still highly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters.

We are shipping to a college in Ethiopia with a special focus on leadership training, aiming to be part of the positive growth and development of the nation. Their heartfelt goal is to produce graduates ‘passionately committed to transforming their society.’

When Crossroads first shipped to these partners in 2006, their college was occupying rented quarters, waiting for help to move into a permanent site in 2007. Our goods helped furnish their new facility, helping educate hundreds of students. “That shipment enabled us to set up a computer lab, and to furnish several classrooms with hundreds of chairs and classroom desks. The shipment allowed us to equip the men’s dormitory with chairs and the whole operations of the college used materials to facilitate learning.”

Now, once again, they’re expanding and they have asked for our help. This time, they’ve built a women’s dormitory large enough to accommodate 258 students, as well as a new kitchen and dining facility, but they’re waiting for furniture and equipment to bring these spaces to life and make them fully functioning.


SUSTAINABILITY INNOVATIONS

Operating in one of Africa’s poorest nations has meant our partners have to seek creative solutions for their college to stay sustainable, like this poultry project, as well as raising their own cattle and farming crops.

Goods from this shipment will help administer projects that continue to help their sustainability.


EDUCATED FOR PEACEMAKING

When fighting erupted in Amanuel’s village between different tribes, Amanuel was well trained to help broker peace. He had graduated from our partners’ college in Ethiopia, taking courses in conflict management and resolution as part of his education. Now an elementary school teacher, Amanuel’s training in conflict resolution helped him take leadership in the efforts to solve the village’s in-fighting. He began organising seminars, gathering tribal leaders together to inspire cooperation and peace. His approach was successful, and the community was able to exist in harmony once more, thanks in part to the education Amanuel had accessed through his college. Amanuel is a wonderful example of our partners’ goal of producing graduates ‘passionately committed to transforming their society’.

Goods from this shipment will help our partners accommodate hundreds more Ethiopian students like Amanuel, who can grow in their leadership skills and help build a more peaceful society.


The bustling capital of Addis Ababa presents a stark contrast to rural communities, where life moves at a slower pace and poverty is widespread. As Ethiopia develops rapidly, our partners believe that educating students to be leaders with a passion for investing back into their communities is a vital part of that development.


WANT TO BE PART OF THESE LIFE CHANGING STORIES?

Sponsor a container: We need HK$ 50,000 to send any of our waiting shipments on their way. Email us for a list of projects needing funds: partnerships@crossroads.org.hk

Give goods: We can help your company or group find projects that need your quality superseded goods. Email partnerships@crossroads.org.hk

Volunteer: We need regular volunteers in a huge variety of roles across the work, from manual labor to administration and specific skilled roles. Email volunteer@crossroads.org.hk

Reference No : S1191A

Donate Now!

Donate to a shipment like this one.

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Donate Goods!

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DONATE GOODS

Ethiopia Snapshot

Population: 105 million (2017)
Capital: Addis Ababa
Official languages:  Amharic (official), English and many regional languages

Located in north-eastern Africa, Ethiopia is the most populous land-locked country in the world. The country’s population is highly diverse, containing over 80 different ethnic groups, with a rich and important cultural history. Ethiopia also enjoys great natural diversity, with rivers, forests, caves, highlands and desert areas.

Despite a fast-growing economy, Ethiopia is still one of the poorest nations in Africa. A devastating famine and its effects gripped the nation through the 1980s and 1990s. The population is vulnerable to natural disasters, such as flooding which left more than a million displaced in 2016-17. Around 23.5% of the population lives in poverty, with people in rural areas vastly more vulnerable to poverty.

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SHIPMENT FEEDBACK

In Uganda a lack of opportunity, and of understanding, have long contributed to a negative societal view of those living with disabilities. This is something that our partners in the region are working tirelessly to change.

Just outside Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, our partners run a ‘one-stop centre’ for children with disabilities. Here, they work with children and their families to provide the professional services that will ensure every child, regardless of their needs, is given the help and resources they need to thrive. They provide education, therapy, counselling, and play, all whilst engaging the community around them in support of the children’s rights and happiness, helping to break the social stigma around disability.

With an expansion project underway and a wide variety of ongoing programmes in need of resources, the shipment received from Crossroads has found immediate and timely use for our hardworking partners.

“The shipment has greatly improved the lives of children with disabilities; negative attitudes, behaviours and stigma have been reduced. Children with disabilities are now living a better and more dignified life”. – NGO director

Already we have received feedback showing how the goods from the shipment have helped, including:

  • Education and office furniture creating a more comfortable environment for children and staff alike.
  • Wheelchairs, therapy mats and other assistive devices improving the quality of therapy services.
  • Books, stationary, and games ensuring a stronger education programme.
  • Radios and media players allowing the commencement of music and dance classes.

(Above) As a result of this shipment a local primary school, who our partners work closely, were able to provide every single child with a new reading book.

(Above) Using stationery and supplies from the shipment, art and sensory stimulation classes have been able to provide benefits to a growing number of students.

(Above) Parents and members of the community are encouraged to visit the centre and engage with the children’s projects.

As our partner’s organisation continues to grow these goods, and the many more that were included in the shipment, will continue to provide a benefit to many children for many years to come.


PHOTOS OF GOODS IN USE

(Above 1st pic) Therapy mattresses and assistive devices like those included in this shipment are essential to the work undertaken at our partner’s centre.  (Above 2nd pic) Just as the children at our partner’s centre have benefitted from this shipment, so too have the staff. New office furniture is enabling them to work in a more comfortable setting than ever before!

(Above) Students at one of the centre’s partner schools enjoy the thrill of new outfits!

(Above) Children at the centre wait excitedly for class to start on some of their new classroom chairs. Before this shipment a lack of equipment meant students often had to share seats.

(Above) Desks and chairs have transformed classrooms that were previously lacking the resources needed to support students.

Reference No. : S4751

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WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING?

“Teenage pregnancy is high in this area,” write Crossroads’ partners, about their small region in southern Uganda. “Many teenagers who become pregnant are ostracised and drop out of school. It’s very unlikely that they’ll ever return to school.” Most families in this region work hard as farmers, growing crops like bananas, maize and beans, but life can be difficult, and most families are very poor. For teenagers who are kicked out of home when they fall pregnant, the future is desperate and uncertain. They rarely have the skills and education to find a job that can sustain them and their children.

Our partners on this shipment target young, ostracised mothers and other vulnerable women, and offer counselling, child care, and vocational training in skills like tailoring, knitting, hospitality, laundering, gardening and animal husbandry. Starting just two years ago, they have already taken 50 young women through their programmes, and seen success stories like Jacent and Sylivia (featured below and to the right), but they are eager to expand their services to reach and train more women. They are now building a larger facility in an area closer to where many of the women live, and they have asked Crossroads for help filling it with furniture and equipment to run these valuable projects. Our shipment will include goods like furniture, clothing, recreational goods, health supplies and more.


SYLIVIA’S STORY

“Dropping out of school in grade nine as a result of teenage pregnancy did not stop Sylivia from looking at life positively,” wrote our partners. Sylivia was eager to improve her life, both for herself and her new baby. She enrolled in our partners’ tailoring classes, using their childcare for her baby, and made so much income from her handmade clothing that she bought two sewing machines, and now trains other young women like her.

This shipment will include goods to help train women like Sylivia.


The future can seem bleak for teenage mothers like Jane (above, with her children) without the support, practical skills training and care that our partners can offer. They know it’s hard for young mothers to attend classes with their children, so they offer childcare with nutritious food for the children while their mothers learn.

Construction is underway on our partners’ new, larger centre, but they need help fitting it out with furniture and other goods to help them serve more women in need.


JACENT’S STORY

Jacent was abandoned by her boyfriend, and father of her young children, leaving her with no source of income at all. Like many teenage mothers in her region, Jacent had to drop out of school when she became pregnant, so she couldn’t finish her education or go on to any further skills training. Thankfully, Jacent was brought into our partners’ vocational training programmes. 70% of the women in their skills training are teenage mothers, ostracised by their families and desperately poor. With our partners’ help, Jacent  took classes in knitting and dressmaking (pictured above with one of her creations!) and she now feels like she and her children have a secure future. “I can now take care of my children,” she says. “I can buy them food, I can pay rent, and more.”

This shipment will include goods to equip the training centre that helped Jacent and many other young, vulnerable women.


WANT TO BE A PART OF THESE LIFE CHANGING STORIES?

Sponsor a container: We need HK$ 50,000 to send any of our waiting shipments on their way. Email us for a list of projects needing funds: partnerships@crossroads.org.hk

Give goods: We can help your company or group find projects that need your quality superseded goods. Email partnerships@crossroads.org.hk

Volunteer: We need regular volunteers in a huge variety of roles across the work, from manual labor to administration and specific skilled roles. Email volunteer@crossroads.org.hk

Reference No : S4963

Donate Now!

Donate to a shipment like this one.

DONATE MONEY

Donate Goods!

Want to donate goods for a shipment like this one?

DONATE GOODS

Uganda Snapshot

Population: 42.8 million (2017)
Capital: Kampala
Official languages: English, Swahili

Significant investments in children and women in recent years have led to developmental successes in Uganda, notably in primary education and in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

However, more than half of children in Uganda aged 0-4 are still living in poverty, and 33% have stunted growth. “Children whose growth is stunted at a young age may suffer a lifetime of consequences such as poorer schooling and lower earnings,” say UNICEF.

Thankfully, child mortality rates, and access to clean water in Uganda are steadily improving, thanks to health interventions.

Source: UNICEF

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SHIPMENT FEEDBACK

Over 50% of Uganda’s population are regarded as ‘working poor’. This means that, despite being in regular employment, they earn less than US$3.10 a day. Poverty is therefore a widespread issue in the country and one of the main factors in its low ranking on the Human Development Index. Perpetuating the issue of poverty is the inconsistent quality of, and access to, education. In Uganda, only 31% of the population have received any secondary education and, although children are expected to attend school for 11 years, the average length of time spent in education is actually only six.

Our NGO partners in the region are champions of education, believing that through better opportunities in the classroom children can develop the skills they need to pursue better opportunities in life. In pursuit of improving education standards, our partners run nursery schools, primary schools, and youth training programmes, all to empower Uganda’s young people and improve the futures available to them. Alongside this, they run community projects in the form of libraries, healthcare outreach, and material support for those in need. All of these efforts have been benefitted by this shipment.

“The shipment has had a great impact on our community outreach programmes, raising their impact to over 1600 people both directly and indirectly” – NGO Director

(Above) The shipment made it possible for us to provide basic necessities like clothes and footwear to people in need”

(Above) Students at our partners’ primary school settle down for work at their new desks and chairs

(Above) “The shipment also provided a number of other necessities like clothes, boots and electronic appliances which have been used in the different outreach campaigns throughout local communities”

 

The feedback from our partners about this shipment speaks loudly of the impact. Here are just a few examples of the ways the donated goods have made a difference, in their own words:

  • “The office and classroom furniture saved us US$25,000 out of the budget for improving the school environment.”
  • “The clothing, kitchen ware, bags and other items have saved us over US$10,000 in community outreach and aid.”
  • “The books and scholastic supplies enabled us to initiate a Weekend Reading Scheme in which 138 students carry home books to read and write about. This has greatly improved the English proficiency of students.”
  • “The office tables and drawers enabled us to change the school office and the old furniture was used to setup the school staffroom for 12 teachers.”

We are grateful to all who contributed to this shipment, whether with goods, funding or volunteer efforts. Thank you for investing in Ugandan communities!


FURTHER IMPACT

“Over the years we have hosted leadership meetings, youth training programmes and skills workshops in our hall facility. With the increase in seats through the shipment we received, the total number of meetings and trainings has increased by double, with 18 taking place in 2017 alone”– NGO Director

 

Community outreach campaigns supported by this shipment included:

Youth mission 2016 – 173 families
Community day 2016 – 167 people
Community day 2017 – 380 people
Youth mission 2017 – 300 families
Easter packages 2018 – 259 people

In total this shipment has either directly or indirectly impacted almost 3000 local people.

“In 2018 we reached out to Hope Home for the disabled, a charity home founded by Miss Nakagwa, herself a polio victim. With just a rented room Miss Nakagwa was able to bring three rejected children into her care and teach them skills to earn a living.

After we discovered her efforts and assessed the needs of the children, we were reached out with scholastic materials, books, clothes, food and other necessities. This would not have been possible without this shipment”– NGO Director

Reference No.: S3693

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SHIPMENT FEEDBACK

Poverty in Uganda is a widespread issue, with almost 40% of the population living on less than US$1.25 per day. Even those in permanent employment are not exempt from the difficulties of poverty as over 50% of workers are regarded as ‘working poor’, earning less than US$3.10 per day. Perpetuating this issue of poverty is a lack of opportunity for young people to develop skills, which makes finding a job a difficult task and contributes to Uganda’s low ranking of 162 out of 189 on the Human Development Index. Compounding these problems further, Uganda is still battling the HIV/Aids epidemic, which presents numerous challenges for often underequipped health centres.

Our NGO partners in the region run a variety of programmes that seek to tackle Uganda’s problems head on. In order to do this, they operate in three main fields: health care, home care and skills training. Since 2006 they have been working to improve health education and awareness in communities, they have been caring for abandoned children and providing shelter to the homeless, and they have been partnering with schools to improve education and empower people with the skills to start their own businesses. In all of these efforts, this shipment has been of invaluable assistance.

“After receiving the shipment many of our challenges were reduced. We were overwhelmed with the items given to us and they have saved us a lot of expenses” NGO Director

(Above 1st) Gym equipment, which has allowed a new business to flourish in the community, is unloaded upon arrival with our partners. (Above 2nd) Children in our partners’ care receive new toys and games, some of which have been used to improve their daycare facilities.

The goods sent in this shipment have had an amazing impact on the lives of many beneficiaries, improving health, education and providing basic comforts to those who needed them most. Here are just a few examples:

  • Shoes, clothes and bedding have been donated to the homeless and abandoned children in our partners’ care.
  • Neck holders, surgical blades and medical supplies have been provided to a key local health centre.
  • Reading books, stationery and school materials have improved the quality of local classrooms.
  • Gym equipment and food processing equipment have allowed previous unemployed youths to found their own businesses, giving them the ability to provide for their families.

These are just a few examples of the lasting impact that this shipment has had. We, our partners, and the beneficiaries of these goods are sincerely grateful for your support – without it, projects such as this would not be possible.


PHOTOS OF THE GOODS IN USE

We really appreciate the donations because the shipment has seriously changed the lives and behaviours of many people in our local communities. Literacy levels have increased, health has shown a remarkable improvement, and many children who were not going to school can now go comfortably. Thank you– NGO Director

Reference No. S4145

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NGO, ‘Rejoice’, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is committed to supporting people of any ethnicity, religion or age who are living with HIV. They provide medical, social and educational support, counselling programmes and community initiatives. They came to Global Hand because, along with this range of services, they have established the ‘Buddies Society of Ipoh’ with the goal of providing comfort to kids affected by HIV. Whether they are HIV+ themselves, or have lost a parent to HIV, or both, the reality is that their lives will now never be the same. The Buddies Society hand makes bears as a gift to these children, providing them a ‘buddy’ in their pain.  We supported ‘matches’ for these Buddy Bears and saw them reach HIV affected kids (see main photo below) through the NGO, Sevac, in Uganda.

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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.

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