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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Each day, as stubbornly high unemployment plagues Uganda, many struggle to find any kind of work. This is nowhere more true than in the northern part of the country where two decades of war have left almost no infrastructure intact. In an effort to survive when no other work could be found, Francis Kidega and his family of eight began making jewellery out of the only thing they had access to: paper. They are now able to support themselves through the revenue these crafts bring, even as they learn how to take their new skill and turn it into a business, helping their neighbouring families in the process. Revenue gained from the sale of these products supports this family as they work, learn, grow and share.

FK

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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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.

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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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Enabling ethical producers in Cambodia to connect with the outside world.

After decades of violent warfare, Cambodia has finally begun to stabilize and its people have started the long road to recovery. 80% of the population lives in rural conditions with low standards of living, and those who migrate to the cities struggle to adjust. In an effort to provide support for many young rural and urban Cambodians, AAC works alongside local workshops where people draw on their rich culture to design products reflective of a long and distinct heritage. Workers receive fair wages in decent working conditions, providing them the dignity of a respectable trade along with training workshops on life skills. Your purchases see these lives built and strengthened. Watch this video of artisans turning bullet shells into jewellery with one of AAC’s partners, Rajana: http://www.rajanacrafts.org/news/story.php?id=6

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

“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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Donate to a shipment like this one.

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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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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

Give Now!

Donate to a shipment like this one.

DONATE MONEY

Donate Goods!

Want to donate goods for a shipment like this one?

DONATE GOODS

Our food-saving superheroes

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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 ...

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

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