Leaving Sydney, November 2005The Harrisons (Neville, Vivien, Edward, Samuel and Felicity) have decided to go for a year to Crossroads International in Hong Kong as volunteers. Since travelling (while we were in our 20’s) and seeing the poverty of developing nations, we have always wanted to help out those who are disadvantaged in our world.

What is Crossroads and what is Global Hand?

Crossroads International is a registered non profit organisation which takes Hong Kong’s quality superseded goods and redistributes them to people in need both locally in Hong Kong and internationally. It was started about ten years ago by Mal and Sal Begbie from Wahroonga, NSW and now comprises about fify full time volunteer staff who live and work in a community at Tuen Mun, south-east of the Kowloon business district. Crossroads seeks, indeed, to be a crossroads: a place where need and resource intersect.

Global Hand is a sister organisation spawned from Crossroads. The basis for Global Hand is a website that allows organisations to offer their surplus goods and services to needy non government organisations worldwide – a bit like Crossroads on the Internet. This enables goods to reach those who need them without actually passing through the Hong Kong site. The Global Hand software has now had its second release and the task ahead focuses on developing a network of websites using the same software but made available through the websites of other non-government organisations such as Rotary and United Nations agencies such as UNICEF.

You can visit the websites at http://ww.crossroads.org.hk . Global Hand’s website is http://ww.globalhand.org.

Why are we going?

On the way to the UK last year we decided to spend ten days at Crossroads having become familar with their work through our friends, Phil and Sue Warner. They have been working there for about three years now and are responsible for coordination of goods processing and shipping.. We were greatly impressed with the excellent work of Crossroads and the dedication of their volunteer staff.

After our return to Australia we felt keen to go back at some stage so, after some months of conderation (and a very poignant email, early this year, from Crossroads that expressed their great need for IT staff) we made our decision to go. Our kids also have very fond memories of their time at Crossroads and, given their current ages and school level, it is the ideal time for us.

What will we be doing?

Neville will be working with the IT team for GlobalHand. As he currently works as an IT professional in the web application development area, his skills are a neat fit for the current desperate need for programmers and web designers. He is taking a year of unpaid leave from his current job.

Vivien’s role has not been clearly defined yet but Crossroads currently have great need for a variety of personnel and, in particular, need administrative help in shipping department. She may also use her ESL teaching skills to teach English to some of the refugees who help at Crossroads.

The children will attend a school on site called TLC (Teaching and Learning Centre) consisting of about 12 children taught by a trained, volunteer teacher. Their studies will follow one of the standard home schooling curricula.

One Response to “Background”

  1. Alastair Says:

    Harrison, Nev, and Hong Kong into google from a library in Scotland and there the top listing updates me on your lives. Such a good looking site and so nice to be able to take a peek into your lives and see pics of you at any time from anywhere.

    Read your blogs too Edward, keep it up, look forward to reading Sam and Didi’s too before long? And if you take any pictures Edward would be great to see them too.

    Well done to you all. Thinking of you. All my love, Uncle Alli. xxx

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