Catalyst for change
For our 60th anniversary, we celebrate our volunteers and partners and their work to create a more equitable world. As we reach this important milestone, we are even more determined to continue to be a catalyst for change. Read some of our stories of lives changed.
Let’s go back to the past. Discover 60 years of Crossroads’ history.
1958Dr. James H. Robinson founds Operation Crossroads Africa, an organization that brings North Americans together to work alongside Africans in development projects. Peter Paris is the first Canadian to go overseas with Crossroads.
1959Canadian Committee of Operations Crossroads Africa established by group of United Church members inspired by Dr. Robinson.
1960Ten Canadians volunteer overseas with Crossroads. By the end of the 1960s that number would grow to more than 250.
1968Canadian Crossroads International is granted a charter as a charitable corporation separate from the United Church and Operation Crossroads Africa. Programming is initiated outside Africa.
1972The South-North (To Canada) program is launched when two volunteers from Lesotho arrive for agricultural placements in Manitoba. James Robinson passes away.
1974Volunteers in partner countries are recruited as Country Representatives to coordinate Crossroads activities overseas.
1977Local volunteer committees are established across Canada to support education, recruitment and fundraising.
1982Crossroads office moves to Toronto from London, Ontario.
1983Crossroads’ first Regional Office opens in Halifax.
1989Thirteen medical students travel to Guyana through a new Crossroads program Queen's Medical Outreach (QMO), to support primary health care work in rural areas. Crossroads sends its first volunteers to Bolivia.
1990Crossroads has partnerships in more than 15 countries in Africa, South Asia and South America and Caribbean.
1995Crossroads launches the Québec Sans Frontières (QSF) program.
2001Crossroads engages Canadian organizations as formal partners to increase the sharing of skills, knowledge and to build organizational capacity North and South.
2003Crossroads works with 20 partners in 15 countries in Africa, South Asia and South America and Caribbean.
2005Crossroads focuses development projects and partnerships on HIV and AIDS, economic development and women’s rights.
2007Crossroads pilots Access to Justice Program for survivors of gender-based violence in Ghana with local partner WilDAF.
2008Crossroads celebrates its 50th anniversary and more than 8,000 volunteers’ exchanges. Crossroads pilots Girls’ Empowerment Program in Swaziland with local partner SWAGAA.
2010Offices in Halifax and Vancouver close. Strategic plan narrows program focus to advance women’s rights and sustainable livelihoods and commits to expanding program approaches with new funding.
2011Canadian Crossroads International rebrands as Crossroads International. Crossroads scales up Girls’ Empowerment and Access to Justice Programs.
2012Volunteer placements in Mali suspended indefinitely after coup and rise of terrorist threats.
2013Crossroads volunteers help Bolivian coffee producers reach international markets.
2015Strategic plan to expand work with partners advancing equality for women and girls with three primary objectives: Increase access to justice and reduce gender-based violence; increase women’s leadership and increase economic autonomy for women and youth. Karen Takacs Women’s Leadership Fund launched in honour of long standing Executive Director, providing direct financial support and scholarships for Crossroads partners advancing equality for women and girls in Africa. New programming launched in Tanzania and Burkina Faso. Security threat forces closure of programming in Zimbabwe and Niger. Crossroads pilots Farmers for the Future program in Bolivia and Togo reaching hundreds of young farmers.
2016Private sector partnerships piloted to increase economic autonomy for women. New strategic alliances with leading Canadian organizations in women’s rights, agriculture and justice sectors launched.
2017Bolivian partner Asociación Nacional Ecuménica de Desarrollo (ANED) closes in late 2017.
2018Crossroads celebrates its 60th Anniversary and more than 9,000 volunteer exchanges in 67 countries.
Celebrate With Us
Take part in the different initiatives we are planning to celebrate our 60 years of change.