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Jan 11, 2013

Jan Haiti: three earthquake commemorations, three steps in reconstruction

11
2013

 

On January 12th, 2010, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti. People across the island of Ireland made an incredible response to our emergency appeal, raising €1.1 million. Thanks to the generosity and solidarity of supporters like you, a lot of tangible progress has been made. However major challenges remain to rebuild Haiti. Three years on, hundreds of thousands of Haitians are still living under tents and tarpaulins with very limited access to basic services, such as sanitation, health care and education.  
 
Urban planner Agathe Nougaret has been living and working in Haiti since December 2010. She joined Oxfam as an Urban Coordinator in August 2012. Here, she writes about finding hope as the third anniversary of the earthquake approaches.
 
I can’t believe it’s been three years already since the earthquake hit in January 2010. I wasn’t in Haiti for “le 12” (“the 12th” a local term to refer to the earthquake), I didn’t witness the mayhem and great solidarity with my own eyes. I arrived months after, when the reconstruction process was supposed to kick-off, once rescue teams and emergency settlement professionals had done their job.
 
 
 
CAPTIONS: Top-Left: “Buying drinkable water every day was not that easy for people in the neighbourhood. This is one more reason to value the Oxfam intervention,” says Andson Fils-Aimé, who helped build this protected spring-fed water-collection point in the Merger area. Photo: Anna Fawcus / Oxfam. Top-Right: A broken landmark in Croix-Desprez, Port-au-Prince. Photo: Agathe Nougaret/Oxfam. Bottom-left: This mountain of waste in Croix-Desprez, Port-au-Prince, is a daunting task for 2013. Agathe Nougaret/Oxfam Bottom-Right: Yvon Neptune (58): “I moved here in 2009, so I can tell what the difference is since Oxfam did the water captage and canalisation, and started its sensitisation campaign in 2011. This is the answer to the cholera threat and also to other waterborne diseases and malaria.” 

January, 12th, 2011

I spent the first anniversary of the earthquake on the steps of the destroyed cathedral, in downtown Port-au-Prince. In the middle of a political crisis, Haitians had stopped burning tyres to ask for their vote to be accounted for. Everyone gathered in front of this symbol of despair, dressed in white, screaming his or her pain. I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t prepare for the questions. As a foreigner, many people came to me to ask why the international community was not rebuilding homes for the victims and stopping the cholera outbreak. I did my best to explain that the scale of the disaster took everyone aback, and setting up temporary settlements, camps in other words, was a complicated and tedious task. “There are less cholera victims in camps than anywhere else thanks to NGO efforts”, I said, but my voice got lost in the fervent religious clamour. What could I say, how could I justify the stalemate Haiti experienced? No available land, no government... I didn’t have words of comfort for the people suffering around me.

January 12th, 2012

Last year, I went to the Port-au-Prince cemetery for the second anniversary of the earthquake. There I met cemetery employees who had to deal with thousands of bodies days after the earthquake. Their stories sent shivers down my spine. Next to the 01/12 memorial sculpture newly built in the cemetery, I met a poet and a painter who explained to me how art helped them to cope with the trauma. They were hopeful, though. So much rubble had been cleared in the past year. The new president promised to take action for what really matters, education of Haitian kids. NGOs were starting to repair homes and even build permanent houses. Over the Christmas holiday, the camp in front of my office had been cleared by the Haitian government through a relocation programme run by international agencies. I was personally involved in this great movement, and I was proud. These first little steps were the hardest to take, as we were paving the way for an important scale-up in relocation and reconstruction efforts.
 

January 12th, 2013

I haven’t decided where I’ll spend the anniversary yet. I want to be somewhere significant, where I feel part of the Haitian community. I think I’ll choose the Villa Rosa slum, where I completed a NGO project last June, repairing and building 600 permanent homes. I don’t want to join the choir of critics who state that big land-owners will never help us rebuild the country, that the Government doesn’t have the means to do its job, that 358,000 people still live in camps. They might be right, but I want to celebrate our successes, this year. We have found ways to involve the community in planning, rebuilding and managing their neighbourhoods, and we’ve helped the government to see slums as a challenge, not as a threat. We’re working hard to convince donors to let us replicate this first set of pilot projects. The task was so daunting three years ago, but slowly, we’re getting there. That’s what I want to remember on January 12th.
 
Jan 8, 2013

Jan Join our local movement for global change in 2013

8
2013

 

Ireland will take centre stage in 2013.
 
For the first six months of the year we hold the Presidency of the European Union. In June, leaders of some of the world’s most powerful countries will come to a quiet corner of Lough Erne, Fermanagh, for the G8 Summit to discuss the issues that affect us all. 
 
This is our moment to shine – a rare opportunity for this small island to set the agenda and shape international discussions. With your support, Oxfam Ireland will be working hard to ensure this moment is a catalyst for a better future for the world’s poorest people. Each and every individual here in Ireland can help to make that difference. 
 
We’re committed to responding to humanitarian emergencies and helping people cope with natural disasters, famine and war… but it’s not enough. We support long-term development to improve the lives and livelihoods of millions through better farming and greater access to education and health services …but that’s still not enough.
 
For real, lasting change and a world where no one needs to die or live in poverty simply because of the circumstances they were born into, we must tackle the underlying inequalities and root causes of poverty. We need to use our voice and influence to change the way international systems and national governments see and do things. 
 
Campaigning for change is something we do here in Ireland and around the world. 
 
 

 

CAPTIONS:

Top: Dressed as Homer Simpson, campaigners from Stop Climate Chaos – a coalition of NGOs including Oxfam Ireland – protested outside government buildings in Dublin last November to show how the UN Climate Change Summit taking place a week later in Doha was more likely to be a case of ‘Doh-a’! Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland. 

Upper-left: Oxfam Ireland joins other development agencies for the Act Now 2015 appeal to the Irish government to keep its promises on overseas aid, which is supported by eight out of 10 people. Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland. Upper-right: Oxfam campaigners in Belfast demonstrate how Fairtrade goes with everything during Fairtrade Fortnight 2012. Brian Thompson/Presseye. 

Lower-left: Festival-goers at last summer’s Electric Picnic show their support for our Ending Poverty Starts with Women campaign. Ger Murphy/Oxfam. Lower-right: Campaigners from the Stop Climate Chaos coalition of NGOs which includes Oxfam Ireland make some noise by blowing hundreds of vuvuzelas outside the Dáil in November 2011 to highlight the slow pace of political action to combat climate change. Ger Murphy/Oxfam. 

Bottom: Oxfam supporter Bel Zhong decorates the Spire on Dublin’s O’Connell Street with a giant paper chain to mark the end of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign last month. Sasko Lazarov

 
Take Tanzania, for example. Not only do we support poor and marginalised communities in building a brighter future (e.g. by making a sustainable living through new farming techniques or helping those living with HIV and AIDS to access healthcare) but we are also helping to amplify their voices and ensure they are heard. 
 
For example, we’re supporting Maasai communities so that they are equipped to take part in a national discussion about the new Tanzanian constitution – ensuring that they can put forward their case for new guarantees ensuring they won’t be moved from their land and that their rights will be respected. 
 
In 2012, thousands of people joined Oxfam Ireland to campaign for change for the first time. And as the world focuses on events here throughout the year, we can’t wait for the big and bold challenge in 2013 that we are ready to rise to and eager to face. 
 
Why not join us and be part of something amazing in 2013?
Dec 24, 2012

Dec You made the difference in 2012

24
2012

Relief for those caught in crisis. Water where there was drought. Communities equipped with the skills and knowledge to help themselves. Campaigning that challenges injustice and the root causes of poverty.

Lives changed. All made possible in 2012 by supporters with big hearts and one united voice.

ABOVE: Adoaga from Chad pictured with her family.  We continue to reach people in West Africa through the work you support.

As we mark the end of 2012 and look forward to the New Year, I want to express my gratitude to each and every one of you for what we’ve achieved together in 2012.

Operating in a difficult economic climate has meant that we must do more with less, which is why we are so grateful for your support.

In the past year, you supported our life-changing work with your time, your energy, your dedication and your money.

Regardless of how you contributed, your support has made the difference.

It’s thanks to you that we can achieve so much... from taking the lead in Ireland by responding to the West Africa food crisis to showing politicians North and South why women’s rights must be put at the heart of the international agenda through our Ending Poverty Starts with Women campaign.

We have also continued our work with people affected by the 2011 East Africa food crisis in Kenya and Somalia, along with responding the escalating situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where we are currently providing water, sanitation, food and cash transfer to local communities and those who have fled their homes to escape the terrible conflict.

AVOVE: Supporters at festivals for our campaign on women's rights.  RIGHT: Sharon Corr visits Tanzania with Oxfam to support the same campaign and to raise awareness about the issues that women face.

Our team in Tanzania is reaching hundreds of thousands of people with the We Can campaign, which tackles the attitudes and behaviours that permit violence against women and encourages ordinary people to become change-makers in their local communities, recruiting others to do the same. This is just one of many incredible initiatives taking place in the 94 countries where we work around the world.

Our success in helping people affected by poverty and injustice to change their lives for the better would be impossible without the support of people like you.

On behalf of all the team at Oxfam Ireland, we wish you a very Happy New Year.

Jim Clarken
Chief Executive
Oxfam Ireland

Dec 19, 2012

Dec Stunning necklace just one of many gems at your local Oxfam shop

19
2012

Every one of our Oxfam Ireland shops is a treasure trove of vintage, pre-loved and sometimes brand new items and our branch on Dublin’s South King Street has a very special piece of jewellery on sale now.

The stunning 18k yellow and white gold necklace with heart pendant by Chimento was donated to the shop by a very generous Oxfam supporter.

Valued at €2,500, (and on sale for a much better price) the funds this item will raise will make a huge difference to the lives of people affected by poverty. Call Barbara or Jackie on (01) 671 0308 now before it's snapped up!

If you’ve fallen for this beautiful piece, or know someone who would love it this Christmas, the necklace is available to view by appointment only at our South King Street shop. Call today on (01) 671 0308 to view the piece.

Our shops really need the things you don’t. If you’d like to Make Space for Oxfam, drop into your local Oxfam shop (we’d love to see you!) or go to your local Oxfam donation bank.

Each bag of items you donate raises an average of €30. This could help do the following:

  • Feed a child orphaned by AIDS in Malawi for three and a half months
  • Provide tools for a community to maintain their wells and secure a permanent supply of clean, safe drinking water, or,
  • Supply food for a family caught up in an emergency food crisis for two weeks

We welcome donations of clothing, accessories, homewares and other items all year round.

Posted In:
Dec 13, 2012

Dec Will you grant three wishes this Christmas?

13
2012

Christmas is the time of giving but when times are tough it can be hard to see past the problems at home.

Yet people across the island of Ireland are renowned for their generosity. Despite difficult economic circumstances, our supporters in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland appreciate the struggle to survive faced by millions overseas.

In fact, Ireland ranked second place in last year’s World Giving Index – up from third spot in 2010.

 

Whatever your wishes this Christmas and your hopes for the New Year, there are many around the world who have much less to look forward to in 2013. People whose wishes – and needs – will be much more basic. 
 
Mothers, for instance, caught up in a food crisis who wish they could ensure their children don’t go hungry. Or for clean water not contaminated with deadly diseases from the nearby stagnant pool. Or for a future that offers hope – a chance to provide for their family and educate their children.
 
 
TOP-LEFT: “Oxfam has really helped us. I never imagined that I’d be able to do all this.”
Rubenia Santos (pictured to the left), a female farmer in Honduras who has been taught how to grow crops on a cyclical basis so she always has enough to eat and sell at the local market. Gary Henry/Oxfam
 
TOP-RIGHT:
People gather at a water point in South Sudan. Hygiene promoter Olivia Awaya says: “We suffered a lot when we used to walk to get water. It was far and the water brought lots of disease. Now we can get clean water, fewer people are getting sick.” Caroline Gluck/Oxfam
 
BOTTOM:
Bayush Kassan (left) and Belaynesh Hussen are part of an Oxfam-supported cooperative of 31 women in Ethiopia who collectively own land on which they farm vegetables. They’ve turned their seed crops into seed oil thanks to a new seed-crushing machine. Bayush explains: “We used to harvest, carry and sell 5kgs of seeds for around 6birr (29c/23p). Now we could get twice as much.” Tom Pietrasik/Oxfam
 
This Christmas, we’d like to ask for your help in granting the three things most of us are able to take for granted this Christmas. 
 

Food

More than 18 million people in West Africa are facing desperate food shortages this Christmas.

Water

On the 25th December, 4,000 children will die of diarrhoea caused by dirty water.

A future

Today, 72 million children in the developing world are going without a basic education.

 

Together, we can provide clean water for children to drink, help hungry families grow the food they’re desperate for and offer hardworking people the change of a future free from the stranglehold of poverty.
 
If you’d like to help grant the three wishes of food, water and a future this Christmas, you can donate now, buy an Oxfam Unwrapped gift  or bring the clothes and other items you no longer need to your local Oxfam shop.
 

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