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May 10, 2013

May A powerful impact when you buy a Born Again refurbished computer

10
2013

We don’t just use digital technology to talk about what we’re doing – it’s part of how we’re doing things in our projects around the world.

From providing cash transfers in emergencies like the Haiti earthquake to the innovative Pink Phones Project in Cambodia which gives women farmers the latest farming information using mobile phones, technology enhances our work and empowers people living in poverty to build a brighter future.

Now we’re using technology to raise vital funds for initiatives like these with the introduction of our new Born Again range of refurbished computers.

Available online and in selected Oxfam shops, prices start at just €120/£99 for a desktop and €180/£150 for a laptop.

Clockwise from top: Yoshi Nolan (17) bought her Born Again laptop in our Tullamore shop. She uses it to surf the internet, type up notes and save her photos. James Flynn/APX. Mobile phone technology has allowed women like Vansy, who lives in a rural community in Cambodia, to access the latest farming information such as weather patterns and crop prices. Oxfam’s Pink Phones Project has transformed women’s lives by enabling them to buy bigger plots of land, sell more vegetables and build a sustainable livelihood. Simon Rawles/Oxfam Cathy Hackett (5), Ella Sharkey (5) and Chloe Sharkey (8) demonstrate how we give computers a new lease of life. Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland. 

Excellent quality, great value, environmentally friendly and helping to end poverty – these are pretty amazing computers!

Sourced from companies who are changing over to new hardware, each one has been lovingly restored, tested and supplied with a fresh operating system and applications, plus comes with a 6-month warranty. 

To make it easier to pick your perfect computer, the range is divided into three specs/usage categories, including student-friendly Surfer, family-orientated Plus and the powerful Pro which is ideal for small businesses. 

Yoshi Nolan, a student from Tullamore, Co. Offaly, recently bought a computer from her local Oxfam shop. “I am absolutely delighted with my new computer,” she says. “It’s great to get a good laptop at a reasonable price and it’s also nice to know that the money is going somewhere good.” 

May 2, 2013

May Before and after: The ultimate upcycle!

2
2013
Our Oxfam Home stores are a treasure trove of vintage furniture. Most pieces fly out the door, but others stay a little longer as they wait for a customer who can see past first appearances. 
 
With a little imagination and a bit of elbow grease, you can transform furniture that has seen better days into a one-of-a-kind piece by upcycling.
 
Not only will you have helped the planet by recycling, you’ll also be helping to fund Oxfam Ireland’s vital work with communities around the world.
 
 
Above: The Little Museum of Dublin on St. Stephen’s Green was packed full of would-be upcyclers to hear tips from Neville Knott (top-centre) and other experts. Photos: Paul Sherwood.
 
We recently teamed up with Crown Paints and House and Home magazine to showcase just what can be done! 
 
The creative geniuses at Galerie Lisette, Quirkistuff and Upside Design worked their magic on furniture from Oxfam Home shops and unveiled the results at the recent Ultimate Upcycle event in Dublin hosted by TV presenter and interior guru Neville Knott. 
 
For more about the event plus tips from the designers, click here. A big thanks to everyone involved!
 

BEFORE

 

AFTER

 
Left to right: Once a computer desk, mum and daughter team Aida and Lucina Lennon at Galerie Lisette have turned this into a pretty dressing table. Husband and wife Les and Sue Corbett of Quirkistuff have given this tired cabinet a vibrant yellow and purple makeover complete with tassle. Upside Design’s Al Birbeck and Nawel Kouadri found the name of a previous owner inside this wardrobe, a young girl. This inspired the feminine look, complete with collage-style wallpaper.Photos: Paul Sherwood.
 
These stunning pieces are now on sale – Galerie Lisette’s floral-inspired  computer desk turned  dressing table (€195 - pictured left) and Upside Design’s gorgeous girlie wardrobe (€695 - pictured right) are at Oxfam Home, Francis Street, Dublin 2 (01-478 0777), while QuirkiStuff’s vibrant cabinet (€245 - pictured centre) can be yours by dropping into Oxfam Home on King’s Inn Street, Dublin 1 (01-874 8175).
 
The proceeds will help to change lives around the world, such as our emergency response for refugees fleeing Syria.
 
And if you’re feeling inspired, we’d love to help you pick out a piece of furniture for your upcycling project at our Oxfam Home shops (we’re also on the Dublin Road in Belfast). Drop in and get creative!
Apr 26, 2013

Apr Have peace of mind at our donation locations

26
2013

Q: What’s big, green and likes eating clothes and books?

A: Our 243 donation banks!

You’ll spot their funny slogans like “Put a sock in it. (And other clothes too)” or “I need romance. (And other books too)?".

But they do serious work, providing crucial stock for your local Oxfam shop and turning your unwanted items into life-changing funds for our work around the world. 

This week's excellent RTÉ Prime Time programme highlighted how some clothing donation banks are being targeted by criminal gangs. 

We want to let you know that we have no evidence whatsoever to suggest that our banks are being broken into. 

In fact, we identified this risk a few years and began replacing our existing banks with an extremely secure design.

Top: Your donations are in safe hands with Oxfam. Bottom: Two little girls peeking from their tent which they share with three other families in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon.  Their mother, Zaniah Ishmail fled from the violence in Syria and brought her children here to keep them safe. "We have been here 4 months. There were two very heavy clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the Regime and we were worried that we wouldn’t have another chance to get out of our village again so we escaped.” Photo: Simon Rawles / Oxfam.

Because we know the effort you go to in order to gather clothes and books and bring them to our banks, we conduct regular and rigorous checks to ensure you can have peace of mind that your donations will go where they’re intended – the local Oxfam shop.

Your generous donations are collected by our team of uniformed drivers and branded vehicles who bring them directly to our nearest shop.

This supports our vital work, from helping refugees fleeing Syria to long-term development projects and campaigning that gives a voice to people affected by poverty and injustice.

We really need the things you don’t. Please support our Make Space for Oxfam campaign and bring unwanted clothes and books to our donation banks and shops.

Apr 23, 2013

Apr World’s biggest chocolate companies melt under consumer pressure

23
2013

More sweet news today for chocolate lovers: the biggest chocolate maker in the world, Mondelez International, has agreed to take steps to address inequality facing women in their cocoa supply chains — thanks to pressure from consumers like you.

More than 100,000 people around the world joined our Behind the Brands campaign, signing petitions and taking action to urge Mondelez (which owns Cadbury’s) and its competitors to tackle the hunger, poverty and unequal pay facing many women cocoa farmers and workers. You also made your voices heard by sending messages to the companies on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Today’s announcement by Mondelez follows commitments last month by Mars and Nestlé to address these issues. Together, Mars, Mondelez and Nestlé buy more than 30 per cent of the world’s cocoa — so changes in their policies could have huge effects for cocoa farmers and their families. 

Although they don’t employ or control them directly, they rely on farmers like Etchi Avla (43) in the Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer. She wants to be paid a fair price. “We do our best to do it well, but the price of cocoa is really low. And that makes it hard for us to take good care of our children and it is tiring.” 

 

Clockwise from top:  Etchi Avla on her cocoa farm in Botende, Ivory Coast. “As a woman I know that there are other women in other countries who would like to support us. As a woman when you see another woman is suffering you want to help.”  Portrait of Etchi Avla. The pulp is separated from cocoa. Photos: Peter DiCampo/Oxfam.
 
“Empowering women cocoa farmers has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people, some of whom are earning less than $2 a day,” said Oxfam Ireland’s Chief Executive Jim Clarken. “We hope that the steps taken by Mars, Mondelez and Nestle offer an example to the rest of the food and beverage industry that consumers are paying attention to how companies impact the communities they work in.”
 
Mars, Mondelez and Nestlé are now taking the first steps to commit to the empowerment of women and to find out how women are being treated in their supply chains. They have committed to work towards signing on to the UN Global Compact’s Women’s Empowerment Principles. And they have agreed to publish the data from first-stage impact assessments in one year’s time and to publish concrete action plans to address the issues. 
 
We’re looking forward to working with Mondelez, Mars and Nestle to ensure they stick to their promises to women. So we can all watch and make sure they stay on track, we have produced a Road Map to highlight all the promises they have made and the dates they have committed to.  
 
You can also stay informed through Oxfam’s Behind the Brands scorecard to see how the giant companies that make your favourite brands (chocolate and otherwise) measure up.
 
Apr 16, 2013

Apr 'I get dizzy and have stomach pains when I‘m hungry'

16
2013

While negotiations to reduce carbon emissions are taking place at a snail’s pace, millions of people in the developing world are already suffering from the effects of climate change.  

In Malawi, dramatic fluctuations and weather patterns are already causing serious problems.

Zuze has lived in Balaka, southern Malawi, his whole life. He has seen many changes during his time there. But recent droughts have had a severe impact on his maize crop and the amount of food the family has. Zuze planted 3 times last year and only harvested four bags of maize, which lasted six months.

"The climate keeps on changing and if it doesn’t improve life will be hard on us and we will just be waiting for the time when are going to die. There won’t be any solution. We are just living on faith, hoping that things will change.”

 
Clocwise from top: Zuze stands in his field of failed crops. Zuze and whis wife at home. Zuze holds up his failed maize plants. Photos: Amy Christian/ Oxfam.
 
To survive, he is forced to work on other people's land to earn money and food for his family. The work is tough and often, because he is weak from a lack of food, he passes out while working.
 
“We planted for the first time when the rains came but it didn’t grow, we planted the second time and nothing happened and the third time a little bit survived. When the maize was growing there was a lot of sun and that’s why it died.”
 
According to Chiyamba Mataya, Humanitarian Coordinator with Oxfam in Malawi, longer than expected drought and increasingly erratic rainfall is affecting the ability of people to cope from one season to the next. 
 
“People are failing to produce because of the prolonged dry spells. The last production season, most of these people harvested maybe only one bag which they produced in one month.”
 
The impact of climate change is particularly hard on women, who do the majority of work on farms but are also responsible for the welfare of children and upkeep of their homes. 
 
Elizabeth supports her 4 children alone as she kicked her husband out after he became a drunk and regularly beat her.
 
“I give the children one meal a day because I want the food to last us longer. It’s not enough food for my children. It’s a big problem as they get very mal nourished, most of the time they are weak. When they go to school in the mornings they can’t concentrate in class as they are so weak.”
 
Clocwise from top: Elizabeth holds the remains of her failed maize. Elizabeth and her 12 year old son David outside their home. Elizabeth holds failed maize in her hands. Photos: Amy Christian/ Oxfam.
 
Her crops failed three times last year, forcing her to take on extra work for food to feed her family. 
 
‘When I haven’t eaten for two or three days I am very weak and I have constant stomach pains. When you have to sleep on an empty stomach and then in the morning you have to go and do manual work it’s really hard. I go and get a gallon of water and that’s what I rely on. When the sun is very high I sit on a tree and wait for it to cool down and then I can continue. It is very hard on me.'
 
Madelena has similar problems. She has four children who she supports alone. To survive she has resorted to catching field mice to supplement the little Nsima (flour and water) she gives the children.
 
“There have always been droughts but these last three years are the worst. When everything is ok I harvest around six to seven bags of maize. When we have seven bags it can last us up to 10 months.”
 
Last year, she harvested two bags. 
 
 
Clocwise from top: Madelena stands where her house once did. Madelena has 4 children whom she supports alone. In the last three years succesive drought have affected her ability to provide for them. Madelena holds the remains of her failed crop. Photos: Amy Christian/ Oxfam.
 
“I get dizzy and have stomach pains when I‘m hungry. But the main problem is the children, when they are hungry they just cry and so I worry that they are having the same problems, that they are dizzy and in pain. Sometimes when I feel dizzy I have to lie down for a while and wait for it to go. When I drink water it doesn’t help as there is nothing in the stomach, there is no food. Sometimes I go a day without food, sometimes two days.”
 
Oxfam Ireland is supporting projects in Balaka and Blantyre rural districts, where it is helping the most vulnerable communities adapt and build resilience to changing weather patterns, enabling them to meet their needs all year round. 
 
The project will help improve farmers’ agricultural production by supporting them to grow more drought resistant crops, developing irrigation systems and providing training in water management and soil conservation techniques. 
 
However, more support must be given to funding climate mitigation schemes so that countries have the resources to respond to climate change. 
 
Speaking to RTE’s Tony Connolly from Malawi, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland Jim Clarken said that it is critical that we scale up funding in line with UN commitments.
 
“As a matter of urgency, we need to see funding into a proper adaptation fund so that countries like Malawi can do something about it and strengthen their own ability to cope every day.” 
 
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