Eight in 10 Irish people consider buying a charity gift this Christmas

More than 8 out of 10 Irish consumers would consider buying an ethical/charity gift as a Christmas present for a friend or family member this Christmas, according to a recent survey by Oxfam Ireland released as part of the launch of Oxfam Unwrapped.

Given the ongoing generosity of our own supporters throughout the years, and indeed the seasons, these survey results come with no surprise to us here at Oxfam Ireland. Christmas being a time of goodwill, it’s a time where thoughts turn to buying gifts for our loved ones. Christmas is also the time we as a nation are known to think about donations to charity and helping people living in poverty. Oxfam Unwrapped offers you the choice of combining the two by giving your loved ones great gifts that keep on giving.

We found that over two-thirds (68%) of Irish people considering buying an ethical/charity gift this Christmas are encouraged to do so because it will help those in need. So whether you’re looking for a stocking filler present for €10/£10 or less (like Chocolate €5/£4, a Share in a Farmyard €7/£5 or a Cooking Stove €10/£8) or are raising money together with your school, group, company or club to buy a large-scale gift (like Water for a School €1,950/£1500), the impact is the same – lives transformed for the better.

Almost 2 in 5 (37%) of Irish people say they would buy an ethical/charity gift this Christmas as they know the person they will give it to would love it, while another third (34%) mentioned that giving an ethical/charity gift as a Christmas present is unique and different.

This year we have lots of gifts guaranteed to generate smiles on the faces of your loved ones!

Pictured outside the Oxfam shop on South King Street, Laoise (7) and Róisín (2) O’Morain from Sandymount in Dublin help Oxfam Ireland ambassador and presenter Lorna Weightman launch Season of Smiles – Oxfam Ireland’s Christmas range. Houdini the pig and Cola the goat were also there highlighting the Unwrapped range of alternative gift cards which allows people to buy goats, pigs, chicks, chocolate and more to support Oxfam’s work worldwide. Photos: Photocall / Oxfam

Our incredible animal gifts are the perfect gift for the animal lovers in your life and are always a hit with kids. This year, animal gifts include Honeybees (€17/£12), A Clutch of Chicks (€13/£10), A Goat (€35/£24), Goat Couple (€70/£50) or Three Little Pigs (€75/£55). By purchasing animal gifts, you will raise money for Oxfam’s Livelihoods fund. This fund supports a wide range of life-changing programmes that help vulnerable communities who depend on healthy animals and farming for their livelihood. 

Whether you want to buy a gift for a friend or family member who is passionate about education or loves to cook, we have you covered! You can buy the gift of a Cooking Stove (€10/£8), Feed 10 Families (€65/£45), support a child’s education with the gift of School Books (€12/£8) or even help to Educate a Girl (€12.50/£9.50). Have a DIY-lover in your life? Buy them the gift of Fixing a Well (€32/£22). Purchasing any of these gifts will raise money for one of Oxfam’s four specific funds – Livelihoods, Saving Lives, Investing in Futures and Water for All. Your gift will go where it’s needed most and begin to make an immediate difference. 

Your gift could help people like Dith Mon and her family in Cambodia (pictured below). In Prei Preal Khor village Oxfam has set up an innovative water station to provide the community with safe drinking water. Using solar-powered pumps the station draws water from nearby wells and pushes it through several sand filters before being bottled up for sale. Before the water station was built Dith Mon, who takes care of her grandchildren, did not have access to clean water and she and her family suffered repeatedly from typhoid. However, now that Dith Moth has been getting water from this station, things have improved. She explains: “The children are rarely sick at the moment though because they are now drinking the clean water.”  

Dith Mon, Prei Preal Khor Village in Cambodia. Photo: Simon Rawles/Oxfam

Buying an Unwrapped gift could help support a child to go to school, particularly girls living in rural poverty. For example, working with local partner organisations Oxfam renovated four girls’ schools in Pakistan – resulting in a 42 percent increase in enrolment—and provided others with trained teachers and new equipment. 

A student at one of the renovated girls’ schools in Pakistan. Photo: Irina Werning/Oxfam 

We’re asking you to consider us again this Christmas, please help us spread millions of smiles around the world by generating funds for people living in poverty. With your help, together we can save lives this holiday season.

For gift card delivery before Christmas, order by Friday December 18th if you’re buying online or by phone (Republic of Ireland: 1850 30 40 55 / Northern Ireland: 0800 0 30 40 55). If you find yourself in need of a last-minute gift, don’t worry - you can buy an Oxfam Unwrapped eCard super quick on our online store.

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South Sudan photo exhibit highlights stories behind stats

A new photo exhibition – Make Them Visible – opens this month in Belfast to highlight the situation faced by people displaced by conflict in South Sudan. 

World Press Photo award-winner Kieran Doherty, whose family is originally from Belfast, travelled last year with Oxfam to South Sudan. Kieran’s striking photos from the trip now form a new exhibition in Belfast’s Linen Hall Library, where Kieran will also deliver an illustrated lunchtime talk, to share his impressions of South Sudan and the human stories behind his images.

There is an acute humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, after what began as a localised conflict on 15 December 2013 quickly spread across many parts of the country. Over 1.5 million people have since been internally displaced as a result of the conflict. 

Above-left: 35-year-old Richard Corodo lives in St Mary, where he was treated for cholera. Oxfam has distributed chlorine sachets and clean buckets for people to treat their own drinking water, as well as rehydration salts to be used in emergencies. Latrines and hand washing stations have also been constructed to help prevent the spread of disease.

Above-right: 1. Nyanror Derwer Reeng (62) is widowed and is living with her daughter’s family in Mingkaman: “All I think about is being free again. I’m blind but I can hear the fighting and I wish for peace in my country so I can go home again.” 2. A woman hangs her washing out to dry between two shelters in Juba. Many leave behind their precious livestock and find themselves destitute, without belongings or a means of making money. Many families arrive in host communities which are already stretched.  3. Both government forces and an alliance of rebels have been accused of committing atrocities. Many families around the country have taken refuge at camps protected by UN peacekeepers. A camp in Bor, where people from the Nuer community were staying was attacked by armed youths. This ten-year-old boy was shot three times in the head and miraculously survived the ordeal. Photos: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam

The fighting which has forced them from their lands has also prevented them from planting crops. Almost 4 million people are estimated to be severely hungry, with 30,000 people experiencing extreme and dangerous hunger levels in war-ravaged Unity state. 

Oxfam is currently supporting 690,000 people with humanitarian assistance in South Sudan, including clean water, hygiene facilities, direct food aid, fuel and livelihoods support. Oxfam has also helped over 100,000 South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia and 145,000 in Uganda.

Doherty said: “I met ordinary people forced into an extraordinary situation – vulnerable people in a forgotten crisis. 

“Behind each photo is an individual human being – just like you and me – who has had to flee, leaving behind belongings, a home, friends and often family. 

“Hopefully this photo exhibition can then help make these ‘invisible people’ visible by highlighting the situation of South Sudanese refugees and their families.” 

Above-left: 1. Following an  attack in their camp, women were not allowed to venture outside to gather wood, which meant there was no fuel to cook the food that was being distributed. Six weeks later, the gates were opened for an hour to allow women to fetch as much wood as possible from designated areas. 2. Pooch Mangyak with his fish on the River Nile. With so many people away from their homes and unable to plant their crops again this year, the food crisis is worsening. The River Nile is a source of food for both locals and those who have newly arrived in Mingkaman. Oxfam is distributing fishing equipment to displaced families to help supplement their diet. Above-right: Portrait of Kieran Doherty by Simon Kreitem. All other photos: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam


The Make Them Visible exhibition runs in Belfast’s Linen Hall Library from Tuesday 10th to Saturday 28th November, with a free lunchtime talk on 12th November at 1.30pm. The exhibition is part of EUsaveLIVES, an Oxfam campaign in partnership with the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), to raise awareness about the situation of refugees and displaced people



Budget 2016 lost opportunity for real tax transparency

The Irish government’s final budget is a lost opportunity for real tax transparency needed to ensure a fair recovery for all.
We need to wipe out the secrecy that facilitates corporate tax dodging. Corporate tax dodging means governments keep putting their hands in the pockets of ordinary taxpayers to pay for the shortfall – many of whom can least afford it.
Minister Noonan announced today that Ireland will be one of the first countries to require companies operating here to declare to tax authorities how much tax they pay and where in line with new OECD recommendations. However, Ireland’s tax authorities will not have to share the information or force companies to publish their reports.
The government has moved in the right direction with measures announced today but missed the opportunity to show real leadership by ensuring companies publish their results so citizens are aware of exactly what they earn where, what they owe where and what they actually pay in tax.
18,000 people petitioned Minister Noonan last week asking him to make tax fair as part of Oxfam’s campaign against inequality. By dodging their tax liabilities, big businesses are constraining the ability of governments worldwide to tackle inequality and provide critical services. Ordinary people in rich and poor countries alike lose out as a result of tax havens, tax competition and a lack of transparent data on financial activities.
We recognise the government’s efforts over the past two years to deliver this action plan.  But this tax package must mark the beginning, not the end of global tax reform.  We need reforms that genuinely create an international tax system which works in the interests of the majority – not the few.
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Climate Change. Poverty. Hunger. It’s all the same fight.

This week thousands of people around the world are standing shoulder to shoulder with rural women, who are not only feeling the harshest effects of climate change but, in the face of woeful government inaction, are also leading the fight in feeding their communities, and the world. We meet women like Ipaishe, a farmer in Zimbabwe who is passionate about farming and vocal about the causes and solutions to climate change. And Langging, a young activist in the Philippines who thinks we should stop blaming each other and start doing what’s right – “imagine the impact we could have”.

Across six continents and more than 20 countries these women’s voices are being heard; on the streets, by politicians, online, in forums, at flashmobs, through song, through dance, at festivals, dinners, and on film. Welcome to GROW Week 2015!

Above: Anastasia Antonia, a member of the Farmer Field School of AENA, hitchhiking to Paris. Mozambique. Photo: Annie Bungeroth/Oxfam

Raising these voices this GROW Week is particularly significant as we are now just weeks away from the UN Climate Negotiations in Paris where government leaders from rich and poor countries will make big decisions about climate change that will affect all of us.

Climate change is changing the world we love. It’s putting our homes, our land and our food at risk and it’s threatening the fight against hunger.  For most of us, it means less quality food, less choice, and higher prices. For nearly a billion people already living in poverty, it means more hunger.  

Our message to leaders is that they must ensure that money to help people cope with the effects of climate change is on the way up, and the use of fossil fuels, the biggest drivers of climate change, is on the way out. And they have to start by protecting the people whose lives and livelihoods are most at risk.

This GROW Week we stand together to show what’s already possible and urge leaders to be as ambitious as these women in Paris.

Climate Change. Poverty. Hunger. It’s all the same fight.

Hear straight from Ipaishe, Langging and others here.

Take action now - Stand against climate change

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The loveliest letter you'll ever read

Video: Brian Malone/Oxfam

Thurs, October 8th, 2015

Dear Oxfam,
I have done a yard-sale to raise funds for Syrian people who are refugees.
It is not nice for anyone to live in tents in cold. I just don’t agree with it.
From Grace (10) and Nina (9),
Cabra, Dublin 7.

Sometimes the most powerful words come from children. The above letter to our Dublin office accompanied a cheque for €32.41 for our Syrian emergency response. This donation is most welcome – it will help provide safe drinking water and other aid to Syrian refugees living in camps and experiencing the most difficult of times. But the letter’s message – about what’s fair and what’s right – is just as powerful.

Forced to leave their homes and everything they know behind, Syrian refugees have had to put normal life on hold indefinitely, living in camps and informal settlements many miles from home where basics like a warm place to sleep, enough food to eat and a school to go to are difficult to come by if not impossible.

Hearing about the challenges faced by the Syrian relatives of a family friend and watching coverage of the crisis on the news made Dubliners and best friends Grace and Nina want to help.

Above: Grace and Nina's letter to Oxfam. Grace and Nina telling us their story. A picture from the  girls' yard sale for Syrian refugees. Grace's mum, Susan.

“It was really sad and kind of scary for me, so I didn’t really want to look at it,” explains Grace. “But I kind of do now because I want to find out more.”

Grace’s mother Susan spoke to them about the situation faced by Syrian refugees.

“We have a friend whose family are living in the refugee camps near Syria who had to flee their homes,” Susan says. “I had an image in my head of children in the camps not wearing shoes around the time of it being winter and it really kind of hit home. They were freezing cold and they didn’t have the comforts of home in addition to all the trauma they were going through.

“So [Grace and Nina] came back then and said, ‘Yes, we’d like to give the money to Oxfam and to the refugees in the camps’.”

But the yard sale and all the work involved was very much Grace and Nina’s doing. As Susan says, “They’re a pair who come up with ideas and they’re always on a project of some kind or other.”

There was lots to do including posters to make and rice crispie buns to bake. The pair also parted with some favourite toys and the event was a big success.

Nina explains: “I didn’t think it was going to be a big yard sale but then when we were getting everything ready, it was like, ‘Oh my God!’”

The girls have been inspired by what they’ve achieved (they raised a total of €64.82 and divided the funds between Dogs for the Disabled and Oxfam Ireland), so watch this space!

“We want to help refugees even more,” says Grace, while Nina adds: “And doing the yard sale was really fun.”

Out of a total of 22 million people living in Syria before the crisis, more than half the population has been forced to flee their homes, including more than 4 million who have fled to neighbouring countries.

Above: Syrian refugee Ahmad carries his daughter Nour as they walk towards a registration centre for migrants and refugees in Presevo, in southern Serbia. He and the group he's walking with had already travelled for 20 kilometres that day. We have begun a new emergency programme in Serbia to help the thousands like Ahmad and Nour who are fleeing to safety. Photo: Sam Tarling/Oxfam

Along with providing Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon with clean drinking water and relief supplies like blankets and stoves, we are also helping families get the information they need about their rights and connecting them to medical, legal and support services. Other work includes building shower and toilet blocks in camps. We are also providing clean water in Syria itself.

We have also begun an emergency programme in Serbia providing clean water and sanitation to help some of the thousands fleeing to safety, including many Syrians, who will soon face a harsh Balkans winter. Meanwhile in Italy we have programmes providing asylum seekers who have been saved from the Mediterranean Sea with housing, food, psychological support, legal assistance and language classes. We continue to campaign and advocate for an immediate ceasefire and a sustainable and inclusive political solution to the conflict in Syria.

We are also highlighting the individual stories of refugees to make them more visible through the EUsaveLIVES joint campaign with the European Commission.

When we shared Grace and Nina’s letter with colleagues working on the Syria crisis emergency response, the message of support made their day.

To know that people like Grace and Nina care about what’s happening to Syrian refugees and want to help, inspires us all.

By highlighting unfairness and how to do something about it, as they have, the future can be better place.


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