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Back to School: Help Open a Child’s Door

Children at Al Rusul school for girls in Mosul, Iraq. Photo: Tegid Cartwright/Oxfam

For a good bit of us here in Ireland, it’s back to school time, which means parents and children are back to stressing about making it out of the door in the mornings on-time. Five minutes late? That’s no bother to some children going back to school in Iraq right now as they also worry about clean and safe access to toilets. Did you know that more than 1/2 of schools in Iraq need rehabilitation and 2.5 million children need help to access education?

Returning Home

During the three-year reign of terror by ISIS, Iraq’s once thriving city of Mosul was torn apart by fighting. Homes, health centres and schools were bombed and shattered to pieces. For many of Mosul’s children and their loved ones, their happy memories and old lives have all gone as children have seen their parents, grandparents or siblings being killed. They’ve lived under the daily terror of violent occupation. Without schooling, only 5% of 8 to 9-year-olds can now read and solve math problems at an appropriate grade level.

When it was safe for Bibi, a student, to return to her old primary school in west Mosul, she found it was a shell. An empty shell. The windows had been blown out, the furniture was broken, and the classrooms empty, void of the children’s work that had once filled their walls. The school’s sanitation system had been destroyed. There was no running water and the toilet floors were covered in rubbish, mud and faeces. The stench was so bad it made the children feel sick.

“When ISIS came, I stayed here for awhile and then I was told to leave. It [the school] was destroyed, the furniture was broken. All our records were all over the floor. There was nothing left for us. Two years of the students’ lives are gone.”
- Muna Husein Kadu, Headteacher at the Al Rusul Primary School for girls
Iraq toilets Mosul - Back To School
The bathrooms in Al Rusul school for girls before Oxfam carried out rehabilitation work to install clean and sanitary toilets and sinks for the students to use. Photo: Tegid Cartwright/Oxfam

Back to School

In west Mosul, families are gradually returning home to rebuild their lives after the conflict with ISIS, and over the last few months children have started slowly going back to school to restart their education. Oxfam’s teams have helped to rehabilitate the water and sanitation systems in over 30 key schools, ensuring hundreds of children going back to school have a safe and sanitary environment in which to learn. This work is complemented by educational sessions on hygiene that teach children about the importance of keeping themselves and the environment clean through interactive games. These sessions also serve as a fun way for the children to engage with each other and rebuild friendships. 
In just three days – that’s right, just three days – Oxfam workers on the ground rebuilt the sanitation system at Bibi’s school, the Al Rusul Primary School for girls. This is the fast, effective, and life-changing difference we can bring to children in Iraq with the support of donors. Now more than half of the schools in Iraq need rehabilitation, along with hundreds of schools in war-torn countries like Syria. We must make sure they have a better future. In three days, we can help protect their future. Together, we can help Mosul’s children get an education, and avoid a lifetime of poverty. We can make sure that boys and girls are in school and not at risk of being worked to the bone – for as little as 10,000 dinars (less than nine dollars a day) – as child labourers. With so many obstacles already making it hard for Mosul’s children to get an education, sanitation should not be one of them.
“The kids are the ones with the hope. They want to carry on and progress”.
- Muna Husein Kadu, Headteacher at the Al Rusul Primary School for girls

How to fix toilets in three days | Oxfam Ireland

To make a difference in a child-in-need’s life today, consider sending a quick donation through the button below.

#BacktoSchool #Mosul #Iraq

New shocking facts about the impact of fast fashion on our climate

 

Our planet is in serious trouble and our nation’s addiction to new clothes is doing more harm than you may think.

Half a tonne of clothing every minute is dumped into a landfill in Ireland. That amount produces over 12 tonnes of carbon emissions – the same as driving 65,000 kilometres in a car.

Buying just one white cotton shirt produces the same amount of emissions as driving 56 kilometres in a car. 

Earlier this year, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg stood up in front of world leaders at Davos to deliver a chilling wake up call. “We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people.”

 
 
Greta sparked a wake-up call across the globe demanding drastic change to save our planet and in turn, ourselves. We’re all feeling the effects of the climate emergency, but it is not affecting us all equally.
 
The world’s poorest people have contributed the least to the climate crisis, yet are suffering the full force of its impacts – increased flooding, droughts and storms destroying lives, homes, jobs, livestock and crops.
 
When Greta said, “our house is on fire” she wasn’t wrong. We are seeing unprecedented wild fires spreading across the Amazon rainforest, the lungs of our planet, producing 20% of the world’s oxygen.
Greenland’s ice sheet is melting so fast it has caused global sea levels to rise 0.5mm in just one month. Our planet is in serious trouble.
 
But things could be different. As Greta pointed out “The main solution is so simple that even a small child can understand. We have to stop our emissions of greenhouse gases.”
 
Obvious actions stand out – flying less, driving less, taking more public transport. But how about buying fewer new clothes? With the global textile industry producing more greenhouse gas emissions than international aviation and shipping combined – it could be a more important change than we think.
 
Help raise awareness of how damaging our shopping habits can be by sharing the graphic below on your social channels.
 
 
 
 
 

5 simple hacks to make clothes last longer

Find out how to extend the life of your clothes – and reduce your eco impact – with a few simple changes to your laundry routine

 

An easy way to make clothes more sustainable is to wear and keep them for longer. But how can you make sure they stay in tip top condition – and last? We scoured the internet and found some super-simple ways to prolong the life of your favourite clothes just by tweaking the way you wash, dry and store them. Here are a few of our favourites.

1. Before you wash, zip

Ever unloaded your wash only to find your delicates snagged, ripped or tangled? Zips, buttons and chunky embellishments could well be to blame. Before you load the machine take a few minutes to zip up zips, button up buttons, fasten any velcro and turn your clothes inside out. That way, any hard parts are less likely to catch on other pieces of clothing or the machine drum. For added protection, wash delicates in a laundry bag – or a good, old-fashioned pillow case!
 

2. Don’t tumble, air dry

Tumble drying is energy-intensive, expensive and can wear out your clothes over time. Air drying, meanwhile, uses zero energy, is completely free and can even help tackle stains. Yes, some people swear that hanging whites in direct sunshine can work wonders on biological stains – dirty nappies in particular.
 

3. Full load it

The more you wash clothes, the more you’ll wear them out, so try and wait until they really need it. Wait until you’ve got a full load too. Just make sure you don’t cram too much in, or you risk damaging your clothes and machine, plus the load may not wash or rinse properly. Unsure what a full load looks like? According to Bosch, we’re talking about roughly ¾ of the drum.
 

4. Banish light, damp… and moths

Extending the life of your clothes isn’t just about how you wash and dry them – it’s about savvy storage too. As well as keeping out any light, which can fade colours faster, ensure clothes are completely dry before putting them away. Clothes-eating moths are another issue. With some evidence that numbers are rising in Ireland, it’s worth doing some prevention work. Try adding a bit of lavender before you close the wardrobe door to put off the moths.
 

5. Know when to fold

Currently stick everything on a hanger? If you want your clothes to last, you may want to reorganise. Those in the know say that jumpers should always be folded to keep them in good nick. If you’re pushed for space, check out the KonMari folding method. And for clothes you do hang, invest in decent hangers to avoid them becoming misshapen or snagged.
 
Fancy a few more last-longer tips? Our friends at Love Your Clothes have lots more advice to help keep your clothes looking great! find out more here.

Say no to new clothes, with Oxfam’s Second Hand September

  • 63% of people in Ireland agree that charity shops play a key role in sustainable fashion.
  • Charity calls on sustainable shoppers to take the 30-day Second hand September pledge

More than six in 10 Irish people (63%) see their local charity shop as playing a key role in sustainable fashion, according to new research from Oxfam Ireland.

The survey also revealed that an overwhelming amount of people (76%) donate unwanted items to charity shops because it reduces the amount of clothes being thrown away, while 62% buy pre-loved clothes and accessories because it gives items a second chance to be worn and enjoyed.

The research comes as the charity rolls out Second Hand September – a new initiative offering a solution to throwaway fashion and the devastating impact it is having on people and the planet. Throughout the month of September, Oxfam is calling on people across the island of Ireland to pledge to say no to buying new clothes for 30 days and yes to shopping second-hand. People can sign up at oxfamireland.org/shs and start their 30-day challenge at any time.

Michael McIlwaine, Oxfam Ireland’s Head of Retail, said: “Cheap production and plummeting prices when it comes to clothes means the items we buy often have a shorter lifespan, with more and more ending up in landfill before they should. In Ireland, 225 tonnes of textile are dumped every year. In the UK, 11 million items of clothing are thrown away every week. Throwaway fashion is putting increasing pressure on our planet and its people – and it’s not sustainable.

“Our shops are part of the solution by offering people a way to reduce the amount of items they’re sending to landfill through donating as well as a way to reuse by shopping second-hand and giving clothes, accessories and more a new lease of life. By donating and shopping in-store, you’re also helping to raise vital funds for people living in poverty worldwide, including those affected by climate change.

“We are asking people to join us on a journey to a more sustainable lifesyle, starting with the clothes we wear. Throughout September, we’re calling on people to pledge to say no to buying news clothes for 30 days. They can sign-up and start at any time through oxfamireland.org/shs and we’ll be with them every step of the way, sending top tips, inspiration and more to make the pledge a breeze.“

To take the pledge, visit: www.oxfamireland.org/shs

ENDS

For interviews, images or more information, please get in touch:

ROI:     Alice Dawson-Lyons on 00 353 (0) 83 198 1869 / alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org

NI:        Phillip Graham on 0044 (0) 7841 102535 / phillip.graham@oxfamireland.org

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • The survey was commissioned by Oxfam and conducted by Empathy Research in 2019. The full methodology and research data is available on request.
  • Oxfam works across many areas of fashion: collaborating with big brands to recycle and reuse stock; joining forces with fashion houses to improve conditions in their supply chains; fighting to improve garment workers’ rights; and campaigning on climate change.
  • Across its programmes, Oxfam is tackling the impact of the climate crisis. They work with communities to prepare for unpredictable weather and disasters as a result of climate change and are there to help when the worst does happen, from drought to floods and earthquakes.
  • Oxfam has 47 shops across the island of Ireland, selling high-quality pre-loved clothes, accessories, handbags, shoes and more. To find the nearest Oxfam shop, visit www.oxfamireland.org/shops
  • Irish people dump 225,000 tonnes of clothing every year. Source: http://re-dress.ie/when-fashion-is-finished-garment-end-of-life-solutions/

 

Five Reasons to Rethink Where You Shop

1 - Water Beats Poverty

From growing the cotton to the dyeing process, it can take a whopping estimated 10,000 litres of water to make just one pair of jeans and one t-shirt. To put this into context, it would take more than 13 years to drink that much water. Millions of pairs of jeans are sold in Ireland every year. But with so many people around the world living without safe, clean water – and global demand for water continuing to rise – you’ve got to wonder if such a thirst for fashion can go on. 
 
When you shop for secondhand jeans at Oxfam, you’ll be helping to make sure that families around the world get the water they need. That’s because the money raised goes into our work to help communities worldwide beat poverty for good. This includes providing clean, safe water – something we all need to live a healthy, dignified life. In fact, in the words of Takudzwa, an Oxfam water engineer in Zimbabwe, water IS life.

Meet Taku, one of our amazing water engineers | Oxfam Ireland

2 - Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

If you’re trying to live a little greener, you’ve probably thought about the way you travel, maybe even what you eat.  But many of us haven’t even considered the contents of our wardrobes. The carbon footprint of one new shirt is bigger than driving a car for 55km while the textile industry accounts for more of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions than international aviation and shipping combined.
 

3 - 'True Cost' of Fashion

Many garment industry workers in countries such as Bangladesh and Cambodia don’t receive a living wage despite working in dangerous conditions. This pay injustice keeps families trapped in a cycle of poverty. In some cases, workers are expected to meet tight deadlines, while discrimination and harassment from management continues to be a major concern. This hidden reality of fast fashion has many unseen victims. 
 

4 - Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle

Every year in Ireland, 225,000 tonnes of clothing end up in landfill. Thankfully, there’s a really easy way we can all have an instant impact – by wearing and caring for clothes for longer. And by recycling or donating the things we don’t want. Millions of items could be saved from landfill every week. Donate your clothes to Oxfam and you’ll be helping to tackle landfill waste – even if your clothes don’t sell in our shops. Because any items that don’t find a new home are sent to Wastesaver, Oxfam’s huge sorting and recycling centre, which saves around 12,000 tonnes of clothing from landfill every year.

5 - Affordable Style

Imagine it’s the end of the month and you can just about see that long-awaited payslip around the corner. On payday, do you hit the high street and drop a hefty portion of that new payslip on some trousers? Or do you pop into your local Oxfam shop to explore its selection of stylish, affordable trousers? Shop with us and you’ll be helping us to fight poverty today – and beat it for good. 

Sign the pledge to say no to new clothes for 30 days. Instead, pop into your local Oxfam shop today to find your next favourite outfit.

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