Ireland rugby star Andrew Trimble helps us tackle poverty

Ireland rugby star Andrew Trimble helps us tackle poverty

Christmas is a special time. I recently became a dad, so I am looking forward to spending a first Christmas with our baby son.

The festive season is also a time for sharing. As we remember those less fortunate than us, I’m proud to support Oxfam Ireland’s Unwrapped range of alternative Christmas gifts, to help families in emergency crises and extreme poverty worldwide.

Oxfam Ireland Ambassador Andrew Trimble is pictured with siblings Micah and Lucy Campbell and a Clutch of Chicks’ (€19/£15), one of the charity’s Unwrapped range of alternative Christmas gifts, which help families in emergency crises and extreme poverty worldwide. Photo: Press Eye Photography/Oxfam.

To promote the Unwrapped gifts I recently took part in a photo shoot at the Oxfam shop in Botanic Avenue in Belfast, with the help of two-year old Micah and his five-year-old sister Lucy, along with some chicks from the Ark Open Farm in Newtownards. The cute chicks soon drew a small crowd of admiring customers, with Oxfam staff explaining how these simple Unwrapped gifts can transform lives.

2015 has been an incredibly challenging year for the people Oxfam are trying to help. War and conflict has forced millions more people from their homes and everything they knew. Earthquakes, cyclones and other extreme weather events have destroyed lives and livelihoods that people worked so hard to build. People just like me and you, but who now have the odds stacked against them.

Oxfam shops across Ireland, north and south, are offering a wide-range of Unwrapped gifts that give back, making a positive impact in the lives of people.

One of those gifts is called ‘Care for a Baby’ (€17/£12). It helps Oxfam to provide life-saving emergency aid to families from the youngest member to the oldest, helping them survive crisis situations with what’s needed most like food, clean water, shelter and sanitation. Gifts like these are vital to people fleeing conflict in places like Syria.

Another gift that makes a big difference is the Unwrapped ‘Cooking Stove’ (€10/£8). This gift is eco-friendly and fuel-efficient – it only uses half the wood of traditional methods and it’s hotter too. Oxfam’s emergency workers give the stoves to families who’ve lost everything in places like South Sudan, providing people with warmth and a way to cook food. It also reduces the need for women to venture in search of firewood into areas where they are at risk of attack – and makes it one of the ways Oxfam keeps women and girls safe after they’ve been forced to flee their homes in an emergency.

Andrew's Pick: Unwrapped Cooking Stove

Irish rugby star Andrew Trimble helps us tackle poverty - Oxfam Unwrapped

Other Unwrapped gifts range from giving girls the opportunity to reach full potential with ‘Educate a Girl’ (€25/£19). through to helping poor farmers thrive through agricultural projects with cards like a ‘Goat’ (€35/£25). or a ‘Clutch of Chicks’ (€19/£15).

The ‘Clutch of Chicks’ gift is more than a bit of yellow fluff – you’ll actually be helping to make possible a whole range of life-changing livelihoods projects. By providing communities who depend on animals for their livelihoods with new opportunities, you’ll be supporting them in a variety of ways, including veterinary care for their animals, agricultural training or even village grain banks.

Oxfam Ireland Ambassador Andrew Trimble with Micah Campbell and a baby chick. Photo: Press Eye Photography/Oxfam.

Whatever Unwrapped gift you buy, Oxfam will ensure that your money has the best possible impact on the communities who need it most, from providing safe water that saves lives in emergencies to helping farmers to grow more crops as well as lots more besides. Please help those who have so little this Christmas to build a better future in 2016. Thank you.

Unwrapped gifts are available at your local Oxfam shop as a printed gift card and can also be purchased online at www.oxfamireland.org/unwrapped which also has e-card versions, or over the phone by calling 1850 30 40 55 (Republic of Ireland) or 0800 0 30 40 55 (Northern Ireland).

Ireland and Ulster rugby player Andrew Trimble is an Oxfam Ireland Ambassador.