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Last minute present shopping? Make it the gift of light

Light up Christmas this Year with Oxfam’s Ethical Gift Card Range

While the country sparkles in the warm glow of festive lights, Oxfam are asking people to consider their Alternative Gift Card Range which includes the gift of light.

With shorter daylight hours, we rely on electric lights more and more, in our homes, on our streets. Yet people across the world are living in situations where the infrastructure for lighting no longer exists, or in refugee camps where electric lighting is not supplied/a pipedream.

Oluchi Porter, Humanitarian Project Support Officer said:

 “The gift of a solar lamp might seem small or insignificant to us, but it has huge impact in the day to day lives of people we work with. Having a reliable light source allows children to study, and most importantly, play after the sun goes down. It also helps mothers to care for their young children during the night as well as offering security when having to leave their dwelling after dark.”

“A common report we hear from women currently living in refugee camps is feeling unsafe when taking a trip to the bathroom at night due to the absence of street lighting. Having a solar lamp reduces some of this fear as it lightens up dark pathways.”

Sarah, a mother of four children living on Nyoat island in South Sudan, recently received a Little Sun Solar Lamp as part of an emergency kit distributed by Oxfam:

“The most important item I have received is the lamp because I have a small child who needs to be taken care of in the night most especially when changing her bed, previously I would light the fire then change her beddings but with this solar lamp I will just press the button and do it easily"

This gift is available as a printed card in Oxfam’s shops or as a beautifully designed ecard (plastic free!) which can be purchased online as a last-minute gift right up until Christmas morning or beyond!

For people facing conflict or disaster, an act of solidarity and support means a lot, and goes a long way. That is exactly what this gift can provide. It might not twinkle, but it will last long after our Christmas lights are packed up for another year.

ENDS

Contact: Alice Dawson-Lyons, Oxfam Ireland – alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org / +353 (0) 83 198 1869

Notes to the Editor:

The money raised through the purchase of a solar lamp gift supports Oxfam’s vital humanitarian work through their Saving Lives projects by providing essential items, such as solar powered lamps, to families who have been forcibly displaced due to war, natural disaster or conflict. You can view the full Alternative Gift Card range here: www.oxfamireland.org/unwrapped

New to the Oxfam Alternative Gift Card Range

A WEE Gift For You (€15 / £13): With this gift, Oxfam can work with communities in some of the world’s harshest environments – to dig wells and install toilets, taps and water pumps – contributing towards improving the quality of life in these communities. The money raised by this gift will go into Oxfam’s Water for All fund supporting vital humanitarian work. In Bangladesh, Oxfam has provided Rohingya refugees with clean drinking water, emergency toilets, water pumps and food rations. Abdul* (10) home in Balukhali Camp, Southern Bangladesh:” We used to go far away around the bushes to the toilet. At night I went with my friends, but I was scared. Now we have a clean toilet next to our house and I’m not scared anymore.”

There Is No Planet B! (€20 / £18): Climate change/Global Warming is one of the biggest challenges facing people in Ethiopia. The money raised from your gift card can help small scale farmers survive ever-worsening droughts and floods, thus safeguarding their ability to provide and care for their families. Oxfam has been helping farmers, previously reliant on maize, to grow vegetables in small kitchen gardens. They use some of their produce to feed their families and can earn income by selling the rest. Patouma, an Ethiopian farmer working with Oxfam: “Now, with this vegetable farming, I am able to sell vegetables and with the proceeds I can buy some food to feed my children. I am able to feed my children every day and which I wasn’t able to do before. I can even buy school textbooks and pencils. This kind of farming has really helped my family."

 

Five Reasons Why You Should Consider Oxfam’s Alternative Gift Card Range

1. Helping people to overcome income inequality

Oxfam Ireland’s work is focussed on providing families with sustainable, resilient pathways out of poverty. When you buy a gift such as a cowgoat or honeybees, you’re helping people to develop a sustainable way of living and lift their communities out of severe poverty in Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia. The animals are well looked after, and the aspiring farmers are offered support and training to give their ventures the best chance at success.

2. Improving access to education

Oxfam Ireland are working with schools and families around the world to give children, especially the next generation of girls, a quality education. Oxfam’s approach is wide-ranging that help people access vital services like education and healthcare.

3. Promoting gender equality

Educate and empower the next generation of women’s rights activists with the Educate a Girl card. Women are supported with opportunities to generate sustainable livelihoods, and aspiring activists are trained in effective ways of campaigning for gender equality and the eradication of violence against women.

4. Go plastic free

Christmas Day can easily lead to an overload of waste, so Oxfam have made sure that your gift comes in organic, compostable and recyclable packaging and courier bags. Or even better: select a digital (PDF) card which you can download and send to be completely waste-free.

5. Spreading good vibes and generosity

By gifting a gift card like Feed 6 Families, you can enjoy your festive meal, with the knowledge that you’ve helped a family in need purchase food during a hard time. Cards like this help to provide vouchers for families, to purchase necessary food in shops, helping to support local trade.

little sun solar lamp
Little Sun Solar Lamp. Photo: Michael Tsegaye
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Oxfam Ireland: A year in review

 

Last year, Oxfam Ireland reached 8.05 million people across 10 countries, and 63,000 people directly benefiited from our long-term development programmes in Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, up from 52,000 the previous year. See the impact for yourself!

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A greener planet from blue jeans – Oxfam and Titanic Denim launch stylish range of sustainable bags

Sustainable upcycle bags

Limited edition recycled denim bags are the perfect ‘Christmas with a conscience’ gift

Oxfam today launched an exciting new collaboration with sustainable fashion brand Titanic Denim as part of the charity’s ongoing campaign to tackle throwaway fashion and the devastating impact it is having on people and the planet.

The new partnership will see a limited edition range of stylish recycled denim bags designed by Titanic Denim in two sizes and available at special introductory prices. The medium-sized ‘City Bag’ (€35.00/£30.00) is perfect for shopping; while the smaller iPad-size cross-body bag (€25.00/£20.00) is ideal for everyday essentials or as an eye-catching fashion accessory.

Michael McIlwaine, Oxfam Ireland’s Head of Retail, said: “We are really excited to be working with Marie Nancarrow of Titanic Denim, who has worked alongside stylists to the stars including Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Def Leppard, Twenty One Pilots, Robbie Williams and Sting. The new collaboration is about showing how we can all do more to reuse, repurpose and recycle and by being sustainable help tackle climate change. Together with Titanic Denim we are making a greener planet from blue jeans.”

The hand-crafted bags, suitable for all ages, breathe new life into old denim and are finished off with shabby chic shirt linings and colourful handles made from end-of-line seatbelts. Each designer bag is totally unique, made with love and comes stamped with a seal of sustainability in the form of the Titanic Denim logo and Oxfam’s ‘4 Good’ branding.

The bags are available in selected Oxfam stores in Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Malahide and Sligo.

Marie Nancarrow, designer and founder of Titanic Denim, said: “It has been amazing to work in partnership with Oxfam on this project because we are jointly passionate about reducing the environmental impact of waste going to landfill here in Ireland.

“Fast fashion and a throw-away clothing culture makes it the second ‘dirtiest’ industry next to oil. Our new collection shows it doesn’t have to be that way. By repairing and repurposing old fabrics and discarded items not only can we make something new, desirable and truly unique but also an important contribution to protecting the planet.

“I hope Oxfam’s customers will love these bags just as much as Titanic Denim has enjoyed making them and not just for the good they do but as a must-have fashion accessory in their own right. The bags are ethical, practical and stylish and make the perfect ‘Christmas with a conscience’ gift for those who want to give something different to a loved one.”

Michael McIlwaine added: “Throwaway fashion is putting increasing pressure on our planet and its people and it’s not sustainable. Those who are most affected by climate change have done the least to contribute to this existential threat. That’s why it is significant we are launching this collaboration today, at a key time for our planet while world leaders meet at COP 25 and the UN Climate Change Conference, is still in session.

“Across our programmes, Oxfam is tackling the impact of the climate crisis. We 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 works across many areas of fashion: collaborating with big brands to recycle and reuse stock; joining forces with fashion houses to improve supply chain conditions; garment workers’ rights; and campaigning on climate change.

ENDS

Photos of the Titanic Denim bags are available for download via https://oxfam.box.com/v/TitanicDenimBagsPix

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 Titanic bags will be available in selected Oxfam stores at the following locations:

  • Belfast: Oxfam Botanic, 88 Botanic Avenue, Belfast, BT7 1JR. Tel: 028 90 315413
  • Cork: CastleCourt 4Good, Unit 10, Castle Court, Belfast, BT1 1DD. Tel: 028 9023 1157. Oxfam Cork 10 Cook Street, Cork, Co. Cork T12 T611. Tel: 021 427 5490.
  • Dublin: Oxfam George's Street, Unit2, Wicklow House, South Great George's Street, Dublin 2, D02 TX84. Tel: 01 478 0777. Oxfam Talbot Street, 6 Talbot Street, North City, Dublin 1, D01 VR62. Tel: 01 8746835.
  • Galway: Oxfam Galway, Abbeygate House, 9 Lower Abbeygate Street, Co. Galway, H91 W1XA. Tel: 091 561 491.
  • Kilkenny: Oxfam Kilkenny, 48 High Street, Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny, R95 V4P8. Tel: 056 776 2085.
  • Malahide: Oxfam Malahide, 6 Church Road, Malahide, Co. Dublin, K36 RH22. Tel: 01 845 4319.
  • Sligo: Oxfam Sligo, 17 Grattan Street, Sligo, Co. Sligo, F91 PD63. Tel: 071 913 8913.

 

  • Belfast-woman Marie Nancarrow has been a model and fashion designer, working with designer Paul Costello, and alongside stylists for Katy Perry, Robbie Williams and Sting. Marie is the founder and designer of the environmentally-friendly, sustainable fashion brand Titanic Denim, which was launched in 2015. All of its items use recycled, second hand denim, jeans and fabrics. All designs are one-offs and hand-made right in the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. Whether it’s designer jeans, jackets, handbags, a pooch-pouch, or a guitar case, each piece is 100% unique. Titanic Denim breathes new life, character and attitude into old jeans, customising and transforming them into a wearable piece of art. Titanic Denim not only resuscitates old jeans, it also gives birth to new products through old denim.
  • The Titanic Denim bags are designed and stitched by the Titanic Denim team in a workshop in Oxfam’s distribution centre.
  • Oxfam has 47 shops across the island of Ireland, selling high-quality pre-loved clothes, accessories, handbags, shoes and more. To find your 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/
  • The textile industry is the world’s second largest polluter after the oil industry.
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Syria: As winter draws in, we count the cost of the war

We all get a bit preoccupied with numbers and statistics at this time of year – in the coming weeks, newspapers and talk-show hosts will dissect the average household Christmas spend, some of us will already be counting the days between our final pay packet of 2019 and the first of the New Year, and others will start thinking about their mounting winter heating bills.

In Syria, meanwhile, where winter is also bearing down on communities, people are counting the cost of a brutal eight-year war which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Winters in Syria can be harsh when temperatures plummet and snow and freezing rain strikes. Syrians are very vulnerable to these weather extremes – after all, more than 11.5 million of them – around half of the population – need humanitarian aid, while 6.2 million people have had to flee their homes within Syria, many several times. 

Young refugee
Hassan is among the many children who have had to flee. Photo: Sam Tarling/Oxfam

The Syrian conflict is also driving the world’s largest refugee crisis – 5.6 million Syrians have fled their country to seek refuge in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordon, where they are also facing another winter of freezing temperatures. Many are living in flimsy shelters and don’t even have enough clothes to keep them warm.

Harsh winter in refugee camp
Winter is harsh in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley refugee camp. Photo: Sam Tarling/Oxfam

Refugees face other challenges in their host countries too, where four out of 10 Syrian families don’t have enough food to eat. Just 3 percent of Syrian refugees have been resettled by rich countries, far short of the UN target on 10 percent.

Meanwhile, four out of five Syrians still living Syria are living in poverty, with more than 6.5 million in abject poverty. On average, every second Syrian is unemployed and poverty has forced children into extreme survival measures – such as child labour, early marriage and recruitment into the fighting – to help their families make ends meet. A third of the population don’t have enough to eat and 15.5 million people need clean, running water.

How You Can Help

Please help us provide Winter Survival Boxes which could contain thermal blankets, food vouchers, jerry cans, tarpaulin to insulate their shelter – simple, yet life-saving items.

As the nights start to get colder and more unbearable for Syrian refugees, your gift can’t come soon enough and will help support our emergency responses in places like Syria and where needed the most.

Sustainable shopper? It's all in the jeans

You can always trust Oxfam to have bags of sustainable Christmas gift ideas – and this year is no different!

We recently teamed up with sustainable fashion brand Titanic Denim which creates stylish, hand-crafted bags made from recycled jeans.

ethical upcycled bag
The iPad-size cross-body bag (€25/£20) is perfect for everyday essentials.

It’s all part of our mission to tackle throwaway fashion and the impact it’s having on people and the planet. Right now, the fashion industry emits more carbon dioxide emissions than the shipping and aviation industries combined!

This new partnership will see a limited range of Titanic Denim on sale in selected Oxfam shops across the island of Ireland.

Each bag is 100% unique and suitable for all ages. The linings of the bags are made of recycled clothes while the straps breathe new life into end-of-line seatbelts!

handmade unique bags

Titanic Denim is the brainchild of Marie Nancarrow who says that “the medium-sized ‘City Bag’ (€35/£30) is perfect for shopping while the smaller, iPad-crossed body bag (€25/£20), is ideal for everyday essentials – or just as an eye-catching fashion accessory”.

Each designer bag is made with love and comes stamped with a seal of sustainability in the form of the Titanic Denim logo and Oxfam’s ‘4 Good’ branding.

“It has been amazing to work in partnership with Oxfam on this project because we are jointly passionate about reducing the environmental impact of waste going to landfill here in Ireland,” says Marie.

“I hope Oxfam’s customers will love these bags just as much as Titanic Denim has enjoyed making them and not just for the good they do but as a must-have fashion accessory in their own right. The bags are ethical, practical and stylish and make the perfect ‘Christmas with a conscience’ gift for those who want to give something different to a loved one.”

Oxfam and Titanic Denim - A greener planet from blue jeans

Check out our shops in Belfast (Oxfam Botanic and CastleCourt 4Good); Cork; Dublin (George’s Street, Talbot Street and Malahide); Galway; Kilkenny, and Sligo!

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