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At Oxfam, we have Christmas shopping all wrapped-up

With the Christmas rush fast approaching, the thoughts of shopping can leave our enthusiasm at a standstill. After all, at this time of the year, hitting the shops can feel more like a combat sport than a festive experience!

But shop with Oxfam and you could have your Christmas shopping wrapped-up with the click of a mouse. All you have to do is consider giving something different this year with the help of our Unwrapped gift range.

So, what is Unwrapped?

Each gift in the Oxfam Unwrapped range represents four funds and plays an important part in helping people affected by poverty to build a brighter future. Your gift will go where it’s needed most and begin to make an immediate difference. Each community we work with has different needs, so we ensure families living in severe poverty have a say in finding the best solution for them and we work with them to make that solution a reality.

How Unwrapped Works

Our amazing gift range means that there’s something for everybody – from a Goat for Christmas (€35/£32) to the WEE Gift of a toilet (€15/£13) for communities living in extreme poverty.

Or you could splash out by spending your liquid assets on Safe Water for a Family (€25/£23) to help save lives and help families thrive. With this gift, we can help set up or maintain a safe water supply for those who really need it!

The gift of Safe Water for a Family is vital for people like Amina in Ethiopia, who saw her livestock wiped out in 2017 due to drought and the lives of her children hang in the balance following a severe outbreak of cholera.

Woman carrying water back to her shelter
Amina carrying water back to her shelter. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

The 50-year-old farmer and her family had to leave their home in search of water so they could survive. Now they are being supported by Oxfam, which is providing water and food to communities in the area.

What your gift means

Oxfam Christmas

How to Buy

Once you’ve selected your Unwrapped gifts, there are several ways you can buy:

1. Online here

2. Via email at irl-unwrapped@oxfam.org

3. Call our office at 1850 30 40 55 (Republic of Ireland) or 0800 0 30 40 55 (Northern Ireland). We’re open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.

4. Or simply drop into your local Oxfam shop. There, you can select your gift cards of choice and even pick up some other impactful Christmas gifts!

South Sudan: What it means to love yourself

You can keep girl from school, but you can’t keep a girl from dreaming. Oxfam teamed up with photojournalist Andreea Campaneau to bring the hopes of young women in Nyal into focus. She taught them basic photography skills, so they could learn to document their own stories.

young woman smiling
Rose, 16, is one of the Noura Nyal Kids, a group of young women from Nyal, South Sudan. Photo: Noura Nyal Kids/Oxfam

According to 2017 reports, South Sudan is the worst place in the world for girls’ education. As many as 73% of school-age girls don’t even get to attend primary school. In South Sudanese society, there is an expectation that women are defined by marriage, rather than education or career. Oxfam research found that in Nyal—a town in the northern part of the country--in particular, rates of early and forced marriage are among the highest in the world.

The young women Campaneau worked with refer to their collective as “Noura Nyal”—Noura” meaning “love yourself’ in the Nuer language. They shared their desires to leave domestic sphere, become educated, and share in the same opportunities as their brothers. Read their aspirations below in their own words.

Mary, 16

Photo: Noura Nyal Kids/Oxfam

“I want to be a ruler one day. I want to be a queen, a strong queen. Right now, I feel like playing the jumping rope makes me strong. That’s why I love playing it and I want to have my picture taken with it.”

Nyadak, 16

Photo: Noura Nyal Kids/Oxfam

“I am 16, but I have never been to school. This is why I want my picture to be taken in a classroom, next to a blackboard. I live a in small island off the main town of Nyal, and it would take for me at least an hour to go from that island to the school in the main town.

“The boys in the island still get to go to school. Their parents would send them. But, as a girl, I have to stay in the island, help with the household chores, and sometimes look for food in the swamps like fish and water lilies.”

Nyakuma

Photo: Noura Nyal Kids/Oxfam

“At night, after a hard day of hard work, fetching water, cleaning the house, and cooking, I always stop and think about what I want to do when I grow up. I want to be a doctor so I can help the sick people.

I also want to be a driver. I want to drive my own pick-up car so I can see places outside Nyal. I want to drive to different corners of South Sudan and meet new people.

I hope I will be able to finish school. I also hope that there will finally be peace in my country so that girls like me can have an opportunity to do business. I hope for peace because it means I can drive safely across the country without fear of being attacked.”

Rose, 16

Photo: Noura Nyal Kids/Oxfam

“School is everything to me. It’s a very special place because I am surrounded by other kids like me and we get to play my favorite sport, which is volleyball. In school, I can see that I can be a leader because other kids look up to me. I am good in a lot of subjects, especially science, so other kids follow my lead. I know that if I finish school, I can be who I want to be. And I want to be a pilot. I want to be a pilot, like those men driving those big planes, coming to Nyal to deliver goods… maybe even become a pilot who travels the world to see different places.

I love school and how it makes me feel. When I arrive home, I need to start cleaning the house, do the laundry, fetch water from the borehole, cook. Sometimes, I envy my brothers when I see them play outside with their friends. As the girl in the family, I have so many responsibilities that I can’t even do my homework. I hope I don’t have to marry; that could mean I won’t have time to go to school.”

Grace, 16

Photo: Noura Nyal Kids/Oxfam

“I love Nyal, but I feel like Nyal can be better. If there’s peace in the country, maybe Nyal can be better, and then the situation will also be better for us girls living here.”

Spreading the love for the Noura Nyal Kids

These photos taken by the Noura Nyal Kids were displayed as part of Oxfam’s “Love Yourself: the Girls of Nyal, South Sudan” exhibit at Photoville NYC in the USA in September 2019. Oxfam America asked people who stopped by the exhibit to write a letter of encouragement to the young women in the series. Hundreds of visitors participated, and in October, they shipped the letters to Nyal.

Letters from visitors at Photoville NYC to the Noura Nyal Kids. Photo: Oxfam

One letter reads: "Your voice, your vision is so needed. We see you. We hear you. We need to keep speaking through your art. Keep going. Keep creating. Keep being exactly who you are!"

Everything you need to know to leave a legacy

“Putting your house in order, if you can do it, is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable.”

Happy Family

Why?

Making a will can give you a comfortable peace of mind knowing that you can look after your loved ones, friends or your favourite charities, ensuring that your wishes are respected. Oxfam is a global movement of people who will not live with poverty. Across the world, we give people the support they need to turn their lives around, stand on their own two feet, care for their children and build a future free from poverty. Last year, we helped to support 19.5 million people in 90 countries.

15-year-old Grace* from Malawi used to have to walk two hours each way every day just to get to her classroom. The walk used to make her vulnerable to harassment from young boys and the worry of this used to influence Grace*’s concentration and performance in class. Since receiving a bicycle from Oxfam, Grace* can now speed past the boys who used to bother her, and spend less time travelling to school and more time learning. This impact in Grace*’s life was made possible by gifts from amazing supporters like you.

Young Grace on her new Oxfam bicycle. Photo: Corinna Kern/Oxfam
Grace* on her new Oxfam bicycle. Photo: Corinna Kern/Oxfam

How?

It’s easier than you think! First, work out what you've got. Start by sitting down with a nice hot cup of tea and write down everything you own – including savings, possessions, property – and their approximate value. Then, note down the names of relatives and friends – people you want to include in your will.

Match up the two lists and you’ll be ready to make an appointment with your solicitor or use our FREE online will-writing service.

Our Promise to You

Leaving a gift in your will to Oxfam Ireland is one of the best ways to support our work. In return, we promise you that:

  • Your legacy will help change lives. Every euro/pound you give will be stretched as far as possible. We will invest your gift efficiently and cost effectively, so it has the most impact.
  • Your privacy is paramount. We respect your privacy and will look after your gift to us with sensitivity, care and confidentiality.
  • We know that the decision is yours alone and that circumstances can change. You may, of course, change your mind about your gift to Oxfam at any time in the future.
  • We are discreet. You don’t have to tell us if you intend to leave a gift to Oxfam, but if you do, it will help us to plan future work and allow us to thank you.

We are always here. If there is anything you want to know about your gift to us, or the communities you are helping to thrive, please get in touch.

Thank You

With the help of supporters like you, we’ve been able to transform countless lives over the past six decades. In the last 20 years alone, over 660 million people have risen out of poverty; yet still one third of the world continues to live below the poverty line. But we know we can improve that statistic. Let’s make a world without poverty with the help of your legacy!

For more information, visit https://www.oxfamireland.org/donate/legacy.

*Name changed to protect identity

Looking back: Forced to flee Boko Haram and facing hunger

By 2016, thousands of people had died due to hunger and malnutrition and experts said that more than 65,000 people were officially classified as suffering from famine in a desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, one of the poorest places on earth.

Those that experienced the most extreme form of hunger were in pockets of northeast Nigeria, mainly in Borno state, which was only accessible to humanitarian agencies following protracted military action to secure areas formerly under the control of Boko Haram. They were part of a humanitarian crisis largely ignored by the international community, which also affected people in Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

 

Oxfam provided life-saving support in Nigeria, Niger and Chad to people who were forced to flee their homes as well as the already impoverished communities in which they were taking shelter. We provided people with desperately needed food as well as clean drinking water and sanitation to protect their health and prevent the spread of disease. And we also called on donors and governments to act to support humanitarian efforts.

BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS

The crisis across the Lake Chad basin began about ten years ago as a result of the emergence of the group Boko Haram in Nigeria and military operations against it. Violence escalated further, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation. It forced at least 2.7 million people to flee their homes, including 1.9 million Nigerians alone, and left over 9 million people in need of help.

Unable to grow or buy food, or access humanitarian aid, millions went hungry. In 2016, 3.8 million people across the Lake Chad Basin region as a whole faced severe hunger. Over 20,000 people were killed and thousands of girls and boys were thought to have been abducted. There were alarming levels of sexual violence, violations of international humanitarian law (the law of armed conflict) and human rights law including the forced recruitment of civilians, even children, as combatants.

Fatima Mohammed* (35) from Nigeria’s Borno State was living among the Kabbar Maila host community. Boko Haram forced their way in to her home and cut her husband’s throat in front of her and her children. She  struggled and was not sure where her children’s next meal was coming from. *Name has been changed to protect identity. Photo: Ibrahim Dung/Oxfam

AFRICA'S DISPLACEMENT CRISIS

The Lake Chad Basin crisis represented Africa’s fastest growing displacement crisis and was the seventh largest internally displaced population in the world in 2016. The conflict caused widespread destruction of vital but already limited infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, roads, markets and farmland.

Across the region, people were on the move to escape threats to their lives, liberty and other human rights in search of safety and protection. From the start of the conflict in 2009 to 2016, more than 20,000 people were killed as a direct result of the violence. In 2015, around one in every 15 people who died throughout the world as a direct result of violent conflict died in Nigeria. Countless more died or faced permanent disability as a result of hunger, disease and a lack of healthcare, the secondary impacts of war.

Children at the government-run Farm Centre camp in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria. It was a camp established by displaced people themselves when they moved into empty unfinished buildings the government was building for government workers. There were also people living in makeshift shelters, especially those who arrived later on. Oxfam provided water, latrines and sanitation in the camp. Photo: Ibrahim Dung/Oxfam

ZAHRA'S STORY

Zarah Isa* (50) was from Borno State in Nigeria. She and her husband were farmers and grew vegetables. She also collected firewood which she would sell and their children used to go to school.

Caption: Zarah Isa* (50) was from Borno State in Nigeria, one of the worst affected regions. She was forced to flee her village during a Boko Haram attack which saw her husband killed. *Name has been changed to protect identity. Photo: Ibrahim Dung/Oxfam

But in 2013, Boko Haram attacked her village and killed her husband. Unable to bury his body, Zarah was forced to flee with her six children. The oldest child was 12, the rest were aged under 10. They spent one month in the forest. To survive, they drank water from open sources such as streams. Often the water was dirty. For food they relied on leftovers from communities they passed along the way, as well as scavenging for food that had been thrown away. It took them one week of walking through the forest on foot to reach the Kabbar Maila host community in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, where they lived for a period in 2016.

Once in Maiduguri, they asked around for people who came from their community. For two weeks, they lived in a makeshift tent with 10 other internally displaced families and then through local community leaders she was able to find accommodation to rent with a local landlord. In 2016, Zarah lived with her children in a crowded room with a leaking roof. She paid her landlord with money her children brought back from begging, but for three months she didn't have enough to cover the rent.

To feed the family, Zarah’s eldest daughter bought sachets of water from a vendor and hawked them on the streets. If her daughter was unable to make money from selling the water, the family went hungry. When this happened, she sent her daughter and some of her other children to beg for money. Zarah was unable to find work as people didn't want to give jobs to someone her age as they were looking for younger people to do menial jobs. The family was barely able to eat two meals a day. Their meal usually consisted of corn flour or maize and they were unable to afford vegetables or meat.

The local host community opened their arms and were very welcoming. They shared the little they had.

Her biggest need was food. When her children went hungry, it caused her pain. Zarah was unable to go back to her village and home because there was a lack of security there. She had heard that people had gone back and been killed. Her hope is to one day return home so that she and her children can grow food on their land and sustain themselves.

Zarah says: “I don’t like seeing my children go hungry, all I want is food. I am ready to go back home today if the government assures us on security, we can farm our food because we have our farms there.”

A child outside a makeshift shelter at the Farm Centre camp in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria where 13,000 internally displaced families lived after fleeing their homes. Photo: Ibrahim Dung/Oxfam

HOW YOU HELPED

By 2016, Oxfam supported over 250,000 people in Nigeria since we began responding to the crisis in May 2014.

We provided people with desperately needed food as well as clean drinking water and sanitation to prevent the spread of disease.

An Oxfam water tank in the Kabbar Maila community which is hosting displaced people forced to flee their homes. Photo: Ibrahim Dung/Oxfam

We worked in Adamawa, Borno and Gombe states, providing people with emergency food support, clean water and better sanitation, including constructing showers and repairing toilets, and making sure people had areas to wash their hands. We set up community protection groups for women to give them information about access to support facilities if they suffered from sexual violence and exploitation. We distributed food and cooking equipment, as well as provided seeds and tools to help traders and farmers get back on their feet.

In Niger, Oxfam helped over 31,400 people in one year. We installed water systems to make sure people had clean water to drink, as well as distributed essential items such as cooking pots, buckets and water purifying tablets. Elsewhere in Niger, there was massive flooding, and in some regions during the lean season – the time when people are at the end of their food until the next harvest comes – there was desperate hunger.

In 2016, Oxfam responded to the crisis in Chad, with the aim to reach over 30,000 people. We distributed cash and tarpaulins for shelter and provided clean water to people to help prevent the spread of diseases.

Colm Byrne is Oxfam Ireland’s Humanitarian Manager.

How toilets fight poverty

Safe water, good hygiene, and improved sanitation save lives

Whether in an emergency, or for everyday use at home or at school, toilets are essential. Yet, more than 4.5 billion people don’t have a proper toilet. That’s according to the UN and the good people behind its World Toilet Day effort, launched in 2013 and celebrated every year on November 19, which raises awareness about the role toilets play in fighting poverty.

 

Living in a world without decent toilets (especially ones connected to a system that safely handles waste) puts people at risk of disease, pollutes the environment, and discourages girls from attending school.

That’s why Oxfam provides toilets, clean water, and encourages good hygiene practices in the wake of natural disasters and other emergencies, and works with communities to build decent latrines and proper sanitation systems for everyday use. Safe water, good hygiene, and improved sanitation can save as many as 842,000 lives per year, according to the UN. Toilets can actually save lives!

See for yourself the difference toilets make, every day and in emergencies.

Toilets and Clean Water Overlooked Essentials

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