Blog

Your Kindness Saves Lives: How the East Africa Hunger Crisis is Unfolding

Khadija Farah/Oxfam

The fourth consecutive failed rains across East Africa were confirmed during March to May of this year, causing extensive devastation. Livestock deaths, crop decay, food stock depletion.

The current dry season is also magnifying the issues. Climate change has led to abnormally high temperatures this summer. Leading to excessive plant and soil moisture-loss, the earth is cracking and turning to dust.

 And we are facing into another huge set-back. Current predictions indicate that we may be facing into an unprecedented fifth failed rain season this October to December. Meaning further desolation is expected for the region.

In June, Hoden reached out to Oxfam supporters, to ask for help. Your response to her request has been astounding. You have made a positive difference to families facing this crisis.

Thanks to supporters like you, food and other essentials are being provided to vulnerable families, like Hoden’s in Ethiopia.

Photo: Pablo Tosco / Oxfam Intermón

As you will see below, we have assisted 4.5 million people in Ethiopia.  We have been supplying vital  food parcels of maize, lentils, cooking oil and salt.

4.5 million individuals have been reached in Ethiopia

  • We are still pushing to reach all 7.2 million individuals affected. To date we have managed to address the immediate needs of 63% of those at risk.

3.9 million people in Somalia have received supplies

  • The good news is that 75% of vulnerable individuals have been supported, thanks to you.
  • However, we are still working towards reaching a total of 5.2 million people in need.

585,404 people have been supported in Kenya

  • We are sorry to say that much more aid is needed here. We have reached just 14% of the vulnerable population.

  • Due to our funding gap, we are far behind our target of reaching 4.1 million.

Our promise to you is that we will continue to focus the world’s attention on, continue to amplify the voices of, and continue to request support for - the people suffering in East Africa.

Note from Clare Cronin, Oxfam Ireland:

I will be travelling to Kenya at the end of August to see what more Oxfam Ireland can do. Please watch out for the trip report, which you should receive in mid-September.

I will arrive in Nairobi for urgent discussions at the Oxfam Head Office. I will then travel to determine where the needs are greatest in the north of the country, where the Hunger Crisis has reached emergency levels. I will assess the situation first-hand and report back on the needs and how best they can be addressed.

Please be confident that while the Hunger Crisis has not abated, we are, and will continue, doing all that we can to save lives and prevent people’s suffering.

I promise you, that together, we will continue pushing for justice.  

Posted In:

Your Kindness Provides Safety During Conflict: An Update From Jenya, A Ukrainian Refugee

Photo: Tineke Dhaese / Oxfam

Report by: Yevheniia Ivanova (Jenya) - Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) Officer at Oxfam’s reception centre in Poland.

It’s been six months since the conflict started and, at first, there were a lot of people, big waves were coming… and coming, and coming.

Then in May, things became less predictable. Some days over a thousand people pass through, others about 70 or 80 people. Just like the situation in my homeland of Ukraine, every day is unpredictable here. Changeable. The displacement is ongoing, we don’t know how much longer it will last.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you and the global community, we’ve been able to put so much in place since the conflict broke out to eliminate the suffering upon arrival.

Now, we’re able to provide families with Oxfam’s WASH services (Water, Sanitation and hygiene), things like laundry, hygiene items and water. They also need information on accommodation and registration, and we see if there are opportunities to provide medical or financial assistance.

I go out to the largest reception centre in the region almost every day. It’s in Tesco in Przemysl. There, we provide showers, portaloos, sinks, handwashing stations, and hygiene points. We also give out hygiene items, clothing, sheets, bedding, and offer laundry services too. The work we’re doing is making a difference – a very real difference – to people’s lives. Particularly those with mobility issues or with special needs.

I moved to Poland because I wanted to help. I want to be useful. I believe that its always best to do something to help, you don’t need to ask other people, you can just do something.

That’s why I like my work with Oxfam. I’ve learned so many things and it’s been hugely rewarding. But life is not easy as a refugee, you leave your whole life behind.

Photo: Tineke Dhaese / Oxfam

I worry about my family. Twice now, I’ve lost contact with them because of poor connections. I didn’t sleep at all on either night.

They are in Ukraine’s Donetsk region and, two months ago, because of the war, Ukrainian companies closed. That’s when my father and my mother lost their work.

They don’t want to leave. Especially my grandparents, they’ve lived there all their lives. More than seventy years. And they have a big house, a big farm, and it’s their whole lives.

Sometimes, I feel guilty to be in a safe place. But my work helped me to overcome this self-blaming.

At one point, I had my future in Ukraine planned out. It was an easy plan. I wanted to work in pharmaceuticals and start a family with my fiancé. But every Ukrainian person had some plans about their career, about their future, and now things have changed. Who knows how long it will be before we can have a normal life in Ukraine?

Photo: Tineke Dhaese / Oxfam

But when we can, I’ll be ready. I finished my masters in May – I am now a Master of Pharmacy. April was a very hard month for me, working for Oxfam and submitting and defending my thesis, but I did it.

And I can use what I know to help people here. I can offer their first medical assistance when they arrive from Ukraine. So, although I no longer know what the future holds, I like what I’m doing now, it's important and it gives me a sense of satisfaction to help my country fellows.

Photo: Tineke Dhaese / Oxfam

About one month ago, I met a volunteer from Ireland in the reception centre in Przemysl. I asked him what he was doing there. He said he just wanted to help. I couldn’t believe that someone could be so kind. I just want to say, and I think that all of my fellow Ukrainians would say the same   -  

”Thank you to everyone who just wants to help, who are not indifferent. “

Posted In:

Your Kindness Helps Survivors Overcome Trauma: Thank You For Enabling Recovery in Cox’s Bazar

Photo: Maruf Hasan / Oxfam

August 2017 saw over one million Rohingya people flee Myanmar for the relative safety of Bangladesh, during one of the largest exoduses the world has ever seen. Ethnic people were killed. Unspeakable abuses took place. Families were torn apart. Yet, the Rohingya people found strength to carry on. Oxfam’s supporters were there from the start, immediately asked what they could do to help.

Initial projects involved a massive scaling up of infrastructure to accommodate such large crowds. Providing sufficient clean drinking water and hygienic living conditions became a challenge, but one you willingly overcame.

There have been many more helpful endeavours and successes along the way. One year after the initial camp set-up, a survey was taken by Oxfam and our partners to assess if all needs were being met.

The most prominent issues noted were that:

  • ⅓ of women did not feel safe or comfortable going to collect water or using toilets and shower cubicles – many of which lack a roof and a lockable door.
  • ½ of women and ¾ of adolescent girls surveyed said they didn’t have what they needed to manage their periods, including a female-only place to wash sanitary cloths without embarrassment.
Photo: Maruf Hasan / Oxfam

In order to help tackle these issues, Oxfam worked with Bangladeshi architect Nuha Anoor Pabony, 24, from Dhaka. Nuha engaged Rohingya women and girls in design workshops, to incorporate their feedback directly. Her final plans included the use of screens to increase privacy, storage areas for menstruation products and the construction of additional single sex toilet facilities.

Getting feedback on the designs, Nuha said: “I was nervous when we went to show the community the design.  When I showed the women the model, the oldest lady in the room took it in her hand and took a close look for a few seconds. Then she looked at me and nodded her head positively and with a big smile. That’s when I got my answer that I might have done something right! That moment will stay with me for a long time.

Now five years on, the work isn’t over. People have been displaced and lacked certainty for so long. There is no end in sight, and times are tense. There is a huge need for emotional support. Most notably for women and adolescent girls.

Alongside more female-centric camp facilities. Two specialised women’s centre have been created by Razia Sultana, an international human-rights activist, lawyer, teacher, and researcher. But your generosity is what supports one of these essential centres.

Photos: Fabeha Monir / Oxfam

At the centres, women like Sofika can learn to read and write and make items like clothing and fishing nets to sell.  They also engage in trauma-recovery activities, get medical care and learn about their rights. Perhaps most importantly, these centres give women a chance to break out of the relative isolation of their homes and make friends.

This gift of friendship is so precious for these women who have endured so much – and it is these friendships that help them cope with the struggle of daily life. Five years after her trauma, and one year after joining programmes at the centre and forming friendships - Sofika has recovered from anxiety and depression. She has managed to heal, to create friendships and to find joy at the world’s largest refugee camp.

Photo: Mutasim Billah / Oxfam

There have been many troubles along the way in the camp – from monsoon rains causing flooding and mudslides, to the deadly fires that swept through four of the camps in 2021.

But again, our supporters have always been there to provide emergency supplies, to support essential projects and after all that, to ask what more can be done. Your steadfast commitment to provide aid during crises is inspirational.

Your Kindness Rebuilds Lives: How Families Are Surviving Conflict in Yemen

Photo: Pablo Tosco/ Oxfam

Since March 2015, Yemen has been in the grip of conflict. More than four million people have been forced to run from their homes, their jobs, and the comfort of their everyday lives. Seven out of 10 people now rely on humanitarian aid. And two thirds of Yemen’s population don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

Today, Yemen remains one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises of our time. But on the ground, in villages, towns and communities across the country, because of generous supporters like you, parents are rebuilding their lives.

 

Through sheer strength, determination, and your support, they can bring home food for their hungry children.

Beehive by beehive – Nazrah tells us how she is building a home and a future for her children.

Nazrah is a mother of five living in Abyan. She received a grant from Oxfam to support her beehive building business which she runs alongside her husband. Photo: VFX Aden / Oxfam

35-year-old Nazrah from the Abyan governorate has two sons, three daughters and an encouraging and cooperative husband.

Two years ago, she began building beehives, to earn an income and improve her family’s living conditions. But without the right tools for the job, she could only do so much.

When Nazrah heard Oxfam had arrived in her area, she didn’t hesitate in registering her business with us. Thanks to your support, we were able to offer her a grant to buy an electric chainsaw and all the other equipment she needed. Thinking back to that time, Nazrah says: “At first, I built a few beehives, not more than four or five. Over time, people began coming in crowds to buy from us, and the sales increased. Some of our clients sell these beehives at the market, while others keep them in their homes to breed bees.

Nazrah is a mother of five living in Abyan. She received a grant from Oxfam to support her beehive building business which she runs alongside her husband. Photo: VFX Aden / Oxfam
My living conditions improved, and I was able to register my kids at school, I renovated my house and saved a small amount of cash in case of sudden illness. I bought a cow and a small TV for the children. Honestly, this project improved my living conditions and covered all my household expenses. - Nazrah

Your support of families in Yemen is truly life changing.

From beehives to grocery stores, you are creating livelihoods throughout Yemen. Across trades such as tailors, mechanics, and farmers, you are improving skills and increasing incomes.

And for families struggling to survive in displacement camps – ‘survival kits’ containing clean water, food, emergency cash and hygiene supplies are saving lives.

So far, together, we’ve helped more than three million people.

Just like the parents of Yemen, we won’t ever give up. We’re in it for the long haul. And with you by our side, we’ll keep going until stories of hope – like Nazrah’s – overtake stories of hunger and heartbreak.

Posted In:

My children's home was destroyed by river Nyamwamba

Photo by Emmanuel Museruka

River Nyamwamba first began flooding in 2013 and continues to overflow every year in May and sometimes twice a year. It has since destroyed homes, taken lives and displaced the residents of Kasese (Uganda), making them internally displaced people.

47-year-old Rehema Namale Aryemua, a mother of 10 children, is one of the flood victims who lost her home and later relocated to live in Muhokya Internally displaced people’s transit camp in Kasese district. In January 2020, Rehema bought land near river Nyamwamba after a friend convinced her that the land was affordable. Soon after buying, she started building her home for her children since she was a widow.

"My plan was to build a home for my children, especially my daughters, so that they wouldn’t have to suffer after I am gone" said Rehema. She moved into her finished house with her children after completion in March 2020, where they started gardening and poultry farming. They were able to connect electricity and water to their home.

They had barely lived in their home for two months when they received news that river Nyamwamba had burst its banks and was flooding. The floods kept on ravaging the places near it until they reached Rehema's land. The family wasn’t heavily affected by the water since they could still live in their home despite it being there. Two days later, the water had increased in speed and amount and destroyed some of their crops.

After a week, Rehema's neighbours abandoned their homes in anticipation of more floods, but her family stayed since they had nowhere to go hoping that the floods would eventually stop. They rebuilt their home twice before they also decided to shift after the floods persisted and destroyed their property.

They were taken to the internally displaced people’s camp by the local government officials and given some food items to fend for themselves.

Rehema and her children resettled in the camp and began to build another house using mud, sand, and wood. They also ventured into rearing rabbits, ducks, and chicken for sale to get income for her family. She currently rents land on which she plants crops like maize, groundnuts, and corn. These are crops that she later sells to raise money for her children’s school fees and welfare.

One hectare of land is hired out at 150,000Ugx, (Approx. 39USD) and Rehema rents at least 3 hectares to produce more crops to get enough income.

Rehema is committed to working hard to ensure that her children go back to school or get involved in securing and learning hands-on skills.

"My goal right now is to make sure my children get hands-on skills like knitting, tailoring or any skills that will enable them to survive even if they don’t get a formal education," said Rehema.

Posted In:

Pages