Look back on your achievements

Success stories article written on the 24 Jan 2017

2016 was a year of massive upheaval for many people across the world. But it was not all bad news. Together with Oxfam, you’ve been there. You’ve supported refugees fleeing conflict and disaster. You’ve fought for equality and fairness. You’ve helped families to start over, and given hope to millions of people.

Turubu, Papua New Guinea

The traditional owners of Turubu, Papua New Guinea, got their land back after the Supreme Court ruled that a logging company’s lease was invalid. The ruling came after Oxfam and our supporters lobbied Australia’s big four banks to stop supporting dodgy land deals that leave poor people around the world homeless. Thanks to you, these people can return to their home.

Papua New Guinea

Photo: Vlad Sohkin

Aranayake, Sri Lanka

More than 40 Sri Lankan children were left grinning after challenging the Australian Cricket team to a match in their hometown of Aranayake. The children and their families lost their homes in the May 2016 floods and landslide, which tragically killed almost 200 people. They have been living in a temporary camp since the disaster.

Thanks to you, Oxfam was able to respond immediately following the disaster, giving clean water, buckets, soap and blankets to more than 86,000 people. We are now working with the Sri Lankan Government to help the people of Aranyake rebuild their lives.

“It was quite moving, actually, to hear some of the stories and the emotion on the kids’ faces,” team member John Hastings says. “Hopefully this time that we’ve spent together will take their mind off it and put a few smiles on their faces.

sri lanka australian cricket team

Photo:Vihanga Kariyawasam/

Hesseini, Iraq

Zahia’s* house in Hesseini, Iraq was used by ISIS as a strategic fighting point for eight months before they were eventually forced out by opposing forces, but not before they burnt it down.

“On the day ISIS came and seized control of the village, I was ding a job away from home. They broke our door and told my family to leave. When I returned, I lost my job, I lost everything because my sewing machine had been burned along with the house and so I lost all my customers.”

As a single mother without any way to make money, Zahia struggled to support herself and her son. But thanks to you, Oxfam was able to help Zahia restart her buisness as a dressmaker. Thanks to your generosity, there is still hope for a normal life for Zahia and others like her.

iraq isis livelihood

Photo: Tommy Trenchard

Za’atari Camp, Jordan

In Syria, Jasem Al-Wrewir owned a waste disposal business with more than 200 employees across six landfill sites. Now a refugee in Za’atari camp in Jordan, Jasem’s experience has been instrumental in developing an innovative recycling scheme that has seen a 21% reduction of the camp’s waste going to landfill – and given purpose and a source of income to people like Jasem. “My work is difficult, but it means a lot to me”, Jasem says. “It is not only about the income, but also about protecting the environment.”

“Our recycling project, I am not just staff – it’s like another home for me because I spend most of my time here on the project. It changed my life and my family’s life about 90%. I had the same job in Syria and I loved my work. “After my work in Oxfam, I’m able to meet my families needs like clothes for the family and kids, vegetable and mil and medicine for my boys. This project allow me to cover the basic needs for my family.

With your help, Oxfam has been able to provide livelihoods and sustainable solutions to some of the problems faced in the Za’atari camp. The recycling project has seen some amazing innovation from people in the camp – greenhouses built from old soft drink bottles; rugs made from old, torn clothes; and wallets made from UNHCR tents.

zaatari camp jordan

Photo: James Riturban

Democratic Republic of Congo

Louise Nyiranolozi’s story isn’t one that you can easily forget. Losing four of her children and her husband to disease in one week while running away from rebel groups who destroyed their home – it’s a kind of horror we can’t even fathom. But Louise is strong. And thanks to your incredible support during our Democratic Republic of Congo crisis appeal last year, she is encouraging other women who live in Buporo camp to be strong as well.

Thanks to you, she can help to keep other children safe from the diseases that took her family. “I am the president of the hygiene committee,” Louise says. “They voted for me because I’m a humble person and I know how to listen. It means I’m accepted by the women and thy trust me.”

When she first arrived at the camp, Louise was relieved to be safe from the rebels. But another danger was even more present. “Water used to be a serious problem. People got sick [with] diarrhoea. Fifteen people died in this camp.”

Thanks to your generosity, Oxfam has been able to help the people of Buporo stay healthy. “Oxfam built us a tank and now water is in abundance so people no longer get sick. In the morning we collect water to wash the toilets. Oxfam also built us laundries where we wash our clothes.

Despite living through every mother’s worst nightmare, Louise’s compassion has never wavered. Not only does she dedicate her life to helping other people stay safe from disease she has also taken in another child to care for as her own. “Everyone is born with a gift. If I come across any abandoned children, my gift is taking care of them.”

louise congo water sanitation

Photo: Eleanor Farmer

Want to learn more about your impact? Download Oxfam’s Annual Report for 2016.

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