Lauren Baker volunteers at the Fair Trade Shop in WA, which supports Oxfam Australia by donating all of its profits to the agency. Lauren spoke of her early memories associated with Oxfam: “ever since I can remember, I have wanted to work for Oxfam. I visited the Fremantle (Oxfam) shop as a child and fell in love with the colours, smells, toys and trinkets, and knew this is where I needed to be someday”.
Lauren started her journey volunteering at the Fair Trade Shop in 2017. Later that year, Lauren volunteered in Greece as a coordinator for a creative centre for refugees on the island of Chios. The volunteers in the Fair Trade Shop were supportive of this and warmly welcomed Lauren back on her return to WA. Lauren now volunteers every Wednesday with her friend and fellow volunteer Kerry. “We spend our time in the store talking to customers about products, buying products from suppliers such as Better World Arts, and laughing the day away. I truly cherish my time at the Fair Trade Shop”.
Lauren mentions that her best volunteer experience at Oxfam was when she was working on the Close the Gap Campaign in 2018. Lauren assisted with the creation of a Close the Gap banner signed with handprints by members of parliament; Lauren emailed all new members of parliament requesting their prints. The banner was showcased at the Close the Gap Festival in May 2018, where Lauren volunteered and saw the amazing work being done to increase equity for Australia’s First Peoples.
Lauren is passionate about the What She Makes and Close the Gap campaigns. “I strongly support women’s rights and women’s empowerment, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples health and equity. The What She Makes campaign highlights the failure of big brands, and demands giving employees a fair wage. I believe it is important for Australians to be aware of who makes their clothes, and if they are being treated fairly and have basic human rights, which most women employed in the fashion industry do not.” Lauren also highlighted how studying a degree in Nutrition and Health Promotion at Curtin University has provided her with “the privilege of learning just how much of a gap there is in Australia between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and how important it is for the work to continue, particularly the work Oxfam has contributed to in achieving equality.”
Lauren also regularly volunteers with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Program and at Clontarf Aboriginal College providing literacy support. She enjoys travelling and long walks around Perth. Of her time volunteering at the Fair Trade Shop, Lauren says “In my three years at Oxfam, I feel extremely lucky and grateful to have worked with and met so many incredible people. The warmth of the volunteers, the support from Oxfam, and knowing that we are contributing to the empowerment and support for disadvantaged people around the world every time we volunteer in the shop are just some of the reasons why I still to volunteer, and hope to continue long into the future.”