Now, and in the future
Saving lives in the Solomon Islands
Disaster can destroy lives and undo years of development in a split second.
In Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, annual flooding can decimate the food supply — especially where logging has taken place above areas where people grow their food.
For women like Sailin, Hilda and Unity — who rely on their gardens as a food source — it means their families can go hungry. But thanks to our generous supporters like you, things are changing in Guadalcanal. Oxfam’s program work is helping communities become better prepared for when disaster strikes.
Sailin was devastated to discover she’d lost everything in the annual floods: “When I saw this happening I started to cry, I couldn’t believe that I lost everything. Water was everywhere, sometimes up to our necks,” says Sailin.
But since Sailin and her community have received training from Oxfam, they’ve made impressive changes.
“With training that we received from Oxfam we made some changes of how we do our gardening. Now we plant some of our crops further inland. My family built our new house close to the new garden and now we live in a safer place and well prepared for the future disasters”.
Hilda knows the hardship of supporting a family in the aftermath of disaster.
“After the floods we are always hungry, there is not enough food for our family. Now we earn less money because we can’t sell what we produce in the market. I have three children, two boys and one girl. I don’t have money anymore to pay for their school fees, so they had to leave school before finishing it,” said Hilda.
But she says after Oxfam training, they can better prepare for future disasters: “After Oxfam trained us we have knowledge of how to minimise the disaster impact on our families. We moved our house inland …”
Oxfam has also implemented livelihoods activities including agricultural training, seed and tool provision, as well as food security.
Unity is the women’s leader of Katehana village in Guadalcanal. She, like Sailin and Hilda, was vulnerable to the flooding, but she says that the community is now better prepared to deal with a natural disaster after their training with Oxfam.
“We mostly experience three kinds of disasters. First is floods that destroy our gardens and pollute our water wells. Second is landslides. Last time a landslide destroyed my pigsty and chicken house and some crops and fruit trees. They all went down. Luckily I wan’t working there, otherwise I would be probably dead or injured. The third type of disasters are cyclones and very strong winds. Storms brake our trees, houses, destroy roofs. Our church was partly destroyed too because of the strong wind” says Unity.
“Before we have different type of crops, but we didn’t know where and how to plant them to avoid food shortage. Now we know how to manage our gardens so at the time of disaster we still have food”.
Your ongoing support means we can continue to empower and train vulnerable communities to lift themselves out of poverty — both in the short-term and the long-term. Thank you.
All images by Vlad Sokhin/Panos/OxfamAUS