Oxfam recently installed water tanks and a washing facility at this school in Lusaka, Zambia to safeguard the students from cholera. Photo: Georgina Goodwin/OxfamAUS.

Voices July 2019

You & Oxfam, tackling poverty together

Thanks to you…

With support and solidarity from kind, caring people like you, we’ve changed so many people’s lives for the better.

We have delivered life-saving food, shelter, water and sanitation to people in crisis, and we’ve empowered women, Indigenous communities and other marginalised individuals with the skills, tools and opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive.

Below you’ll meet just a few of the many people around the globe whose lives have been uplifted thanks to your compassion and generosity.

Thank you.

A neighbour in need

Late last year, a deadly combination of earthquake and tsunami rocked Sulawesi, Indonesia. Several months on, we’re helping affected communities pick up the pieces.

The double disaster affected more than 2 million people and claimed more than 4,000 lives. Thanks to the support of caring people like you, Oxfam was quick to respond to the tragedy, swiftly mobilising teams on the ground to distribute emergency aid and clean water.

Together with local partners, we reached more than 180,000 people with life-saving support in the months following the disaster. And in the year ahead, we aim to reach 500,000 people.

Thanks to you, families in Sulawesi now have access to clean, safe drinking water; mothers have hygiene kits to keep their families safe from disease; and communities now have temporary shelters with access to toilets.

We’ve engaged local community members like Jaeria in the clean-up operation, offering cash-for-work opportunities to people whose livelihoods have been decimated by the tsunami.

None of this would have been possible without you — so thank you.

The harvest goes on-ion on

The onions from Steven Bare’s garden in the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea bring more smiles than tears. He’s thrilled to harvest another bumper crop.

Steven and his wife Maria have turned their family’s fortunes around since taking part in an Oxfam project that helps rural farmers improve the quality and quantity of their bulb onions.

Thanks to you, business is booming for Steven and the other families in his farming co-op.

“A lot of times, Indigenous people are knocking on the door waiting for it to open. I want to be the one who can open the door for my people and say, ‘Hey, here I am. What do you need?’” – Telona, Ngarluma and Kangara woman from the Pilbara and of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait.

Talking straight, opening doors

More than 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from across Australia gathered in Canberra in November for the 9th annual Straight Talk National Summit. They converged in the capital to learn about the political system and how they can shape it — and Telona Pitt was among them.

Telona is a proud Ngarluma and Kangara woman from the Pilbara and of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait. Her passion for community drew her to local politics and, in 2017, Telona became the first Indigenous, female councillor in her hometown, Port Hedland.

Having grown up debating Indigenous politics at the family dinner table, Telona says, “Politics is something that has been driven into me from a young age. Now that I’m older and have a bit of education behind me, I want to not be the one knocking on the door but be able to open the door for Indigenous people, and to also be an influencer of the system.”

With aspirations like these, it’s no wonder Telona was at Straight Talk.

The summit connects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with the Australian political system and provides practical tools for women to be change-makers in their communities.

Telona says, “As Indigenous women, we are very important to our communities; we are like the backbone of them, the strength of them, the binding cord that keeps them all together.”

Staight Talk inspired Telona to challenge the stay-at-home stereotypes that keep some women out of politics: “We don’t have to sit in this box that society puts us in because we are created for great things as women, we can do great things when we put our mind to it.”

“It doesn’t matter where you are from or what your background is. Unless you allow people to stop you, then there is nothing else stopping you from becoming who you want to be to influence your community.”

The next regional gathering will be in Townsville on 8–10 October 2019, marking 10 years since the first Straight Talk.

Spreading hope in Zambia

Outbreaks of deadly diseases like cholera are alarmingly common in Zambia, where millions of people live without clean water and toilets. So we mobilised an army of inspirational volunteers to help keep Zambian families safe from harm.

Annie Mpetamoyo (pictured in pink) is a hero to her community in Lusaka. For the past decade, she has worked with Oxfam as a community health volunteer, spreading vital public health information to protect people from cholera and other waterborne diseases.

As a community health worker, Annie passes on life-saving hygiene advice to her neighbours. “We offer ourselves to the service of the community,” she explains.

“[We tell] them how they should live and take good care of themselves … they should not throw garbage anywhere, they need to clean their surroundings and also not eat food from the street, and don’t eat cold food.”

The last time cholera swept through Annie’s community, it was devastating. She recalls, “Everyone was just really afraid, thinking they could be the next victim of the disease. It started becoming one person after another.”

Many local women come to Annie for advice. She says, “They trust in us.”

Without the tireless efforts of volunteers like Annie, cholera would take a far greater toll on public health in Zambia. And without you, volunteers like Annie wouldn’t have the support they need for their life-saving work.

She’s free from fear

No girl should live in fear of violence or harassment but, sadly, many do. So we invited young, female artists in Pakistan to envision a future where women and girls live free from fear — and that future is looking good.

Around 100 artists from design schools and universities across Pakistan submitted poster designs to Oxfam’s Free From Fear digital illustration competition. The posters reimagine Pakistan as a place where women and girls are free from fear of violence or harassment on public transport and in public spaces.

The posters were exhibited at the Pakistan National Council of Arts in March, to mark International Women’s Day. Competition winners were decided by an esteemed panel of judges, including Pakistan’s first female cartoonist Nigar Nazar and award-winning designer and Fulbright Scholar Shehzil Malik. Faced with a kaleidoscope of colour and creativity, the judges were spoilt for choice.

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Eshal seized the opportunity to illustrate a world where girls live free from fear: “I felt like I had the chance to make an impact in the lives of other girls and women around the world through my artwork.”

“I asked myself the question, ‘What does a world free from fear look like for women?’ Living in Pakistan, to me, it’s about being able to do the simple things in life: having the freedom of mobility; to be able to smoke a cigarette; to be able to wear an outfit that I like, without being judged for it; to be able to take ownership of the city; and to do whatever I wish, regardless of being in a public space.

Eshal says her skateboarding girl is doing things “that would otherwise seem very normal in any other part of the world; activities that, if a boy were to do them here in Pakistan, would be considered OK, but not OK if a girl is doing them”.

Eshal’s describes the girl in her poster: “She is free from social stigmas, free from societal pressure, from judgements, and free from fear. I dream of a Pakistan where life is lived to the fullest by all.”

“I envision women and girls to have the same opportunities as men and boys, without fear of prejudice, harassment or violence, and regardless of age, race, ethnicity, disability, religion or sexual orientation.”

Eshal adds, “When we empower women, society and the economy benefit, grow and thrive.” Given the chance to learn and earn, Eshal believes that “women would also be able to facilitate national development and, most importantly, get rid of poverty”.