“I have lived in darkness for a long time. I don’t want my kids to live in this darkness. I hope my children will get the chance to work in this way too. I want a better life for them.” – Kitabe, Ethiopia.
If there’s something magical that Christmas brings out in us all, it’s acts of goodwill and giving back. There’s something extra special about the act of giving over the festive season and that joy we all share in making someone else happy, whether it’s a loved one or a total stranger. It can sometimes feel tricky to see past the commercialisation of this cherished holiday, yet you don’t have to look far to find those all important reminders to appreciate just how lucky we and our families are.
It’s for this reason we’ve teamed up with Oxfam to join in their fight against poverty and share an example of the all important work they do all year round. We were particularly moved by Kitabe’s story. Incredibly she was reluctant at first to accept Oxfam’s help, but she found the courage to take a leap of faith. Her story as a mother providing for her children and building her business under such challenging conditions is truly inspiring.
First, some background. Around a third of Ethiopia’s rural population are poor, small-scale farmers who rely on their crops to feed themselves. This is known as subsistence farming, and it often yields little food, meaning families go hungry because of limited support, lack of finances and a lack of markets for their produce.
Kitabe grew up working on a maize farm with her family in Bulbula, Ethiopia. She didn’t have high hopes for her future after leaving school in the first grade, then finding herself forced into an arranged marriage. Her family was poor and food was scarce. Kitabe joined Oxfam’s project and took out a loan of 10,000 Birr – the equivalent of £324. As a result, she was able to buy more seed to grow crops.
After the first harvest, Kitabe was able to pay it back and even had enough to buy more land. Kitabe has also purchased a cow and an ox, providing her with an extra source of income which is used to pay for additional labourers on the farm. She now spends her time managing the seed production on her farm, as well as being a mother to her four children.
So where do Oxfam’s donations go?
Donations can help small-scale farmers like Kitabe increase their yields, adapt to extreme weather in their area and find new markets for their crops. This could mean business and farming advice or small loans with low rates that farmers can use to invest in their livelihoods. You can help tackle inequality by supporting Oxfam’s WE-Care programme, which aims to support working mothers. Women can attend groups to discuss their struggles and find ways to make positive changes towards equality at home.
Every donation you make, no matter how big or small, makes a difference. Last year alone, 11.6 million people were reached in 51 countries around the world:
- 4.3 million people were reached through health promotion activities.
- 270,000 people are benefitting from support to improve their crops, goods or services.
5.4 million people were provided with improved access to clean water.
Donations are vital to help Oxfam continue their all important work, whether they’re responding to an emergency, working on long-term projects with communities determined to shape a better future for themselves, or campaigning for change.
Donate online to oxfam and join them in their fight against poverty. Thank you for reading and happy giving!