r be em ov N 07 20
ONE Malnutrition and Climate Change – Indonesia ONE Fourteen Years after a Factory Fire – China ONE Life in Civil War – Nepal ONE The Making of a School – China ONE Rights and Ability – Hong Kong ONE Better Banking – Vietnam
Autumn in Hong Kong, 8 November, to be precise. Tomorrow, four people with a ‘disability’ will prove their ability.
Cancer, paralysis, amputation – this
beginning, in 1981, the 100km MacLehose
flagship event has since been ‘exported’
new alliance of 20 disability groups.
might mean the end to many things to
Trail had just recently opened; before
to England ( South Downs) , Japan
Some serious action on climate change
many people, but these four individuals
this time, much of the border zone with
(around Mount Fuji), New Zealand (Lake
might just happen in Indonesia. And in
have met their life challenges and are all
mainland China was closed to non-military
Taupo) and to Melbourne and Sydney.
Chongqing, China, a factory worker who
athletes, three of them at an international
personnel. People in Hong Kong could
And in summer 2008, to Belgium.
lost 75 per cent of her skin to a fire has
level as competitors in the 2008 Paralym-
now enjoy stunning scenery and very fresh
pic Games in Beijing and Hong Kong.
air in what can be a very polluted city.
They take to the trail in the name of possibility, in the belief in change.
The sound of 1,000 teams at the
opened a pioneering centre for migrant
starting point is indescribable. Can I say
workers and for people with disabilities.
In the past, Trailwalker was for men
it is the sound of joy in one’s body, in a
We all have a disability of some kind.
only. Soldiers only. When Oxfam Hong
connection with nature as 1,000 trees
They begin an arduous 100km trail
They and 1,000 other teams are
Kong was asked to get involved, in 1986,
surround you, and in the joy of an innate
through some very beautiful Hong
joining Oxfam Trailwalker, a 48-hour
we helped open the event to women and
sense that many things in life are in fact
Kong countryside: hill after hill, sandy
hike, our biggest fundraiser of the year.
civilians. There were about 50 teams.
We all have ability. And possibility. Madeleine Marie Slavick Editor, Oxfam News E-magazine
coastline, bamboo woods, and the 1,000
T he event it self ha s changed
Now there are more than 1,000
Yes, in Nepal, the 10-year civil war
Oxfam Hong Kong
metre Tai Mo Shan or Foggy Mountain.
dramatically and democratically. In the
teams. And this is only in Hong Kong. Our
is ending. In Hong Kong, there is a
Injus tice runs deep in climate change.
an UNJUST climate
parts of country. Now is the time to spotlight the crisis,
It is primarily people in rich countries
as Indonesia is hosting the December
who have caused the problem with many
2007 conference of the United Nations
decades of greenhouse gas emissions,
Convention on Climate Change.
but it is people in poor countries who
The conference is being held in
bear the brunt of the impact, with more
the middle of what is known as the
poverty, hunger and disease.
‘hunger gap months’. "We are very
In Indonesia, the third most populous
concerned during this period, from
country in Asia, more and more people
October onwards," says Yanne Tamonob,
are suffering from malnutrition due to
Oxfam's malnutrition project manager.
climate change. Millions of farmers and
"The harvest was bad this year.”
fishers are at risk. Rainfall patterns are unpredictable, and crops have failed. The sea is rising,
ALMOST ONE-FOURTH: MALNOURISHED
and coastal land is disappearing. For
In the remote village of Tes, official
centuries, the wet and dry seasons have
figures indicate that of the 60 children
been distinct: everyone could count
under five, 23 were underweight in July
on the rainy season from November to
2007, and 13 had severe malnutrition.
March, and then the dry from April to
Tes is located in one of the poorest
October. In 2006-2007, the rainy season
districts of West Timor, which is one of
was so short that drought occurred in
the poorest parts of Indonesia.
Amelia Siki, 18 months old and severely malnourished
Aureliana Siki is worried about her 18-month-old daughter, Amelia, who
is reluctant to show it, but all you can see are a few bunches of maize hanging from the roof and some rice stacked in
an UNJUST climate
one corner. Josefina Lake, another farmer in Tes, says, "last year, we lost a lot of our crop. The rain did arrive in November, but it was dry again by December." Villagers are unfamiliar with the vocabulary of climate change. They do
weighs just seven kilos and is one of
not know how to explain the drought,
the 13 children who has been officially
and say God alone is responsible for
classified as severely malnourished. "She
the weather. Experts see the year as a
just won't eat, she's always getting sick
"moderate El Nino year".
and having diarrhea. I am so worried Amelia is going to die."
Whatever one’s intellec tual or spiritual understanding, the daily reality
20% of young children in Tes, West Timor, are malnourished
"The problem is that we had a
for families in West Timor is that with
triggered a "humanitarian crisis" in the
interviewed say that “nothing happen-
Oxfam Hong Kong is also collabo-
bad harvest in Tes this year. Instead of
the minimal harvests, many children
area. El Nino, a warming of the central
ed as it was supposed to happen.”
rating to run climate forecast application
harvesting the normal four sacks of rice
are losing weight. Every week, children
and eastern parts of the Pacific Ocean,
Essentially, not knowing when to plant
projects across Southeast Asia. We
this year, we only had two. And instead
in Tes are weighed and measured at
generally occurs every four to seven
is the beginning of hunger.
will focus on developing alternative
of 20 bunches of maize, we only had 10. I
the government health post in the
years. It is considered responsible for
Several projects are underway to
energy sources, rebuilding community
am giving my children three meals a day,
village, and every week, what is feared
disruptive weather patterns around
assist people in West Timor to adjust
infrastructure (such as water storage
the globe, such as the 2007 drought in
to changes in the climate, and to
facilities) , set ting up communit y-
Australia, the worst in a century.
improve people’s nutrition, especially
based farmers’ schools, and running
Officials at the Indonesian environ-
children’s. Aureliana is one of 500
various livelihood-based projects with
ment ministry are clearly worried that
farmers receiving training from Oxfam
farmers and herders. This project is in
A study released in June 2007 by the
in the future the climate could become
in growing vegetables such as tomatoes
coordination with the Asian Disaster
World Bank and the Department for
even more unpredictable and cause
and water spinach to diversify her
Preparedness Center in Bangkok, which
International Development in England
even more extreme effects.
family's food intake and income.
also trains meteorologists, community-
but I have had to reduce the quantity in
is confirmed: malnutrition.
the portions." Aureliana's kitchen at the back of her wooden house is virtually bare. She
HUMANITARIAN CRISIS, HUMANITARIAN PROJECTS
"One of our urgent priorities," says
Oxfam has also supported research
based workers and farmers in climate
Indonesia is very vulnerable to the
Sulistyowati, assistant deputy minister
on three different islands in Indonesia
forecasting so that communities can
impacts of climate change". Food security
for climate change impact control, "is
to identif y how climate change is
adjust the planting and harvesting
is "perhaps the largest concern".
better equipment for our weather
affecting food production, how farmers
cycles of their crops.
concluded that as "an archipelago,
Another report by Care International
stations to give accurate forecasts." This,
and fishers can act and find solutions,
in March 20 07 warn e d that th e
she said, would help farmers to know
and how mitigation and adaptation
combination of failed crops and limited
when to plant.
projects are being implemented by the government.
Oxfam Hong Kong positions Climate Change as an ‘Economic Justice’ issue.For more: http://www. oxfam.org.hk/public/contents/category?cid=5398 8&lang=iso-8859-1 This article was adapted from an article by James Painter for BBC News. Photos by James Painter.
They work on a wide range of issues,
rural towns. There are hundreds of
others for their self-empowerment, I
perience, she is very sensitive to the
including disability, rights for migrant
sufferers in Zhong, most of whom
should always empower myself,” is what
Chongqing, in the southwest of China,
needs of migrant workers, people with
workers, and occupational health, and
contracted the disease at factories
to the modern city of Shenzhen, which
disabilities, and people who suffer from
give out useful information, such as a
making tatami mats. Because there is no
Oxfam Hong Kong has been working
borders Hong Kong. She was just 15
an occupational disease. They feel lonely
Q & A handbook written by Siu Ying,
cure, many people afflicted become very
alongside Siu Ying for many years now.
years old. Eventually, she found a job at
and self-contemptuous, she says, receive
for migrant workers before they leave
depressed. Zi Qiang has been helping
In the 1990s, we and other NGOs in Hong
a toy factory that runs on Hong Kong
little support from the community, and
them to learn exercises and information
Kong assisted workers from Siu Ying’s
capital. One November afternoon in
have no courage to contact people
I joined Siu Ying when she met with
on controlling the disease. They are also
factory to claim compensation. In 2003,
1993 remains a nightmare: the factory
outside of their everyday world. Siu Ying
an ill family in the countryside: a bumpy
sharing their difficult emotions with
we started assisting Zi Qiang with both
and dormitory caught on fire, killed 87
also says that people with disabilities
hour-long bus ride away, then an uphill
each other. “They have more confidence
funding and capacity building support,
workers – mostly migrant workers, mostly
face worse conditions in rural areas than
walk. It was almost 40° Centigrade, and
now and have become more optimistic,”
such as a trip to Bangkok to learn from
women – and burned 75 per cent of Siu
in the cities, because many government
the ground was so hot and dry that it
says Siu Ying.
NGOs which had lobbied for the rights
Amelia’s mother, Aureliana
water access caused by El Nino has
Farmers in Tes agree. Many people
Fifteen years ago, Siu Ying left
Because of Siu Ying’s own ex-
her hometown in Zhong County of
Ying’s skin. Three fingers and part of
of the survivors of another fire, also
her right leg would be amputated. After
in 1993, at the Kader Toy Factory, also
dozens of operations that cost more
a Hong Kong enterprise. After many
than USD 30,000, she returned to Zhong.
advocacy efforts, the compensation
Recovery took a long time, emotionally,
paid to affected families well exceeded
psychologically and physically.
that required by law.
When I finally had the chance to
In 2005, Siu Ying inaugurated the
meet Siu Ying, she gave me a warm
Oxfam Hong Kong Interactive Education
welcome, smiled mildly, and talked with
Centre. She had given us some of the
enthusiasm and passion. If I did not see
letters she wrote to her family from
her crutch, I would not have noticed any
the factory, her diary from those days,
disability. In a way, Siuying is a wife and
and old photographs from Shenzhen,
mother just like most Chinese women of her age, yet what is so remarkable is that
Empowerment, after the Fire
and we adapted her life story into an By Xu Yi
after all of her trauma and pain from
educational and experiential drama. At one end of our youth centre: a very
the fire, Siu Ying found the courage and
policies and measures are not properly
cracked. Siu Ying moved quickly with her
The people whom Siu Ying enc-
hot factory and dormitory, continuous
the means to set up a pioneering service
executed in rural areas. When she
crutch and wore long sleeves because
ourages and supports would not know
noise from sewing machines, and only
centre named Zi Qiang – which means
learned that there were 50,000 people
the sun is too strong for her burns. Some
how much frustration and pain she
one fire exit (a mock one), locked. At
in her county with access to only a few
of the villagers here have a disease that
herself has endured in the past, and I
the other end is a comfortable bedroom
services, she said to herself, “Why wait?
ruins eyesight, and they have difficulty
value Siu Ying’s positive attitude and
of a typical Hong Kong teenager: air
Let’s set up something ourselves.” That
finding work. The family gave us a warm
warm heart towards other disadvantaged
conditioning, pop music on the stereo,
was in 2002.
welcome, and Siu Ying listened carefully
people. Siu Ying remains level-headed
and a range of electronic gadgets made
At the beginning, Siu Ying ran a
to their situation, saying that there
and modest, “I hope Zi Qiang can serve
in developing countries. The drama
hotline right from her home. Gradually,
must be some kind of work that can
our target groups better. We need
makes a strong impression on students
her advice was more and more sought
sustain their livelihood. She promised to
to learn more from other NGOs. We
and teachers alike. Everyone likes a story
after, and she officially registered her
arrange a project that could assist them,
should not act blindly.” She energetically
of a person who can fight – and win
service as a non-profit organisation.
and empower them.
at tends various capacit y building
– against so many injustices. Xu Yi works on Urban Livelihoods issues with Oxfam Hong Kong. She is based in Beijing. Photos of Siu Ying are courtesy of Zi Qiang.
Zi Qiang now has a small office, three
Zi Qiang also works with silicosis
workshops and shares what she learns
full-time staff, and dozens of volunteers.
patients, and runs activities in three
with her colleagues. “To better assist
Nepal: Life in Civil War
Agricultural training project in Mukandpur / Rakesh Mohan
by Rakesh Mohan
or group-based, for raising pigs or
A decade of war has taken its toll. Roughly 12,000 Nepalese have
anything else: work is survival.
development projects across the country.
died, thousands of families have been
roads are unsafe or have been destroyed,
Given the civil war and the poverty –
A major reason has been that they
displaced, and whole communities
so access can be difficult or impossible.
85 per cent of the population is rural, and
have not been involved with project
uprooted. With all the violence of the
All projects work for peace.
82 per cent live on less than 2 USD a day
design, and the people implementing
Maoist insurgency and the government’s
Yet, daily work can remain the same
– Oxfam Hong Kong has been supporting
the projects have little awareness of
counter-insurgency, most all of the
in a village, even in wartime. The cattle
community initiatives in remote rural
their needs. So, the status of women
country’s political, economic and social
need their fodder, the household needs
areas, often in the mountains. A priority
and other disadvantaged groups is not
structures are at best unstable, if not
its water, and a stove needs fuel; there
is livelihood activities with the poorest
improving, while the gap between rich
broken down. People live in terror,
is no time to think about anything else.
of the poor people – women, ethnic
and poor people increases day by day.
insecurity and poverty, and tourists are
Women traditionally do all of these
minority people, and Dalits – three
And war has continued.
tasks, and the war has made their work
groups which who are perennially
Each Oxfam project is designed and
War has also affected the work of
harder: distances to get that food, fuel
discriminated against and have little
managed by the people themselves and
NGOs, too. Some projects have had to
and water have become longer, farther,
control over natural resources. For
is specific to the needs of the locality,
be suspended, due to insecurity. Some
sweatier. There is no time to think about
too long, they have gained little from
but whether the project be individual
bees, growing banana or ginger or orange, with small community groups or district government departments, each project promotes harmony and equal participation, two elements that are known to bring peace. With the multi-party system recently restored and peace-building underway, changes are happening in the country. Efforts by NGOs and voluntary groups can surely expedite the process of development and equity sidetracked by war for far too long. Rakesh Mohan leads Oxfam Hong Kong’s work in South Asia.
Making a School in Western China
It took 18 months and 120 horses to
build a new school in the mountains of Guizhou, in western China. Before 2006, there was no secondary
school in Taojiang Township, and only
2 The old girls’ dormitory / Yang Long He
about 300 of the 500 children attended
3 In the past, the students had to return home
school at all. The project was launched in April 2005 by the Leishan County Political Consultative Conference, undertaken by the Education Bureau and supported by Oxfam Hong Kong which allocated HK$2 . 3 million toward s building materials, books, and teacher training.
Here is the story of the renovated school, for both primary and secondary students, through photographs. The story is documented in the book, West
Hope – Children of the Mountains, available through Oxfam Hong Kong (in simplified Chinese).
1 The old school, built in the 1960’s / Yang Lan
every weekend, collect food for the coming week, and then walk back to school – a six-hour return trip / Yang Long He
4 Children used to cook their own meals with their own food / Du Yu Qi
5 Villagers transported materials by a 1,700 metre-long ropeway they made / Du Yu Qi
6 In May 2005, 120 horses started carrying 760 tonnes of building materials up the mountain / Zhao Zhi Gang
7 Finished in October 2006! The school is the first concrete building in the area / Du Yu Qi
8 The Education Bureau provided a school cook, so smiles all around / Yang Lan
9 Books provided by Oxfam arrive at the school library / Yang Lan
10 A student in the new dormitory / Yang Lan
People in Ky Son, near the Laos border, are among the poorest in all
OXFAM HONG KONG WEBSITE
of Vietnam. Nine out of ten people live
below the poverty line and do not have enough food for about five months
of the year. Banks charge a monthly interest rate beyond what most people
Oxfam Hong Kong has created more
can afford, so there is little chance of
than 30 books, some in Hong Kong, some
making any change.
in Taiwan, some on the Mainland, some in
Oxfam offers cash loans at 0.35 per
Chinese, some in English, some bilingual,
cent through a micro-credit project
and some mostly with images, which cross
managed by the villagers. The interest
all languages. Through publishing the
rate was agreed on by the villagers, who
voices of poor people around the world,
also selected the ten poorest families
we want to change the way people think about poverty. We want justice.
to receive two livestock, complete with
Oxfam’s most recently supported supported the publication of 西部．希望
basic veterinary training. Now, with
大山里的孩子們 (a book on education in western China, in Simplified Chinese).
raising animals such as chickens and
To order books: www.oxfam.org.hk/public/bookstore/list?lang=iso-8859-1
cows, people’s income has increased five-fold, and the repayment rate is high. The future looks different now
in Ky Son.
Issued every month in English and Chinese, this e-bulletin provides the latest from Oxfam Hong Kong, with bite-sized news on emergencies, campaigns, community projects, public education and fundraising. Oxfam e-News is emailed
Children in Ky Son, Vietnam Esther Chan / Oxfam Hong Kong
to more than 80,000 volunteers, campaigners, donors, Oxfam Trailwalkers, council members and subscribers. The Editor is Echo Chow. To subscribe: www.oxfam.org.hk/public/contents/16830 (English version)
HONG KONG: Right and Able Back in May 2007, Oxfam supported a twoday workshop on rights-based development
www.oxfam.org.hk/public/contents/7263 (Traditional Chinese)
www.oxfam.org.hk/public/contents/7265 (Simplified Chinese)
for people working on disability issues. We
Oxfam Hong Kong publishes this
wanted to build up their sense of entitlement
quarterly magazine in Traditional Chinese.
and empowerment, as well as their capacity
Mokung, which means both “no poverty”
to undertake rights-based advocacy work
and “infinity”, highlights a different
on social policy. Thirty-three people from 13
aspect of development in each issue. The
self-help groups participated.
Editors are Tung Tsz-kwan and Fiona Shek.
An alliance has since been formed with
The focus of the September 2007 edition
a total of 20 groups. From November, they
was on Hunger. (The words above the
will run a nine-month project of awareness
rice bowl all say ‘food’). The December
raising, surveying, media advocacy and public
edition will focus on Migration.
education – all to push for medical reform
To subscribe: www.oxfam.org.hk/public/
and for more rights for chronically ill people,
who are often marginalised in Hong Kong
Mokung is online at www.oxfam.org.hk/public/contents/category?cid=1017&lang=big5
society. In the same month, three of the four officiating guests of our main annual event, Oxfam Trailwalker (www.oxfamtrailwalker. Artwork from the 2-day workshop, on expressing personal needs
org.hk), are internationally successful people
O.N.E – Oxfam News E-magazine – is
with a disability, while the fourth is an award-
uploaded every month, in the middle of
winning cancer survivor.
the month, at www.oxfam.org.hk/one. Subscription is free.
“For friendship and dialogue, learn some words of the local language.” That is a tip from Oxfam’s recently
ONEquestion What can people do about Climate Change and Poverty?
published travelogue, written for youth, and
Please tell us at:
with youths’ personal perspectives. Every
year since 1997, 30 teenagers have travelled to poor communities across Asia with Oxfam Club and then returned home to Hong Kong to communicate what they learned and to voice out their call against poverty and injustice. For more, visit: (in English) http://cyberschool.oxfam.org.hk/eng/minisites/ oxfamclub/eng/index.htm (in Chinese) http://oxfamclub.mysinablog.com/index.php
17th Floor, 28 Marble Road, Northpoint, Hong Kong O. N .E, published in the middle of each month, is also online:
COVER: Esther Yiu