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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,


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


"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. 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

she believes.

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

in China

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.

staying away.

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


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:

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: (English version)

HONG KONG: Right and Able Back in May 2007, Oxfam supported a twoday workshop on rights-based development (Traditional Chinese) (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:

and for more rights for chronically ill people,


who are often marginalised in Hong Kong

Mokung is online at

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

ONE, 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 Subscription is free.

Illustration: Sue

“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) oxfamclub/eng/index.htm (in Chinese)

Hong Kong

17th Floor, 28 Marble Road, Northpoint, Hong Kong O. N .E, published in the middle of each month, is also online:

COVER: Esther Yiu



O.N.E - November 2007  

O.N.E celebrates the possible. Better nutrition. Peace. More rights for people with disabilities… A new school… A better ‘bank’…