Page 1

tion of about 20 per cent of the children

national governments, and interna-

in parts of the country – this was the lead

tional institutions. O.N.E features a

story of the November edition.

story about the challenges of education in Zambia. The 1st of December is World AIDS Day.

On the 3rd, a critical meeting on climate change begins, in Bali.

On the 22nd, Hong Kong’s largest food fair offers Fair Trade food.

tsunami struck.

ONE Stopping the poisoning in China

ONE 300 Action Partners

ONE Fair Trade in the Philippines and Hong Kong

ONE War and the tsunami – Sri Lanka

ONE AIDS information in Zambia

07 20

ONE When I'm 64 – a farmer in China

r be m ce De pandemic – in families, in communities,

Wang was four years old when he

How have people in Sri Lanka been

was assigned the task of going to

faring? Actually, there have been two

the mountain streams to get the water

huge disasters to endure: the tsunami

that his family and their livestock

and its instant destruction, and the

needed. Read about his life now, as a

The Hong Kong Food Festival, in its

violence and disruption of the 25-year

64-year-old farmer, in “Ache”.

fifth year, has Fair Trade food for the

civil war. O.N.E introduces Sriyawathie, a woman full of stamina.

Education is the key to the prevent-

The UN conference is happening

first time: spices, fruit, coffee, tea,

ion of any disease, of any problem.

during the part of the year when

sugar and more – see the story “Fair and

Leadership must be demonstrated at

Indonesians face the most hunger.

Sweet” from the Philippines.

every level to get ahead of the AIDS

Climate change has led to the malnutri-

On the 26th, three years ago, the

Talk to you in 2008.

A n d eve r y d ay, farmer s like

Madeleine Marie Slavick

Wan g C aizh e n g ( b elow, lef t ) in

Editor, Oxfam News E-magazine

Yunnan, China, go about their work.

Oxfam Hong Kong

ACHE Text and photos by Liu Shuguang

strong man. He looks so hearty, healthy, that if he did not tell me, I would never believe that he has been suffering from a stomach illness for many years.

It is dusk before I can meet Wang

His worst pain was in the mid-1990s

Caizheng. It is harvest time, and all

when the corn, wheat and potato

day long, people’s homes have been

har vests were smaller than usual.

empty: everyone is out harvesting the

To spare more food for his wife and

corn, even Wang, a 64-year-old Miao

children, Wang put himself last, often


feeling hungry for three to four months

Wang and his wife Yang Xiulan are

of the year, for several years straight.

shelling corn in a dark room. Corn husks

The lack of food in his stomach made

are everywhere. As we enter, he turns

his condition more serious.

on a light for us, and I can see a slim but

With the nearest infirmary being six kilometers away, and with no vehicle or other transportation, the only way for Wang to see a doctor was if someone carried him. Another dilemna was the cash: at that time, before the health

in China

cooperative was set up, people had to pay up front.

By the year 2040, China’s elderly population is expected to reach 400 million, or one out of every four people.

in China

We can have pork every week, and we

Wang’s health was so bad, he got the

even have a little savings,” Wang says

money on the same day he asked for

with a satisfied smile.

it. Recalling that time, Wang says with

“Why don’t you cure your illness

emotion, “I had never thought I could

once for all then?” I ask. My curiosity

borrow so much money so quickly. When

can not be silent any longer. “I consulted

I recovered, the first thing I did was to

the doctor and he said it would need

sell a cow and pay back the loan.”

up to 4,000 Yuan,” Wang says serenely,

However, Wang was not fully cured.

shaking his head. “So much money!

“In 2003, Oxfam conducted training

He still feels faint at times, and his

Of course I can borrow again from the

for doctors and supported villagers to

stomach still aches now and then. “That

community fund, and from others, but

set up a small clinic right in the village:

is caused by a difficult life in the past,”

I am old and poor. It is not just that I

we only had to contribute 20 Yuan per

he says, forthrightly. Wang told me that

am unsure that I will be able to repay

family, and for older people like me, only

other than the food shortages ten years

the loan, but that I think I am too old

5 Yuan. You see, the infirmary is only 200

back, there had been times when there

to deserve the treatment.”

meters away from my home. Plus, we are

was no rice to eat at all. For 59 of his 64

Oxfam’s work has met people’s

given credit.” He walks out of the room,

years, there had been little water so no

needs: we have helped many families

points to the clinic and smiles.

one could really develop and expand their

secure their livelihood and other basic

“But sometimes your condition is so

livestock-raising, and income was always

rights. It is Wang himself who has chosen

serious, and the facilities here so limited,

very low. For many years, the main way

not to apply for another loan. Is he again

how can the clinic meet your needs?”

that people made their living was from

putting the needs of his family before

I wonder, and ask aloud. He answers,

corn, which is a relatively good drought-

himself? If one of his children needed

“We can borrow money from the village

and cold-resistant crop suited to the arid

4,000 Yuan for hospital treatment, my

and go to the hospital in the county.

climate of their village in the mountains

sense is that he would borrow as much

We borrowed 2,000 Yuan in 2005. We

that reach 2,000 meters high.

as he could from the community fund.

had never borrowed so much money before! ”

Wang collected water from the hills for 55 years before water storage units like this were built.

everyone in the whole village knew that

In 2002, Oxfam supported farmers

Wang does not seem to believe the

to build water cellars. There was also

right to health care extends to one’s old age.

I come to understand that Wang and

training in raising livestock, and a small

his family joined Oxfam’s community

new grain-processing mill. Wang’s

The curtain of night is falling. Smoke

development fund project: he other

family now has 1 cow, 3 pigs and over

curls upwards from people’s earthen

six other families formed a mutual aid

20 chickens, which are useful to convert

kitchens. Our conversation has to end

team, which granted him the 2,000 Yuan

into cash whenever they are short of

for now, but as we wave goodbye, I am

credit limit. Usually, when a family wants

money. In fact, livestock has become

already discussing with my colleagues on

a loan, they must formally request one,

the backbone of most people’s income

how to address elderly people’s rights.

fill out an application, and get approval

in the village. His family thinks they can

His words still hover in my heart and in

from the management committee:

harvest 2,000 kg corn this year, some for

my mind.

only then can the funds be released by

their own food, some for the animals.

the treasurer. In 2005, though, when

“We have no problem to eat our fill now.

Ruth Thompson

/ Ox fam

HIV and AIDS in Zambia: People need information not censorship

Liu Shuguang works on media and communications with Oxfam Hong Kong. He is based in Beijing.

By Navin Vasudev

The evidence is compelling: youth who

communities in southern

receive this education are not more likely

Africa, confirms that

and food security projects in the three

to be promiscuous as adolescents, but

most AIDS prevention

extremely poor countries of Malawi,

instead, are more likely to initiate sexual

programmes are pro -

Mozambique and Zambia. Worldwide,

activity later in life, and more likely to use

moting abstinence as the

the region is the hardest hit by the AIDS

protection correctly and consistently.

most suitable means of

pandemic – about 20 million people live

Nevertheless, in Zambia, authorities

avoiding infection. Some

with the disease. A combination of factors

ban the distribution of condoms in all

do not necessarily speak

is responsible for this, including poverty,

institutions of learning. The directive

against the use of condoms,

social instability, sexual violence, high

specifically stigmatises the use of

but neither do they offer

levels of sexually transmitted infections,

condoms and links it with promiscuity:

the contraceptive a s a

and the low status of women. Oxfam’s

“Condom distribution will encourage

choice. Very few promote safe sex.

programmes in southern Africa address

risky behaviour and place the vulnerable

The Zambian government is not the

many of these challenges.

girl-child at the mercy of men and boys

only one facing the challenge of how best

Research about prevention is also

who will use condom as a bait. Schools

to carry out education. In India, 11 of the

clear: condoms lower the rate of HIV

should emphasize on non-promiscuous

29 state governments have either banned

infection, just as they lower the rate

methods of combating the HIV/AIDS.”

or are dropping sex education in schools,

of all sexually transmitted infections.

The Education Minister added that

yet the country has the largest number of

Condom use can also prevent unintended

condoms were encouraging young

infections in Asia – at 2.5 million.

pregnancy as well as cervical cancer.

people to have premarital sex.

strategies: are our current models

consider access to condoms as a vital

troversy in a region where religion and

effective to achieve the objective of

way for women and men to protect their

traditional culture can tend to facilitate

lowering infections? The answer must

health, and save their lives.

the ‘abstinence only’ strategy, not the

always be ‘yes’ in Zambia or India or

Numerous research studies also

use of condoms. Access to condoms is


recommend comprehensive sex educa-

particularly limited in rural areas, where

tion, which teaches both abstinence

these dynamics are strongest.

Navin Vasudev leads Oxfam Hong Kong’s work in southern Africa from his base in Johannesburg.

Oxfam Hong Kong, with twenty

means to inculcate behavioural change.

years of experience working with poor

For more about AIDS in southern Africa, visit (UNAIDS) and http:// (AVERT).

Promoting abstinence and safe sex

Andrew Ha

The directive is part of a long con-

rtwich / Oxf

Oxfam too must always assess our

UNAIDS and many other organisations

and contraception, as the most effective

Adrama about HIV and AIDS and the use of condoms

am Australia

Oxfam Hong Kong recognises that AIDS impacts all of our livelihoods

‘No Sex’ is promoted more often than ‘Safe Sex’

(Closewise) Peace efforts, small shops opened with low-interest loans, education projects – Oxfam’s work in Sri Lanka is varied.

tractor for her rice farming. The tractor,

Photos: Holly Chan / Oxfam Hong Kong

and can be used for many tasks so it

operated by hand, has lowered her costs saves a lot of time and energy too.

the northeast, demonstrates these qualities.

STAMINA, through WAR and TSUNAMI By Kurian Thomas Three years ago this month, the tsunami struck over 1,000km of Sri

By now, Sriyawathie has repaid the entire 58,500 Rupees loan (about

In charge of raising five children, only

US$540) and its interest at .01 per

one of whom is her own, Sriyawathie

cent, so another family has also had

got a job in a garment factory in the

the chance to improve their way of life.

early 1990s. Bit by bit, she saved up

Community organisations have told

enough cash to buy two acres of land

Oxfam that there is always another

as an investment, and she resumed her

family who wants a loan – the revolving

life as a rice farmer. Life seemed settled,

loan project is well-known across the



Af te r all tha t wo r k , s h e lo s t

Through both the war and the

ever y thing when the Tamil Tigers

tsunami, Sriyawathie has endured,

attacked her village in 1997 and burned

bravely. Her sense of stamina has been

have killed about 70,000 people –

effectiveness of Oxfam’s post-tsunami

her house down. A community group

a huge source of strength, as has the

over twice as many as the tsunami.

programme. The team found that

stepped in and helped out, as did her

reliable support of local groups. For

Hundreds of thousands of survivors have

the most significant results in the 13

father, so Sriyawathie was able to gather

her community in Trincomalee and for

been forced to take refuge in camps,

separate projects have been on people’s

up her strength to start all over again,

many others across the disaster-affected

completely disrupting people’s lives

livelihoods, particularly on improving

this time opening a small-scale business

country, the challenge ahead is to create

again and again.

access to affordable low-interest loans:

right on her property.

and maintain an enabling environment

Both the tsunami and the war have

3,195 poor people have received these

Then the tsunami struck. About

impacted the economy. The north and

loans to restart their farming, fishing,

30,000 families in Trincomalee were

east have been hardest hit by both

carpentry, or other work. Another noted

displaced, more than in any other

disasters: the economic, social and

result is that in almost every project area

district. Sriyawathie’s family all survived

political infrastructure in that part of

– the programme extends to 12 coastal

as her home is far enough inland, but

the country is very unstable.

districts – the opportunities for people to

on the whole, the village was affected,

Lanka’s coastline, sweeping away tens

O x f a m H o n g Ko n g h a s b e e n

make a living have increased: there are

livelihoods lost, and the economy

of thousands of people – most of whom

supporting several peace-building

now more options to consider. Skilled


were women and children – and making

and tsunami rehabilitation projects in

construction and masonry workers are

more than 400,000 people homeless

coordination with women’s groups,

in particular demand.

and jobless.

to sustain the positive impacts gained. Kurian Thomas is a Learning and Accountability Officer with Oxfam Hong Kong, which has contributed over HK$100 million towards tsunami relief, rehabilitation and community development projects since December 2004. Our priority has been in India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

To cope, Sriyawathie joined a community group formed right in her

disability groups, workers’ groups,

On the less tangible side, the team

village by Samadeepa, which for many

Yet there is another, larger, longer

children’s rights groups and peace

observed that on the whole, the people

years had been working for peace,

crisis in Sri Lanka. On and off for

groups. Over 300,000 people have been

participating in Oxfam’s projects seemed

accountability and better livelihoods

almost 25 years now, a civil war has

assisted in the tsunami programme

socially empowered, economically self-

in the area. (Oxfam Hong Kong started

been raging between the government


reliant, and generally positive in their

supporting Samadeepa in March 2005.)

and separatists, between Tamils and

In this context, a team of develop-

attitudes. Sriyawathie Basnayake, a

The community group awarded her with

Sinhalas. Bombings, gunfire and attacks

ment workers recently reviewed the

woman in war-torn Trincomalee in

a loan which she put towards buying a

in Sri Lanka

in Philippines Fair and Sweet

By Fiona Shek

”We want Hong Kong people to

told us that in the past, farmers like her

learn more about Fair Trade, “says Dina

were frequently exploited by the large,

Mansayon, 42, an organic sugar farmer

privately-owned sugar mill where they

and a leader of a farming group on the

used to sell their sugarcane: they had

island of Negros.

no access to any other buyer. The prices

The 82 members of the group

the mill offered were as low as 10 Peso

collectively own a 37-hectare farm which

per kilogram, which barely covered the

has been producing Fair Trade-certified

farmers’ costs of transportation and

sugar for over a year now. Going Fair

other expenses. The price of sugar was

net income: 55 per cent as dividends

acupuncture and other basic treatment.

the possibilities of working together, and

Trade has made a world of difference

so unstable due to a surge in imported

to members, 30 per cent for capital

I am happy to have this new source of

this Christmas, Oxfam Hong Kong has

in their lives.

sugar, so small farmers like Dina could

build-up, 12 per cent for savings, buying

income – we share it 60:40.

arranged for products from Alter Trade

Fair Trade sugar farmers earn more and have better community facilities / Photo: Alfons Poon

Dina recently talked with Oxfam

hardly make ends meet, rarely had

land and other community initiatives,

“The group now wants to set up a

and other Fair Trade groups to be sold at

and several Fair Trade groups who

enough to eat, and lived in bamboo

and 3 per cent for organisational and

kindergarten. We really don’t want our

the 5th Hong Kong Food Festival which

were visiting from Hong Kong. She

homes that could not keep them warm

administrative expenses.

children to have to walk 3.5 kilometres

is being held at the same venue as the

or feeling safe.

Dina at the new health centre / Photo: Fiona Shek

“With the extra income from Fair

to school and then 3.5 km back home

6th World Trade Organization Ministerial

With Fair Trade, the price of the sugar

Trade,” Dina says, “my family could build

again. This is what my youngest daughter

two years ago. Is there a better place to

is agreed between the farming group

a new house last year, and our farming

does every day.

promote fair trade?

and their new buyer, Alter Trade. This

group could set up a small health care

”We want Hong Kong people to

fairer price, at 16.66 Peso per kilogram, is

centre right in the village. They used to

learn more about Fair Trade and buy

guaranteed for a whole year so people’s

have travel for two hours to reach the

our sugar so we can improve our living

income is more stable than before. Every

nearest clinic. I was appointed as the

standards,” says Dina. “Our sugar is Fair

member of Dina’s farming group, for

health worker because I have training

Trade, organic and healthy!” Oxfam

which she voluntarily serves as Secretary,

in first aid and acupuncture. Most

Belgium already stocks the sugar, a Fair

has had a say in deciding how to use the

people come for blood pressure checks,

Trade group in Hong Kong is looking into

Fiona Shek, a trained journalist, works on Fair Trade, Climate Change and other policy issues with Oxfam Hong Kong. In November, she visited two Fair Trade groups with other Hong Kong and mainland China-based journalists and Fair Trade advocates. Visit hk/ for a full list of outlets selling Fair Trade items in Hong Kong. Oxfam is at the Asia Fair Trade Pavilion, Hall 2, HK Convention and Exhibition Centre, of the 5th Hong Kong Food Festival, from 22-26 December 2007.

new union was established with cotton farmers in Zambia.

DREAMS and ACTION By Genna Leung


In Hong Kong, Action Partners have formed a new Fair Trade group called

‘Fair Partners’, and the first studentfounded non-government organization ever: ‘Humanity in Focus’ aims to assist


youth in poor countries with basic

It sounds like a dream, or a prayer

services, and youth in Hong Kong

Oxfam Hong Kong has created more

with consciousness raising and global

than 30 books, some in Hong Kong, some

citizenship education.

in Taiwan, some on the Mainland, some in

– people from around the world carrying

Oxfam has always seen youngsters as

Chinese, some in English, some bilingual,

water, releasing it, making one body

not just being affected by the poverty

and some mostly with images, which cross

of water, of hope, of justice: “An

and the injustice around them, but

all languages. Through publishing the

ocean will never refuse a river,” says an

also as drivers of positive, sustainable

voices of poor people around the world,

indigenous Darug man (pictured, right)

change. Oxfam Hong Kong gave talks to

we want to change the way people think about poverty. We want justice.

to more than 300 people from about 100

schools in the 1970s and 1980s, set up a

countries. “Share your rivers with the

lending library in 1990, a grants-making

大山里的孩子們 (a book on education in western China, in Simplified Chinese).

land… one time, one earth, one people.

body in 1995, Oxfam Club for secondary

To order books:

It’s pretty simple.”

school students in 1997, Cyberschool in

It is young people who still believe

2000, Interactive Education Centre in

that anything can happen, and this

2005, and a youth campaigning arm

‘ocean’ did, in Sydney, as part of the

in 2005.

opening of a recent youth event. A three-year programme, Oxfam International Youth Partnerships (OIYP) guides youth, aged 18 to 25, to develop

Oxfam’s most recently supported supported the publication of 西部.希望 


We are living at a time of the largest

Issued every month in English and Chinese, this e-bulletin provides the latest

youth generation ever in developing

from Oxfam Hong Kong, with bite-sized news on emergencies, campaigns,

countries, at 1.3 billion people.

community projects, public education and fundraising. Oxfam e-News is emailed to more than 80,000 volunteers, campaigners, donors, Oxfam Trailwalkers, council

the skills and capacity to work with

Genna Leung works on development education with Oxfam Hong Kong.

their communities against poverty, and

For more about OIYP:

To subscribe: (English version)

Cyberschool: (Traditional Chinese) (Simplified Chinese)

for social justice. OIYP youth are called ‘Action Partners’ and the 850 people

Interactive Education Centre: http://www.cybers

involved since 2000 have led significant

Oxfam Club index.php

action around the world: lobbying led

Youth Campaign Partners www.maketradefair.

to the provision of AIDS medicine in Niger, women have been included in

members and subscribers. The Editor is Vivian Leung.


The last four programmes are primarily conducted in Chinese.

Ox fam Hong Kong publishes this quarterly magazine in Traditional Chinese. Mokung, which means both “no poverty” and “infinity”, highlights a different aspect of development in each issue. The Editors are Tung Tsz-kwan and Fiona Shek. The focus of the September 2007 edition

Stopping the Poisoning

was on Hunger. (The words above the rice bowl all say ‘food’). The December edition will focus on Migration. To subscribe:

In parts of southwest China, the teeth of every single adult are diseased,

bookstore/?lang=big5 Mokung is online at

and most people have severe pain in their bones: the coal used for cooking and heating is poisoning their bodies. Oxfam has launched several projects and featured this work in our 2006 appeal ; we now provide a shor t update: • A baseline survey has been conducted in rural Guizhou

ONE O.N.E – Oxfam News E-magazine – is uploaded every month, in the middle of the month, at To receive a copy in your inbox, please subscribe - it is free.

• Health education at primary and secondary schools • Training with health care workers and government officials • Safe fuel – new bio-gas tanks and stoves with better ventilation • No-cook options for fodder, and promotion of crops that do not need to be smoked dry • A traditional music troupe has been travelling the villages, giving educational performances for more than 30,000 people • In Hezhang, a county with some of

ONEquestion What can people do about Climate Change and Poverty? Please tell us at:

the highest rates of the poisoning, 70 per cent of the people say they now know about the disease – in the past, only 20 per cent said they did.

Chen Dacui, a farmer–participant in health education and alternative fuel projects. / Photo: Tsang Wing Kai

Hong Kong

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

COVER: Annie Bungeroth / Oxfam


the councils in parts of Pakistan, and a

O.N.E - 2007 December  

AIDS information in Zambia

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