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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
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
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.
/ 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 http://www.unaids.org/en/ (UNAIDS) and http:// www.avert.org/aids-africa-questions-1.htm (AVERT).
Promoting abstinence and safe sex
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
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.
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
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 http://www.maketradefair.org. 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
OXFAM HONG KONG WEBSITE
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
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: www.oxfam.org.hk/public/bookstore/list?lang=iso-8859-1
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
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: http://oiyp.oxfam.org/
To subscribe: www.oxfam.org.hk/public/contents/16830 (English version)
www.oxfam.org.hk/public/contents/7263 (Traditional Chinese)
www.oxfam.org.hk/public/contents/7265 (Simplified Chinese)
for social justice. OIYP youth are called ‘Action Partners’ and the 850 people
Interactive Education Centre: http://www.cybers chool.oxfam.org.hk/services.php
involved since 2000 have led significant
Oxfam Club http://oxfamclub.mysinablog.com/ index.php
action around the world: lobbying led
Youth Campaign Partners www.maketradefair. org.hk/
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: www.oxfam.org.hk/public/
In parts of southwest China, the teeth of every single adult are diseased,
bookstore/?lang=big5 Mokung is online at www.oxfam.org.hk/public/contents/category?cid=1017&lang=big5
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 www.oxfam.org.hk/one. 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: http://forum.oxfam.org.hk/?c_lang=eng
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
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