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February 2O11

Quilt-making in Pakistan. In a cash-for-work programme, Oxfam has been paying women to make quilts, which are distributed to flood-affected families. / Photo: Kathleen Hwang, Oxfam Hong Kong

Happy Year of the Rabbit Everybody Healthy, Everybody Happy ONE PERSON – LUK LEUNG YUK CHUN urges the Hong Kong Government to provide elderly people with a cash allowance for food and clothing. A recent Oxfam Hong Kong study reveals that about 40% of elderly people aged 65+ live in poverty.

NEPAL – ETHNIC HARMONY Imagine a community with no school,

EMERGENCY UPDATE HAITI EARTHQUAKE – One Year On Six residents tell how they could begin again. Oxfam has helped 1.2 million people.

PAKISTAN FLOODS – July 2010 A village of over 1,000 residents

no bridge, no water system. An Oxfam-supported cooperative is uniting ethnic groups and changing this.

rebuilds their lives, with the help of Oxfam.

CHINA – HIV and AIDS A development worker in Yunnan helps a

Typhoon Parma, ‘working moms’ are trying to make a better future.

couple with HIV-AIDS shift from despair to hope.

CHINA – BEAUTIFUL WATER, BEAUTIFUL HAIR With a better water supply, people can wash their hair once a week. Another component of the Oxfam project is first-ever gynaecological check-ups for women.

CHINA – MIGRANT WORKERS Can photography help close the gap between rich and poor people?

PHILIPPINES TYPHOON – October 2009 In villages ravaged by

TOGETHER – Ethnic harmony in Nepal

ONE Person

Luk Leung Yuk Chun

By Sahamati Imagine a community with no unity – some of the people not allowed to gather in the same place with other people, and sometimes having to stay away from public occasions altogether. Five years ago, this was the reality in several villages in Nawalparasi, a district

Luk Leung Yuk Chun at a press conference held by Oxfam Hong Kong in December 2010. / Photo: Cara Ko, Oxfam Hong Kong

in a mountainous region of Nepal. In Matikuri, a village of about 300 families, there used to be a considerable amount of disharmony among the four groups:

“I am very sorry that three old people

believes in self-reliance and hesitates

Tharus, the indigenous people; Magars,

suffering from various illnesses died

to accept assistance from others. She

an ethnic group who migrated to the area;

in the hospital after being found

prefers to skimp on food and clothing

the Dalits; and the Brahmins.

unconscious in their homes yesterday,

instead of applying for CSSA, but she

the coldest December day in Hong

does receive the HK$1,000 Old Age

One could say that this non-unity meant

Kong for the past ten years. I strongly

Allowance (an automatic payment

non-services. The village was deprived

urge the government to provide all

based on age, not income) from the

of government assistance – there was

low-income elderly people with a cash

government and HK$2,000 in financial

no school, no bridge over a stormy river

allowance of HK$1,000 (about US$130)

support from her children, which is

which made it dangerous for students

for buying food and clothing,” says Luk

considered a duty in a Chinese family.

to walk to the school located elsewhere,

Leung Yuk Chun, 79, one of more than

and no safe drinking water system.

160,000 older people who are eligible to

Luk has suffered from eye diseases and

Politicians used to promise to improve

receive Comprehensive Social Security

knee pain for years, and her medical

the community infrastructure, but it never

Assistance (CSSA) but who do not.

expenses have been nearly HK$1,000

happened. They would come to the village

a month. In 2009, the government

before elections, reassure the people

According to a survey released by

launched a Health Care Voucher

of change, and then disappear. Without

Oxfam Hong Kong in December 2010,

Scheme to partially subsidise the

unity, without solidarity, the people did not

about 350,000 people aged 65 and

use of private primary care services.

have a strong voice to demand their basic

above live in poverty. This constitutes a

The Scheme provides five vouchers

rights to these and other public services.

poverty rate of 40 per cent, the highest

of HK$50 for each person aged 70

among all age groups in Hong Kong.

and over each year. “Only HK$250

One resident of Matikuri, Maya Ale,

Many are trapped in abject poverty

in vouchers is definitely not enough

summarises the hardship and poverty

yet do not receive CSSA and other

to cover the extra cost of visiting

people used to face. "We only had

protection from the government and

private clinics,” complains Luk, who

rice and chilli for our food, and were

society. The survey – commissioned by

needed all five vouchers for just one

malnourished… The only way to get a

Oxfam Hong Kong and conducted by

consultation. Oxfam Hong Kong urges

loan was from moneylenders, who would

Policy 21 – reveals that older people not

the government to increase the amount

want double the amount in return. We

on CSSA face a deficit of about HK$545

to HK$1,200 per year and to explore the

could only afford to repay after a harvest,

(US$70) a month, and that their major

feasibility of providing a meal allowance

and in rice, not cash. Farmers like us got

items of expenditure are for food and

for elderly people.

poorer and poorer, and gradually, most of

health care. Luk Leung Yuk Chun lives alone in public rental housing. Like many other

us had to sell our land to be able to pay For more information, please visit:

for our basic living expenses.”

Story by Alfred Choy, Programme Officer with Oxfam Hong Kong.

Sabina Mahato, a Tharu woman, adds,

older people in Chinese society, she

"We did not have much income, hardly

O.N.E February 2O11

any cash… The lack of money led to a

among the four different groups of people,

a forest and has the right terrain. She

lot of internal conflict within the family.

who work together for the common good.

says that many families can now earn

Women used to hide our illnesses. Since

enough to send their children to school,

we had no money for treatment, we

Radha Mahato, a Tharu woman and

and some have enough to pay for home

thought it better to suffer in quiet.”

President of Kalika Group says, "In the


past we never worked in a group. Now,

A better life with a cooperative

being members of the same group, the

Other villagers raise poultry, and some

sense of unity has increased… We even

are doing it on a commercial scale. Yet

started purchasing daily household goods

others raise pigs. Maya Thapa, President

Thanks to Sahamati, a community

together for all group members. We find

of Mahila Kalyankari Samuha (Women’s

organisation based right in Nawalparasi

that purchasing in large quantities is

Welfare Group) says, "We knew how to

District and supported by Oxfam Hong

cheaper than buying individual amounts."

do piggery, but in the past it was all with a local breed of pigs and was not very

Kong since 2006, there is a new women’s saving and credit cooperative in the area,

Bishnu Maya Pariyar, a Dalit group leader,

profitable. We attended training sessions

with training opportunities in vegetable

expresses how she feels about joining

so that we could try a different breed and

farming and in livestock raising, income

the Cooperative, “Most of the families

build better pigsties.”

generation activities, and a revolving fund

are Dalits in my village. All of the families

with a low-interest rate for the extremely

are landless. We work as daily wage

Mina Mahato, Manager of the Cooperative

poor members. The women's group also

labourers. If we get wages, we have food.

says, "In 2010, we submitted two

manage a separate fund for health care,

If there is no work, then in most cases

applications to the District Agriculture

and all the families in the village contribute

we go without food. Now, as members of

Office for a water pump. Our application

to it.

the Cooperative, we are more relaxed.

was accepted…. The Cooperative has

We know we can obtain a loan, maybe

helped raise people’s living standards,

The Cooperative, named Yug Chetana

to cover a crisis that might hit us, or to

and at the same time has reduced the

Nari Savings and Credit Cooperative,

start up a small business of some kind…

gap between different ethnic groups."

was formed by rural women and is run by

I started a small shop that supports my

them, all on a volunteer basis. The women

family’s daily expenses.”

In December 2010, the Cooperative

attended training in leadership, community

formulated a three-year business plan,

development and basic financial skills

As President of the Jana Jyoti Women’s

with a target membership of 1,200

such as bookkeeping. They started with

Goat-keeping Group, she thanks

women. By December 2013, the women

five groups and now have 20 groups,

Sahamati for helping the group link with

hope to have their very own office

with a total membership exceeding 400

the District Livestock Development Office,


women as shareholders. The women and

who supported the women in her village

Sahamati see livelihood improvement

of Saalghari through a goat exchange

as one of the most important goals, but

project, complete with training in rearing

also ethnic harmony: the programmes

the animals. She sees goat-keeping

are designed to build up more interaction

as suitable, because Saalghari is near





Sahamati is a local development organisation based in Nepal that Oxfam Hong Kong has supported since 2004. The Sammunati programme team of Sahamti prepared this article. / Photos courtesy of Sahamati.



Maya Ale


Sabina Mahato and Fulmaya Tamang

3 Radha Mahato 4 Bishnu Maya Pariyar 5

Mina Mahato

O.N.E February 2O11

Friendship and AIDS in Rural China It was a day in August 2008 when Xiao

know who work with the Ruili Women and

could claim him, saying that “Living like

Tu, a rural doctor, and I visited a couple in

Children Development Center (RWCDC).

this is just too tiring.”

their late thirties who had tested positive

They have a way to assist people like you

for infection. Their child was less than a

who live so far from town.”

year old. As we arrived in their remote

What was tiring was their sickness as well as their poverty. He went on to say that

village, they were busy shucking maize,

Although the couple did not say anything,

he and his wife didn’t know where to find

but they quickly dropped their work to

it was clear, from their faces and the

the money for oil and salt, let alone for

greet us and lead us into their home.

tone in their voice, that they had lost all

other things they need. They do odd jobs

confidence and courage. Xiao Tu and I

for their income. One day’s work makes

I asked Xiao Tu, “Have they taken their

left with a positive word, and I gave them

one day’s pay. He said he didn’t have the

medication today?”

my office address and telephone number.

capital to plant.

The woman, who wishes to remain

Rural reality, rural poverty

I could feel the huge pressure of life

take it anymore. He (her husband, who

The majority of China’s HIV-AIDS patients

reminded him that he, and we, could not

shall also remain nameless) used to take

live in rural areas, like this couple. Their

give up. I said we must all persevere.

it, but stopped.”

village is home to many AIDS sufferers;

There was a bottle of cooking oil that he

their province of Yunnan, in southwest

could bring back to his family and some

China, has one of the highest rates of

clothes he could choose from that been

HIV infections in the country. It was the

donated to RWCDC.

anonymous, said, “I don’t think I need to

“Why did you stop?” I asked him.

on the couple by listening to him, but I

He said, “I tried taking it for six months,

husband who infected his wife – the

but my body reacted badly. I felt sick from

most common method of transmission in

My colleagues and I continued to counsel

it. Besides, travelling to the city to get the

Yunnan, and in China.

him, and finally, he and his wife decided to restart the antiretroviral therapy together.

medication is inconvenient and expensive, Discrimination against AIDS patients can

The decision was followed by good news:

be difficult to bear, and the fact that the

Their child tested negative. My colleagues

I knew that the local health centre stocks

couple chose to go to the city of Ruili for

and I were so happy for them.

antiretroviral drugs for people from the

their treatment is understandable. So,

fourth month, and realised that the reason

when I returned to my office, I immediately

they went to the city to get it was for

talked with colleagues at RWCDC, who

privacy: they do not want anyone to know

were able to fund the travelling costs.

With treatment, they slowly but surely

they have AIDS. I felt an indescribable

Xiao Tu informed them of this decision.

recovered – their bodies and their minds.

about 50 Yuan each time. So I stopped.”

pain in my heart, which deepened when

Healthier, wealthier

They brightened. Their confidence grew.

Xiao Tu told me that their infant son had

The next time I saw the man it was at

Their general perspective towards life

not been tested yet.

my office. Still despondent, he repeated

turned optimistic. Whenever they came to

that he would poison himself before AIDS

Ruili to get their medicine, they stopped

I gathered my strength to say, “You will both soon get worse if you don’t take the medicine to control the virus. What will you do when that happens?” The wife didn't answer, and the husband said, flatly. “I will take poison. That’ll be the end.” I sighed inside, but responded aloud, “Your wife has poor eyesight and your child is still so young. What will they do if you just die and end it all like that? If you don’t want your wife and child to be bullied and to go hungry, please see the doctor, tell him you want the medication, and overcome your difficulties. It’d better for everyone. Meanwhile, I’ll consult people I

The majority of people with HIV-AIDS in China live in remote rural areas. Here, community workers are on the way to visit patients in Yunnan. / Photo: Courtesy of RWCDC.

O.N.E February 2O11

into the office to see us, showing off their

THE DISTANCE IN 15 MINUTES – Migrant Workers in China

healthy son, everyone smiling. Yet they, and we, were still concerned about their financial difficulties. So, in 2009, when RWCDC began a new project to award small loans, the couple welcomed the opportunity and applied. Their application was accepted, and they joined the selfhelp project, complete with basic training in farming techniques and money management. They used the money to build a pigsty and buy four pigs. The pig-breeding went smoothly, thanks to the couple’s hard work. The first time at the market, when they sold two pigs, the wife told my colleague, “Thank you so much… The money we earned is enough to pay off the debt to the village, make the first repayment to the RWCDC loan, and there is still some left over for our daily expenses. After we sell the remaining two pigs, we plan to buy piglets again.”

“The dormitory of a female worker” photographed by Wang Xiao Hong, 30, a migrant worker in Shenzhen, the economic zone bordering Hong Kong. The image is part of an exhibition of workers’ photography called The Distance in 15 Minutes.

They did sell the remaining two pigs, paid off the full loan, and bought three piglets. In June 2010, they applied for a second loan. After discussion and assessment, the group decided it would support them to raise pigs again, since their skills were good, and their credit too. They received 2,000 Yuan, with which they bought five piglets. A happy life is there for them to grasp, and new hopes await them. And RWCDC continue their work. Current projects include a self-help group with people who receive or about to receive A RV ( a n ti r e tr o v i r a l ) th e r a p y. M a n y people react badly to the drugs, and with preparedness, patients can be ready for the difficulty. They can support each other through the hard times, just as Xiao

The title of the exhibition refers to the gap between rich and poor people in

Tu, my RWCDC colleagues and I have

Shenzhen: it takes 15 minutes to walk from the grit of factories to the glitter of

supported the couple. Peer support is

downtown. The exhibition won an award from the OPFIX Foundation, which

crucial for people living with HIV (often

encourages young photographers to document social issues.

termed PLHIV). Maybe ‘support’ is another word for friendship.

The art photography project was initiated by Small Grass, a centre in Shenzhen which provides a range of information and services for migrant workers: legal

The couple in this story have asked O.N.E not to disclose their identity. The author of this article also wishes to remain anonymous. Oxfam Hong Kong has supported various projects affiliated with the Ruili Women and Children Development Center since 2007.

support, cultural/art/recreational activities, a reading room, hospital visits and more. The centre is named for the fact that each migrant worker, like each single blade of grass, is important and deserves respect. Oxfam Hong Kong has assisted the centre ever since it was established, in 2003. Text by Wong Yingyu, an Oxfam Hong Kong colleague based in Beijing. Photos supplied by Small Grass.

O.N O..E N.February E February 2O11 2O11

BEAUTIFUL WATER, BEAUTIFUL HAIR Story and photos by Xiao Sha

Li Hongmei, age 10, washes her hair once a week. A few years ago, this was not possible. In 2007, few people in her village could wash due to insufficient water, only ten per cent of the families had a toilet, and the majority of the adult women had frequent gynaecological diseases as they could not clean themselves properly. Hongmei lives in Gaoshan, an arid and impoverished village in China’s northwest province of Gansu. It was in 2007 that community projects began there, and the changes are significant. Before 2010, no woman in Gaoshan had ever had

Still, life remains a challenge. Most adult women work long

a physical check-up, which included gynaecological care: last

and hard, in and outside of the home. They typically wake up

year, each adult woman received this. Villagers now have

at about six in the morning and farm until about eight at night.

enough water, fresh from the mountain stream and directed to

Chen Huawa (left), age 53, says sometimes she is so tired

communal taps, for drinking, laundry, cooking, and for bathing

that she does not have the energy (or the time) to wash, even

and washing, such as Hongmei’s hair. It used to take hours to

though water is now available.

get to the nearest town, but with the new 11.5-kilometre road that residents built, it now takes just one hour to arrive.

With Oxfam’s support, Li Gaiping (centre), 29, learned about danggui (Angelica sinensis) an herb used in Chinese medicine

The project took three years to complete, and a lot of

to treat gynaecological problems. She planted it, and in 2010

cooperation among the Gansu Yutian Rural Community

had a very good harvest. In the photo, she discusses her

Development Research and Service Center, which managed

success with Jiao Ruoshui (right), a professor from Lanzhou

the work; the village residents, who contributed their ideas,

University. Li Gaiping is the only woman in Gaoshan who can

labour, and 39,000 Yuan; and Oxfam Hong Kong, which

read. This too will soon be changing – there is a new library

provided technical assistance and financial support amounting

right in the village.

to 814,000 Yuan.

Xiao Sha is Assistant Communications Officer with Oxfam Hong Kong. Based in Chengdu, she visited the village of Gaoshan in Gansu Province in November 2010.

O.N.E February 2O11


ONE YEAR ON – Making a living in HAITI In Carrefour Feuilles and Corrail Camp, two areas of Port-au-Prince hard hit by the January 2010 earthquake, people are making a living again, thanks to grants from Oxfam which have enabled them to restart their small businesses. One criterion for participation in the scheme is that they offer products that people genuinely need, such as food and hardware supplies. Here are six of the hundreds of people who are benefiting; some have adapted Oxfam’s shipping containers to serve as their business premises.

“Joy in my heart” – Marie Carole St. Juste

Marie Carole St. Juste, 34, (right),

entry of the boutik, its walls painted with

“I’m really happy about the work Oxfam

received one of these containers. She

a fresh coat of pink paint – a colour she

is doing. If it wasn’t for the good work, a

re-opened her business there, a bottled-

loves. “If it wasn’t for that container, I don’

lot of people here would have lost their

drinks and packaged-food business

t know when I’d be back on my feet. I’m

minds because they would be focusing on

known as a ‘boutik’ in Kreole. “It really put

on my way. I know I’m going to be able to

their problems.”

joy in my heart,” she says, standing in the

make it back.

O.N.E February 2O11


“I know about life” – Charitable Pierre A small restaurant owner for about thirty years, Charitable, 45, has four children and is pregnant with a fifth. She used to run her business from her house, but it collapsed into a heap of rubble during the quake. She has now re-opened in a makeshift spot across the street, with two small tables. Rice and beans are common fare. Someday – when she has saved enough – she plans to rebuild. “I’m happy, but I don‘t have the means to do it yet,” she says. Oxfam assisted by giving Charitable a fuel-efficient stove and a grant with which she restocked the shelves with food items. In the early days after the quake, Oxfam selected her to prepare food for about 80 of her neighbours for about two months. Later, Charitable participated in the Oxfam-supported business training. “They taught us how to manage our business so it won’t crash,” she says. “My mom died when I was little, so I know about life. A lot of misery.” But she says she doesn’t dwell on her hardships, because “if you get mad, hypertension might kill you. And God works with me. You can’t be in a hurry. You have to be patient and wait for God. It’s about working hard. I didn’t have all this, but look at it now – and maybe in the future I’ll have even more.”

O.N.E February 2O11

“The government should be doing more” – Gerson Almeda

Gerson Almeda, 38, runs a barbershop,

He participated in the business training

a 25-year-old business he inherited from

Oxfam offered and used the grant to help

his father. He has four employees and

pay the rent. The shop survived the quake

a younger brother working at the shop,

nearly intact – only two mirrors broke –

which is open from about 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

but business was slow in the months that

Everyone works on commission, and

followed. ”It’s picking up a bit now,” he

Gerson helps support his mother, brother


and sister. “It’s not a well-managed country,” he says. “The government should be doing more.”

O.N.E February 2O11


“All the houses that were destroyed rebuilt” – Jean Ilmane

Jean Ilmane, 35, (right) is a metal worker

When there’s electricity in the neighbour-

with a wife and two children. He says he

hood, he can weld. But when the supply is

has been able to support his family with

cut, that presents challenges for the shop.

his trade. He received a grant from Oxfam to purchase new tools, such as a level,

What needs to happen for the neighbor-

drill, hammer, vice and chisel. He also

hood to become revitalised? “For me, it

joined Oxfam’s business training.

would be to have all the houses that were destroyed rebuilt.”

O.N.E February 2O11 10

“I’m really proud of myself” – Agda Frederique Raphaël Agda (right) is 37. She and her husband have four children and are taking care of two more children who lost their parents. The eight of them live in a two-room apartment in Carrefour Feuilles. “Before the earthquake, I was a seamstress and a merchant of food. I sold eggs, bread, and spaghetti from the porch. It was a good business,” says Agda. After the quake, Oxfam gave her a grant that she used to buy a sewing machine and to re-launch her street-side food business. Agda is now back to selling cooked food during the day and sewing at night. “You have to,” she says, when asked about having two jobs. “You have to pay school fees.” All six of the children in her house are in school. “I’m really, really proud of myself. When I was living in the street (right after the earthquake), I didn’t know how I would support myself. What was I going to do to support my children? I was worried, because I didn’t know how I would send my children to school, how to eat.”

O.N.E February 2O11



“We're in this by ourselves” – Joseph Dessources

Joseph Dessources, 60, and his family

I really do, because the doctor says it’s

resourcefulness to get by. “I have five

live in Corrail Camp. Through the Oxfam

good for me to keep moving my hand.”

people to feed. I have to be resourceful. If

livelihoods programme, he was able to

you have 25 Haitian dollars, you purchase

get a new foot-powered sewing machine

Joseph received business training from

a half ‘marmite’ (a potful) of rice and cook

to replace the ones he lost in the quake.

Oxfam. “They teach you how to manage

only half. You save half for tomorrow.”

What has he been sewing? “A few people

your business, how to save, and how

had uniforms commissioned; they haven’t

to manage things so that you don’t lose

come to pick them up yet because they

any profit,” he says, adding it was like

don’t have money – but I do it anyway.“

a refresher course for him. “When you

Joseph says he wants to have the

put up capital you have to monitor what

garments ready in case the customers do

comes in and out. You may think if you

come up with the money. “There are no

make money, it’s a profit – but you could

jobs in the camp and that’s why there is

end up losing everything if you don’t

no money for people to pay.”

monitor how much you spend.”

Hypertension caused Joseph to lose

What’s it like living at Corrail Camp? He

mobility in his right hand and right leg. He

answers with a Haitian proverb: Chak

traces out the patterns on the fabric and

moun gade pa’w or We’re in this by

his children cut them out. “I push myself.

ourselves. He says he has to have the

Joseph’s three children in Corrail Camp. They are looking at a photograph of Joseph. / Stories and photos supplied by Oxfam America

O.N.E February 2O11 12

In the 1st year after the earthquake, Oxfam has helped 1.2 million Haitians with

135 metric tonnes of seeds

1,000 bathing facilities

2,500 latrines

7,000 farming tools

3,600,000,000 litres of clean drinking water, enough to fill 1,440 Olympic-sized pools!


and more...

23,000 families were provided with cash grants to re-start their livelihoods

42,000 families received an emergency food supply

94,000 people were provided with emergency shelter and basic household supplies

233,000,000 Hong Kong Dollars (about US$30m) will be spent in the next two years by the 14 global affiliates of Oxfam

528,000,000 Hong Kong Dollars (about US$68m) has already been allocated by Oxfam in the first year

O.N.E February 2O11 13


Pakistan floods: Millions left homeless and hungry, Thousands assisted by Oxfam Story and photos by Kathleen Hwang When the government officer arrived in the

goats and chickens, leaving cows

camp – a girl of 17 and three small boys

village of Gul Hassan Mangrejo in early

and donkeys to swim alongside them

succumbed to gastroenteritis.

August to warn its inhabitants that a flood

to safety.

was coming, Allah Nawaz, the 62-year-old

I n m i d - O c t o b e r, t h e g o v e r n m e n t

village head, was not overly worried. After

The villagers were taken to an empty

announced that floodwaters had retreated

all, his village, located on the flood plain of

school building in the town of Khairpur,

and that it was safe for villagers in the

the Indus River in upper Sindh Province,

where they sheltered for about a month,

Khairpur area to return home. But in

had seen minor flooding from time to time

living on food provided by the government

Gul Hassan Mangrejo, few villagers had

and had been visited by officers before.

and aid agencies, before being moved to

Their warnings to evacuate, till now, had

a tent encampment.

proved unnecessary. It was at the camp that Oxfam workers But when villagers heard the roar of water

met some of the villagers from Gul

and saw it begin to encircle their village,

Hassan Mangrejo. Oxfam had been

which is located on a bit of high ground,

setting up WASH (water, sanitation and

they knew this time was different. They

hygiene) facilities in the camps, boring

gathered up what few belongings they

holes to access clean groundwater for

could carry as a small armada of motor

drinking and washing, installing hand

boats and pedal boats approached, sent

pumps, building separate latrines for men

by the government and the navy to rescue

and women, and passing out hygiene kits


including soap, towels and other items.

The village’s 1,025 residents crowded

Keeping healthy was a challenge; Gul

onto the small boats, along with their

Hassan Mangrejo lost four children in the

Allah Nawaz (left), head of Gul Hassan Mangrejo village, describes the village’s needs to Shaban Daud (right), a public health engineer recruited by Oxfam, while villagers look on.

Hygiene, health and high aspirations August is the beginning of the school

and organised workers to do the job, as

says Khusboo, a bright-faced girl of 11,

year in Pakistan, but the Bhurgri Girls

well as technicians to repair the plumbing.

describing her lesson with Kaladi.

Elementary School in Khairpur did

The staff followed up with public health

not open on schedule in 2010. The

training at the school and others

“We learned how to prevent diseases.

government had chosen it as a temporary

like it.

When I am sick I have to miss school,

shelter for families displaced by flooding in

and we have to pay a lot of money for

their villages. Around 550 people stayed

In early December Sassi Kaladi, 20,

medicine,” adds 10-year-old Farhana.

there from August to mid-September,

visited the school to conduct a health

“I want to finish my education.”

camping in classrooms and courtyards.

and hygiene session with pupils aged five to eleven. She is an Oxfam recruit

In a country where many girls are kept out

In September the government moved

from Khairpur, working as a public health

of school for financial or cultural reasons,

them into tents in a nearby camp and

promotion assistant. She loves her work,

these girls are among the lucky ones.

the school was free to reopen – but the

she says, as it offers her both a learning

Their families support their studies, and

facilities were a wreck. Litter and waste

experience and a chance to serve the

the girls have high ambitions; they aspire

were everywhere, and the plumbing was


to become doctors or engineers, and one


wants to be a pilot. But Khusboo says, “We learned how to keep our homes

“When I am older, I would like to work for

Local staff recruited by Oxfam identified

and school clean, about boiling water

Oxfam, inshallah (God willing).”

the school as one in need of a clean-up

and keeping food and water covered,”

O.N.E February 2O11 14

Urgent needs remain homes left to return to; their mud brick

Other families either were not on the

houses lay in ruins, and their fields –

government’s list of affected families, or

1 Heavy monsoon rains in late July

which in good times provided cotton,

could not produce the necessary identity

2010 triggered flooding that affected

wheat, sugarcane and mustard – were

documents to receive their cards. Allah

some 20 million people in Pakistan

still under water.

Nawaz, the village head, received his; he

– more than the 2004 Indian

collected the first payment but spent it on

Ocean tsunami and the 2009 Haiti

Not long after the first villagers returned,

transporting all the villagers home when

earthquake combined.

Shaban Daud, 28, a Pakistani public

the camps closed, and on necessary

health engineer recruited by Oxfam to

medicine for some of the people who did

support flood relief and recovery efforts,

not receive their watan cards.

2 Donations from the people of Hong Kong allowed Oxfam Hong Kong to contribute HK$11 million (US$1.4

located the village about an hour’s drive over fields and flatlands from Khairpur,

Nawaz continues to work with the

million) to provide access to clean

following directions from a villager he

government to help all the villagers obtain

a n d s a f e w a t e r, s a n i t a t i o n a n d

met in the camp. He took along a local

their cards, but the delay means they

hygiene facilities, emergency food

technician to help repair damaged hand

have already missed the critical wheat

and shelter and livelihoods assistance

pumps and install new communal ones

planting season. Farmers must plant

for over one million people severely

to ensure a safe and clean water supply.

by November to harvest their wheat in

affected by the flooding.

They also built proper flush latrines for

spring. Flat breads made of wheat, such

men and women.

as chapatis, are the main staple food for

3 The Hong Kong SAR Government Disaster Relief Fund provided

poor rural families.

altogether HK$9.95 million (US$1.28

Daud, who has an engineering degree from Leeds University in England, takes

To g e t h e r w i t h t w o l o c a l p a r t n e r

million) to four non-governmental

great satisfaction in working to help

organisations Pirbhat and Participatory

agencies, including Oxfam Hong

people rebuild their lives. “I studied

Development Initiatives, Oxfam is

Kong, to support Pakistan flood

infrastructure and waste management, but

implementing a cash-for-work programme,


it’s all related to public health,” he says.

paying women to make quilts which are

It is an honour for me to work with these

then distributed to flood-affected families,

4 O x f a m a f f i l i a t e s p r o v i d e d t h e

people. After studying so much, if I am not

and paying men to clear away rubble or

e q u i v a l e n t o f H K $ 1 6 8 .6 m i l l i o n

able to help my people and my country,

build latrines and washrooms. While this

(US$21.68 million) to the flood relief.

what am I doing? “

does not meet all the families’ needs, it does at least provide cash to cover

There is still a long way to go before life

immediate necessities, and temporary

returns to normal. Most urgently, people

employment for men and women eager to

need to have their homes rebuilt and their

improve their situation. “We have good land, we can grow good

The government has allocated 100,000

crops, but now we have no seeds, no fuel

rupees (about HK$9,000) in two payments

for our irrigation pumps, and no houses

to each flood-affected family, which they

or food,” said Allah Nawaz, surveying the

can access through a “watan card,” an

ruined village. “Only Oxfam has come

ATM card with a pre-set value. But only

here to help.”

about 15 per cent of the families in Gul which were distributed in the camp.

Provincial Government said that about 3.5 million people in the province were still in acute need of shelter, food and other aid.

winter crops planted.

Hassan Mangrejo received these cards,

5 In early January 2011, the Sindh

Kathleen Hwang, Communications Officer with Oxfam Hong Kong, visited Pakistan in December 2010.

6 The United Nations says US$1.9 billion is needed (more than HK$14.7 billion) to help displaced people repair their homes and begin to generate income. 7 The most urgent need is for shelter and health services for 500,000 people still living in temporary settlements. 8 O x f a m p l a n s t o c o n t i n u e f l o o d recovery work in Pakistan until July 2011, providing emergency shelter kits; cleaning water systems and building latrines in villages; distributing winter quilts, household items and hygiene kits; and continuing cash-for-work programmes

A villager uses one of the new hand pumps installed by Oxfam in Gul Hassan Mangrejo to bring clean groundwater to the village. The rubble is all that is left of peoples’ homes; they now live in tents.

Pupils at the Bhurgri Girls Elementary School in Khairpur practise washing their hands with soap after a lesson in personal hygiene. / Photo: Honorio de Dios, Oxfam Hong Kong

and other services. We aim to assist more than 206,000 people.

O.N.E February 2O11 15


Working women, Working moms By Frank Elvey

The women of Salavante aspire to a better life. One year after their village in the Philippines was flooded by Typhoon Parma, their aspirations include having more adequate food, more savings, better community facilities, more self-reliance, and better disaster preparation and response.

In the first photograph, a group of Salavante women are reflecting on their aspirations, achievements and challenges and what they can do to improve family and community wellbeing. The 26 women call themselves Salavante Working Moms Disaster Risk Reduction Organisation, or ‘Working Moms’ for short.

The Chairperson of the group, Vilma Rufo, is pictured in the middle photograph, together with the bamboo handicrafts the women make, mostly for sale to local traders. An item sells for 4 to 10 pesos and by making hundreds of handicrafts, each Working Mom can earn up to 1,000 pesos a week (or HK$180), an important supplement to the family income.

In the third photograph, the women are working alongside the local group Peoples Disaster Risk Reduction Network, other partner organisations and Oxfam Hong Kong, to develop concrete plans to achieve their goals. This includes engaging with government to advocate for better public services. The women also plan to link with women in other communities to share what they have learned through working together and supporting each other. Frank Elvey, Regional Manager for Archipelagic Southeast Asia with Oxfam Hong Kong, visited Salavante in October 2010 as part of a Responsible Wellbeing Workshop that included partners and Oxfam staff meeting with the women's group. / Photos: Sandy Wong, Oxfam Hong Kong

O.N.E February 2O11 16


9 e



Every day, Oxfam Hong Kong works alongside hundreds of groups around the world, from small NGOs to international bodies, from government departments of developing countries to community groups based in Hong Kong. Here are 9 partner organisations that we are supporting for the first time. In this edition of O.N.E, we highlight the NGO called "Build Community Voice" in Cambodia.

CHINA VOICES Speak Out Against Poverty in Mainland China

CAMBODIA • Build Community Voice CHINA

Fujian • Green Ground Migrant Workers' Service Centre, Xiamen

Guizhou • Guizhou HeMei Indigenous Handicraft Development (Guizhou Institution for

Sichuan • Pengzhou Zhongda Green Roots of Social Work Development Centre

Indigenous Cultural Development)

Tianjin • Tianjin Tiangong Lechuang Enterprise Management Information Consultation Yunnan • The Commission of Communist Youth League Gongshan

• Office of Ziyuan County Poverty Alleviation and Development Leading Group • Yunnan Youth Development Foundation HONG KONG • People Alliance for Minimum Wage

Established in 2008, Build Community Voice, or BCV for short, supports indigenous and non-indigenous communities to advocate in defence of their economic, social and cultural rights. In particular, BCV works to build up people's skills in developing their own useful and low-cost media materials. Their approaches and methods are effective, culturally appropriate, and fit well with the overall strategic plan for Oxfam Hong Kong in Cambodia, which is to improve the livelihoods of indigenous people in the upland northeast. Main issues these people face are the steady loss of natural resources on which their livelihoods depend and the loss of their culture and traditions. In the past, they have had little opportunity to voice their concerns in the public arena, and BCV is working to change this. They consider community-produced media materials as important, if not essential, for effecting change at the community and national level. In early 2010, for instance, BCV supported residents from 11 villages in Om Leang Commune whose land rights and livelihoods were jeopardised by an economic land concession to produce sugarcane, owned by Senator Ly Yong Phat of the ruling Cambodian People's Party, which tried to take control over 2,000 hectares of their land. Rice crops were destroyed, land occupied, and access to external sources of support forcefully and militarily blocked, the villagers were angry and scared, yet

they decided to make their views heard, and protested peacefully. Still, two villagers were arrested and detained without charge. Undaunted, in April, about 400 residents mobilised themselves and blocked the national road route, making a huge traffic jam for people returning from Cambodian new year holidays. The BCV-supported event attracted a lot of attention from the media, the general public, and from various levels of government. The media coverage helped raise a significant amount of awareness and support for the communities, and the two villagers were released. BCV networks with many NGOs and coalitions, such as the nationwide Community Peace-building Network, Indigenous Rights Active Members, Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (with 19 members), UN bodies, and several other groups. The specific Oxfamsupported project runs from December 2010 to September 2011 and has three main aims: 1) to improve the appropriateness and accessibility of media and information in indigenous communities, 2) to improve the ways that NGOs and donor agencies can empower community production and ownership of media materials, and 3) to support communities to have power and control over their lives and to demand better governance. Oxfam has been supporting the NGO since 2008 with small projects, but this new project represents a larger commitment and a stronger partnership.

Oxfam Hong Kong has launched a book of stories and photographs that features the views and accounts of people whom Oxfam has met in 23 years of anti-poverty work in Mainland China. The publication depicts the lives of farmers, women, migrant workers, ethnic minorities and community workers in China’s impoverished rural areas. Available at Swindon Books, Kubrick Book Stores, Relay, Dymocks, CUHK Press, Times Publishing, Hong Kong Readers, MCCM Creations, Xiyao Book Store and Oxfam’s online shop at

O.N.E Oxfam News E-magazine is published every two months, at To receive a copy in your inbox, please subscribe – it is FREE.

O.N.E (Oxfam News E-magazine) is published every two months by Oxfam Hong Kong, 17th Floor, China United Centre, 28 Marble Road, North Point, Hong Kong. The publisher does not necessarily endorse v i e w s e x p r e s s e d b y c o n t r i b utors. For permission to reprint articles, please contact us; normally, we grant permission provided the source is clearly acknowledged. O.N.E is available free to all, in both an HTML and PDF version, and in Chinese and English.

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O.N.E February 2011  
O.N.E February 2011  

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