Written by Claire Booher
Megaphone Staff Writer
In our world, with all the violence in everyday life, it is difficult for the average person to find a way to help those in need or to determine whether or not his or her money is being put to good use. Oxfam International is an organization that for years has been helping change international policy for the good of those suffering from poverty.
Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 organizations working together to help eradicate poverty, disease and to promote education all over the world. Oxfam is very involved in disaster relief, lobbying for international policies for the less fortunate and building alliances to help bring different programs together for a common goal.
Oxfam has helped to develop HIV/AIDs awareness and prevention education in Africa and is internationally recognized for their expertise in water sanitation. Oxfam has also continued to help those affected by the tsunami in December 2004 by rebuilding houses and restoring livelihood.
Oxfam campaigns on the behalf of those living in poverty. They campaign for fair trade to help poor countries so they are not victimized by international trade but benefit from it.
Oxfam also advocated for the control of arms in order to reduce arm proliferation and misuse by introducing an International Arms Trade Treaty which would reduce the arms being sold to countries or groups that would misuse them.
They also campaign for health and education for all as well as a campaign to help stop climate change.
Oxfam was founded in 1995 as a non-governmental agency to help eradicate poverty. The name comes from the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, which was founded in Britain during World War II and lobbied for grain ships to be sent to Greece during the war.
The 13 countries that contain Oxfam head quarters are in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Quebec, Spain and the United States.
They hold many events to help raise awareness of global poverty and give people opportunities to do their part in solving the problem. Oxfam is holding a free concert in Austin April 29 featuring: The Black, DJ Sucky F#%* of Trail of Dead, DJ Remy Mac of Voxtrot, The Pajamas (winners of this year’s Texas Revue), The Murdocks, Oppelo and Amp; Record Breakers.
At this concert, as well as their other events, they will have booths where concert goers may sign petitions, write letters to their state representatives and receive information on ways to help. There will also be many local Austin humanity groups participating in the concert, as well as handmade crafts from over 10,000 villages available for the public to buy.
They also hold many other events throughout Texas and the United States in order to raise awareness for their different causes.
There are many ways for SU students who wish to get involved in international policy, lobbying or volunteering for a good cause. Oxfam has many job, internship and volunteering opportunities. Internships are available in Washington D.C., Boston and in any of their 13 affiliate countries.
Donations can be accepted at their events, as well as on their website Oxfamamerica.org. They have financial reports that show you exactly where your money is going.
Their website is an excellent source of information to see what policies are being put into effect in what countries and whether the countries are benefiting from them. On the Oxfam website there is a map of the world. Click on any country, and they will show you what they are doing in that particular country. Oxfam has helped bring many issues to the public’s attention and has helped passed international legislature that benefits all those suffering from poverty.