Australians wanting to give to others this Christmas can support poor communities simply by buying beautiful handcrafted gifts, according to international aid agency Oxfam.
If the gifts are fair trade, such as those in Oxfam’s shops, they will ‘give twice’ by helping the communities who produce them become more independent and sustainable, while also making wonderful, unique gifts in their own right.
By providing market access, secure employment and regular income, Oxfam helps farmers and skilled artisans around the world work their way out of poverty.
“We search the globe to find distinctive, quality products that help alleviate poverty and injustice through the benefits of fair trade,” Oxfam’s Director of Trading, Ms Nadine Silverberg said.
“Many people are familiar with fair trade products through our popular coffee and chocolate, but what they might not know is that our fair trade range extends to everything from kitchenware to kids toys, travel items to jewellery, and just about everything in between.”
Ms Silverberg welcomed the growing trend in ethical consumerism, which saw the fair trade market in Australia grow by 70% between 2007 and 2008.
“Australians are increasingly seeking out gifts which show they care about those less fortunate than themselves,” Ms Silverberg said.
Some of the ways in which Oxfam gifts are currently helping others include:
•helping to educate street children in Vietnam;
•providing dolls to children in HIV/AIDS affected families in Zimbabwe;
•offering training and employment to the severely handicapped and the blind in Kenya, and,
•supporting producers in disaster-hit countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia.
Money raised through Oxfam’s shops helps support Oxfam Australia’s work in fighting poverty and injustice worldwide.
More information about Oxfam’s shops and gifts that give twice is available at www.oxfamshop.org.au