Oxfam will be celebrating the invaluable contribution of its 3,983 volunteers, this International Volunteers Day on Friday 5 December.
During the 2013-14 financial year, Oxfam’s volunteers gave a staggering 86,819 hours of work to the organisation.
This equates to $2.92 million in value or 52 full-time positions.
Oxfam Australia Trading General Manager Julia Sumer said the skills, ideas and experience of the volunteers in the Oxfam Shops were invaluable to the organisation.
“Our volunteers represent such a vast range of skills, ideas and experiences – we wouldn’t be able to function without them,” Ms Sumner said.
“Not only do we have volunteers in our shops unpacking boxes and serving customers, we also have volunteers at our warehouse picking the stock for online orders and in our offices helping with admin, buying and marketing.
“Our volunteers are passionate about playing their part in helping create a future free from poverty.”
Along with a huge range of gifts in its shops, Oxfam also produces its own range of Fairtrade certified tea, coffee and chocolate.
One of the Fairtrade Cooperatives that supply the cocoa used in Oxfam’s products is Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana.
Using Fairtrade premiums, Kuapa Kokoo has established eight schools, installed 19 boreholes and 350 hand dug wells to allow access to clean water, built seven toilet facilities and trained more than 60 women’s groups in leadership and the development of new skills for income generation in the off season.
Kuapa Kokoo cocoa farmer Comfort Kwaasibea tells how Fairtrade has impacted her life.
“Fairtrade is good to the farmer and makes us happy,” Mrs Kwaasibea said.
“We have taken our destiny into our own hands. We have good drinking water, toilet facilities and schools. Kuapa pay the farmers on time and there is no cheating when the cocoa is weighted.
“We would like to sell more cocoa to Fairtrade so more farmers can taste a better life.”
Ms Sumner said without the support of Oxfam’s volunteers, the organisation would not be able to help transform the lives of producers such as Mrs Kwaasibea.
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