How to help reduce poverty and change people’s lives this Christmas

How to help reduce poverty and change people's lives this Christmas

Unbelievably, Christmas is on its way and, with only eight weeks to go, the time to buy Christmas presents is now, even though the super organised amongst us may have already bought their gifts for their friends and family. But, wouldn’t it be nice to buy a Christmas gift that makes a real difference to people’s lives for a change? No more smellies that get put in the corner and never used or no more of grandma’s oversized knitted Christmas jumpers. How about a big pile of poo or a goat instead? Let me explain.

Oxfam Unwrapped

Oxfam is doing something amazing this year, as they set out to change people’s lives once more with their alternative charity gifts for Christmas. These gifts are set up to help those families in need to lead healthier and happier lives. Poverty is a nasty disease and, unfortunately, many families are massively suffering because of the lack of running water, a good hygiene system and enough food to feed their family. Thus, many babies are malnourished and suffer endlessly through starvation and hardship. Together, we can make families our priority and send them a gift that will help them fight against poverty this Christmas. Below are several gifts that can be purchased through Oxfam”s website and range from only £5 to £500, but are an invaluable asset to their recipients. So, let’s dig in deep this Christmas and help change families’ lives for the better.

How Oxfam Unwrapped works

You simply choose from one of Oxfam”s wonderful gifts here, you add your message and a few Little Extras if you want to and then you purchase. Oxfam takes care of the rest. You can also send an interactive charity e-card along with your purchase. Just select the e-card option at the checkout.

Gift number 1: Care for Mums and Babies


The gift of Care for mums and babies can help:

  • Oxfam to push for better and more affordable healthcare. When money is tight, maternal health care is not high on government agendas. But, with this gift, it can be.
  • To give community health centres and provide fully trained doctors, midwives or birth attendants.
  • To provide safe access to water for births
  • To train new mothers and their communities on WASH (Water and Sanitisation Hygiene), enabling them to take care of their families.

Salama’s story from Azel, Niger

Salama's story, Niger. Oxfam Unwrapped - motherhooddiaries.com

Salama is mother to Hama who is now 9 months old. Through his short few months, Hama has suffered from malnutrition due to illness and poverty. Salama and her husband could not afford to get enough food to keep Hama healthy. However, through Oxfam’s funds, Salama and Hama’s life has changed miraculously. The Azel Treatment Centre in their community has now been fitted with essential equipment, including a water tank and pump, laundry area and handwashing station, that has made a huge difference to the lives of everyone in the area. The new 1,000 litre water storage tank that Oxfam installed has enough to cope with 15 babies a day and supplies toilets, sinks and the laundry area with clean water.

Salama's story - provide clean water - oxfam unwrapped - motherhooddiaries.com

“We are completely delighted to get the water system in our health centre. Now, we can wash our babies when they have diarrhoea. There’s a laundry system and everything is sanitary. It’s a huge progress! We are really proud of Oxfam because Oxfam helped us women a lot to support our children.”

(Images above by Abbie Trayler-Smith)

Where to buy

Care for Mums costs just £16.00 and your gift can offer so much help to those families in need. You can purchase ‘Care for mums and babies” here.

Gift number 2: A Goat

The gift of a goat can help to:

  • Provide milk for the family
  • Provide extra business training, so the family can get the best price for what they produce
  • Make cheese and produce manure to help grow crops, helping families to create a business that changes their lives
  • The goat to give birth to kids that can be sold or passed on to other families in need.

The goat is sourced locally and is fully vaccinated, so it’s ready to supply a family with milk to drink or sell.

Zarou’s story from Village de Inakazam, Niger

Zarou's story, Niger. Oxfam unwrapped - motherhooddiaries.com

Zarou lives in one of the poorest countries in the world. 80% of Niger’s land area is covered by the Sahara Desert. Zarou’s community was identified as most in need of Oxfam’s support. So Zarou received a life-changing goat to help her and her family and they have had great success. Zarou is now a budding business woman. She uses the milk to make cheese, which she then sells at the market, along with several new baby goats. Zarou now has a small flock that she can raise to sell or pass on to other vulnerable families in her community.

“Before receiving my animal, life was difficult. My husband had nothing either. Two months ago our goat gave birth and we now have four. Now I am taken care of.”

Gift of a goat - oxfam unwrapped - motherhooddiaries.com

(Images were taken by Oxfam)

Where to buy

One goat costs just £25.00 for you, but it is absolutely priceless for the family who receives the gift. You can also buy a Goat Couple for reproduction at £50.00 or a whole farmyard for £250.00. You can purchase a Goat here.

Gift number 3: Pile of Poo

Patricia's story - gift of pile of poo - oxfam unwrapped - motherhooddiaries.com

(Image by Tommy Trenchard)

The gift of a pile of poo can:

  • Give a family the means to feed themselves. The poo helps to fertilise the plants and grow fresh vegetables.
  • Enable a family to become self-reliant and make a better life for themselves.
  • Offer training to help families grow more crops, which means more regular meals, a more varied diet and the chance to earn a better income to pay for things like school fees.

Patricia’s story from Monrovia, Liberia

The capital city of Liberia houses nearly a third of the country’s population. Sanitisation is poor and around two-thirds of the city do not have access to toilets. Oxfam has been working to distribute tiger worm toilets that are easy to look after and produce fertiliser for crops. Patricia and her family received one of these toilets three years ago and were trained on how to use and maintain it. The toilet breaks down waste and makes a safe, eco-friendly fertiliser from it that Patricia can use on her crops. She can now grow vegetables that she can eat and sell, enabling her to save money for things like school fees for their three children.

“I’ve had this toilet for three years. Before I used a public toilet. It was not good for me because lots of people used it how they like. It was costly and it wasn’t clean. We now use the wastewater for fertilising the garden. I used to spend 450 Liberian dollars (£3.60) a week on vegetables. Now, I don’t spend any because I grow my own.”

Where to buy

A pile of poo is an easy way to make a huge difference with such a small gift, which has been life-changing for Patricia and her family. You can purchase a ‘Pile of Poo” for only £9.00 here

Gift number 4: Support a Refugee

Ihrlas' story - support a refugee - oxfam unwrapped - motherhooddiaries.com

(Image was taken by Oxfam)

The gift of Supporting a Refugee can help:

  • To make a life-changing difference to someone who had to leave everything behind.
  • To provide emergency essentials like clean water, hygiene kits, winter clothes, food and shelter

Irhlas’ story from Zaatari, Jordan

Zaatari is a refugee camp just outside the city of Mafraq. It is home to over 80,000 people who have been displaced by or forced to flee the ongoing conflict in Syria, and it is the third largest city in Jordan. Oxfam has been focusing its efforts on supplying water, sanitisation, refuse management and hygiene education in several of Zaatari’s 12 districts. The clean water supplies toilets and washing facilities which mean that people can stay clean and healthy. Irhlas has been living in the camp for 3 years since she left her hometown of Daraa, Syria. She is an Oxfam volunteer at the community centres in the camp where she works with children. Her big smile is a result of organising kite making activities with Oxfam volunteers and Syrian children, as part of the campaign #withSyria.

“It’s a truly great gesture from the rest of the world to stand with us, feel our pain and remember us. In all this noise, in all this chaos it has felt as though our lives are just made of dust. We dream of going home and living safely. What we have and are still going through has made us believe we have no future. Knowing others care for us gives us hope.”

Where to buy

The gift of Supporting a Refugee is life-changing for those who have suffered from the conflict in Syria and provides them with the opportunity to hope and believe there is a better life out there for themselves and for their future generation. You can buy the following from Oxfam Unwrapped to help support a refugee:

  • Support a refugee – £25.00
  • Winter kit – £20.00
  • Emergency kit – £15.00
  • Give girls a head start – £17.00
  • Safe water for 10 people – £10.00
  • Safe water for 500 people – £500.00

Other Oxfam Unwrapped perks

With each gift, you can add a personalised e-card, along with little extras to your gift, ranging from little chocolate goats to handmade earrings, for as little as £1.49.

So, let’s dig into our pockets a little deeper this Christmas and provide those in need with a truly priceless and invaluable gift that will change their lives. Even if you buy just one of the gifts above or from Oxfam Unwrapped”s gift catalogue here, you can rest assured that you have done your bit to support our global family and make Christmas truly a season for giving.

You can stay updated on Oxfam’s charitable campaigns here or visit their Facebook and Twitter page for more information.

Come and join the campaign on social media and share your best alternative gift online, using the hashtag #BrightChristmas.

*Collaborative featured post with Oxfam*

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Leyla Preston (599 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 7. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: https://www.facebook.com//groups/motherhooddiaries/


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