“Holding on tightly to our wealth diminishes us” — inspiring words from an Oxfam supporter

Fiona Ede is a passionate, long-term Oxfam supporter. We recently asked Fiona to share her dreams for the future and why she’s made the important decision to include a bequest in her Will to Oxfam. Her answers blew us away.

You have been an amazing supporter of Oxfam through the years – can you name the number one reason why you chose to support Oxfam?

Oxfam demonstrated (and continues to demonstrate) a deep respect for human dignity which translates into the willingness to work towards a world without poverty, injustice and environmental degradation.

Why do you still support Oxfam’s work?

I see Oxfam responding to global issues at two levels – the organisation responds to crises and natural disasters with resources to meet immediate needs, but more importantly Oxfam builds communities. I am particularly interested in community-based programs that deliver better nutrition, better education, better job opportunities, better health outcomes, more efficient agriculture, gender equality, resilient communities, positive environmental outcomes, [and] hope.

Having recently had the privilege to spend some months in development activities personally in southern Africa, I have come to appreciate some of the complexities of “development”, and the need for community-based solutions. I believe that it is critical to empower individuals and communities so each can develop their own appropriate processes and solutions to their problems. Giving people the opportunity to own the development process empowers them and in the process, provides a way to restore dignity and justice.

Working with communities, rather than for communities, makes a world of difference.

I also appreciate the advocacy work that Oxfam does here in Australia and around the world. By continuing to stand up for what is right and for human rights, Oxfam is a powerful voice for those without a voice. And I am happy to allow Oxfam to represent my views and concerns because they can do it so much more effectively and eloquently than I ever could.

How do you feel when you read about the work that Oxfam is doing?

Excited, proud, empowered, energised, relieved (that something is being done to improve people’s lives in a world where the problems can feel overwhelming).

What prompted you to consider including a gift to Oxfam in your Will? Why did you decide to include us?

I have no children (by choice). I recognise that by an accident of birth I am one of the lucky ones, born into a part of the world where we are wealthy beyond compare. I would like some of that wealth to be of ongoing benefit to those not born into privilege. I would like my good fortune to be used to give others the opportunity to reach their full potential.

I chose Oxfam because I trust the organisation, I share the same goals and values, I appreciate the non-religious, non-faith based approach.

What did you have to do to include Oxfam in your Will? Was it an easy process?

It was a very easy process; I can’t even remember what I needed to do. I think I just let my lawyer know and it was done. No worries!

How did it make you feel when you included Oxfam in your Will?

Making a difference in ways that improves people’s lives and the health of the planet is central to who I am. By including Oxfam in my Will, I felt centred. I felt at one with my core values, knowing that a proportion of the assets I had accumulated over a lifetime would be used for good. That is really important to me. I need to know that what I do aligns with who I am and what I believe in.

By securing a bequest to Oxfam, I acted in accordance with my values, and that brought harmony and peace.

Would you encourage others to do the same, and if so why?

Yes, I would. I believe most people in Australia are incredibly wealthy on a global scale and if we all gave a small portion of that wealth to effective community-building endeavours, we would not only improve the lives of millions, but would secure a safer, happier, healthier planet and happier lives ourselves. Giving benefits not only the recipient but also the giver. Holding on tightly to our wealth diminishes us.

What would you say to them?

Life is an adventure. Stuff happens, sometimes good, sometimes bad. If you have had a lot of good, share a little with someone who has had a lot of bad. And you can help them know the good.

What do you consider some of the key values that you hold dearest?

My core values revolve around respecting the dignity of every human being and respecting the planet on which we live.

What sort of change would you like to see happen in the world in the future?

The optimist in me dreams of a world free of poverty, war, violence, injustice, oppression, over-population, environmental degradation. The realist in me knows humans are not capable of fully achieving this, but I still strive towards it and am heartened that we are making some progress.

What sort of impact would you like to make on people’s lives through your gift?

I would like to empower people, particularly women, to reach their full potential. For this to happen they need good education, access to good health care, good nutrition, security (at both a personal and societal level) and freedom. Freedom from fear, from hunger, from oppression, from violence and from war. Freedom to make the decisions that work for them and their families. Freedom to be the people they want to be.

If you share Fiona’s vision for a more just world, consider including a bequest in your Will to Oxfam.