Colin Collett van Rooyen, Country Director of Oxfam Vanuatu remarks of the resilience of the people in Vanuatu as they face an extreme challenge in Cyclone Pam: "Their absolute resilience clear as crystal on what was otherwise a dark day. Muted smiles when any form of smile would be near impossible for most. Tears too, but hugs – tight embraces of personhood. Being there and being with each other for each other."
What do you call a plan with no agreement on how to finance it? In the US government, the nasty epithet for such a thing is an “unfunded mandate.” In other spheres, there are simpler descriptions: incomplete, incoherent, and irresponsible.
More Oxfam Humanitarian Emergency responders have flown to Vanuatu this morning as the unconfirmed death toll from Cyclone Pam begins to climb. Oxfam Country Director in Port Vila, Colin Collett van Rooyen, said the situation in Vanuatu was increasingly grim.
"Pam arrived announced by the drum roll of our shutters. Then she roared, she squealed, she hissed. She spat and cursed in deep bass tones, and at the same time she whistled and screeched in ways that messed with our senses."
Cyclone Pam, a massive category 5 cyclone has torn a path of destruction through the small Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu. In its wake it has left the community the huge task of rebuilding wrecked lives. Oxfam has a team based in the country and is ready to respond to support the people of Vanuatu.
A severe Category 5 cyclone is on it's way to Vanuatu. All six provinces and islands are on red alert — the highest alert and warning level in Vanuatu. Colin Collett van Rooyen, Oxfam's Country Director in Vanuatu says Oxfam is on standby but is worried for the small island nation.
Straight Talk is an Australian program that connects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with the political system and builds the capacity of women as change makers. One such woman is Heather Shearer, an Aranda woman from Labrapuntja near Ntaria (Hermannsburg), a member of the Stolen Generation and proud mum/grandmother.
Climate change affects us all, but it often impacts women the hardest. In many parts of the world it tends to be women who grow the family’s food, fetch fuel and water, and bring up the children. It's women who are most likely to be in harm’s way when disaster strikes. So when clean water becomes harder to find during a drought, or when crops are destroyed by floods, it’s often up to women like Ipaishe to find solutions.
Right across the globe, Australian aid is making a difference in women’s lives – to survive, to gain an education, to build a business, to lead. Right now, projects like Oxfam’s work in Zambia, which empowers women and builds their economic independence, are under threat because of the largest planned cuts to Australian aid in history. This International Women’s Day, call on the Australian Government to keep supporting those women by supporting Australian aid.
Year Ten students from Hornsby Girls High School spent last year campaigning against the exploitation of the Bangladeshi workers who produce our clothes. The students created an awareness and fundraising initiative to support Oxfam with the brilliantly clever name ‘Don’t Sweat it’.