Oxfam Marks 60 years of working in India

Posted by Jonaid Jilani Press Officer

24th Sep 2012

Oxfam India's CEO Nisha Agrawal
Oxfam India's CEO Nisha Agrawal is here in the UK this week to mark 60 years of Oxfam working in India, responding to emergencies and helping to pull millions of people out of poverty. 
 
Oxfam first started working in India in response to the famine in Bihar in 1951. Today Oxfam works to help people find ways of making a living and ensuring that they have access to education and health services. Oxfam also supports communities to help them cope with the impact of natural disasters. In July, the organisation, for example, responded to the worst floods to hit Assam in the last 10 years and is now also responding to the humanitarian needs of those affected by ethnic tensions in the same area. 
 
"There have been many success stories over the last 60 years, such as the small co-operative milk dairy Amul which after being supported by Oxfam has now gone on to become the largest milk brand in India and one of the largest food products in the world. There is still, however a great deal more that needs to be done and we are committed to helping alleviate poverty and promoting social justice", said Oxfam India's CEO, Nisha Agrawal. 
 
Nisha Agrawal, is in the UK this week to celebrate the success stories and raise awareness of the ongoing need to help an estimated 456 million people in India still living in poverty. She will also be meeting with the Indian High Commission, the Nehru Centre and Asia House. 
 
Oxfam's history in India shows some moving accounts of well known figures seeing firsthand the extent of poverty. In 1967 Sir David Frost visited three areas in India to see Oxfam's work. He visited New Delhi, Calcutta and the famine areas of Bihar. 
 
Sir David Frost at the time, said: "Oxfam asked me to look at some of the work they are doing and I must admit that, without the visit, I would never have been able to imagine the size and depth of the desperate human need, nor the magnificent way that Oxfam - thanks to the public's support - is trying to tackle it." 
 
A third of the world's poor are Indian and there are more poor people in eight Indian states than in the 26 poorest countries in Africa. More than 42 percent of India's 1.1 bn population lives on less than 77p per day. 

Nisha Agrawal said:  "The work of organisations like Oxfam are vital to assist people in need. Aid to India has helped countless people, such as getting millions of children into school over the past decade. Although the country has seen dramatic change and development, there are still many challenges and aid is still vital in making a difference to people's lives. However, as India has grown and become a middle income country, aid has become less significant as a financier of development in India, and also as a funder for civil society today.  Civil society today is facing a huge funding crunch. It is vital for the continuation of the important contribution that civil society makes to creating a more inclusive development path in India, that Indian philanthropists (individuals, trusts and foundations) step into the void that has been created by the drop off in aid and start funding civil society more actively. For Oxfam India to be fully able to implement our strategy in the seven poorest states of India, we need to be roughly double the size that we are today, which is what we are aiming for in the next 3-5 years"  
 
Oxfam's Human Resources Director in Oxford, Jane Cotton said : " It is very inspiring to see Oxfam reaching its 60th year of working in India.  Oxfam in India is an independent Indian organisation whose staff members are from the region and are leading on programmes and working with local partners who understand the context of the country. They are inspiring colleagues, who over the years have taught us a great deal. " 
 
ENDS 
 
Notes to Editors
  
For more information please contact
 
Jonaid Jilani on T: +44 (0)18 65 472193 or M: +44 (0)7810 181514 or jjilani@oxfam.org.uk
 
Photographs can be found at this link
 
http://wordsandpictures.oxfam.org.uk/?c=12110&k=92337d6d89
 
The worst floods to hit Assam in the last 10 years and Oxfam is now also responding to the humanitarian needs of those affected by ethnic tensions in the same area.
 
To help the People in Assam who have been affected by flooding and ethnic tensions and urgently need clean water, shelter and hygiene. Please go to
 
www.oxfam.org.uk/assamfloods
 
£58 -Shelter support for 5 families
 
£35 -Hygiene and Sanitation for 3 families
 
£28 -Drinking water for 5 families


Oxfam India is reaching out to the affected population to:
 
Provide clean, safe drinking water by building or repairing water sources
Rehabilitate water and sanitation facilities in the camps
Help people in the camps to have appropriate emergency shelter especially women and children
Provide safe sanitation and hygiene conditions in the camps especially for women and children
 
ACT NOW, DONATE
 
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON Oxfam India's work go to www.oxfamindia.org 

Blog post written by Jonaid Jilani

Press Officer

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