Seventy years ago today Oxfam, one of the most familiar names in the UK, was born in Oxford.
The Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, as it was then known, met for the first time in the Old Library above the University Church on Oxford High Street to discuss how they could get food to desperate civilians in occupied countries during the second world war. It was a controversial cause - the most pressing need was in Greece which was occupied by the Nazis and suffering starvation as a result of the Churchill government's policy of total blockade.
Since that small meeting of humanitarians, Oxfam has grown into the global force it is today, using seventy years of experience and expertise to fight poverty in 92 countries and to provide emergency relief in major disasters around the world. Over its seven decades Oxfam has become the leading agency for providing clean safe water in emergencies, in 2011/2012 supplying 5.7 million people with clean safe water during and after emergencies
The idealism of the early years has remained as strong as ever, Oxfam is currently fighting for food justice on a global scale - to create a world where everyone has enough to eat. Oxfam estimates that the world wastes 30-50% of all food grown. There is enough for everyone yet nearly a billion people still go to bed hungry.
Barbara Stocking, Oxfam's Chief Executive said:
In many ways 70 years of Oxfam is not really a cause for celebration. Our increasingly global world has not only brought us all closer but also highlighted the terrible inequalities. We will only really be able to celebrate when there is no more need for Oxfam, when everyone in the world has enough to eat and extreme poverty and suffering are consigned to history. Oxfam will be marking its 70th birthday with Eight Stories High, an evening of storytelling and performance at the Oxford Playhouse on Sunday October 14th.
For more information contact Georgia Veats on firstname.lastname@example.org 01865 472 375 // 07717 424 463
Notes to editors:
Eight Stories High
An evening of storytelling, performance, big ideas and surprises with special guests, Kristin Davis, Michael Eavis, Ian Hislop, Victoria Hislop, John Simpson, Raymond Blanc, Richard Reed, Bonnie Wright and Tabu Flo. Even more will be revealed on the night along with video contributions from Coldplay, Colin Firth, Livia Firth and Angelique Kidjo. Be moved by tales of courage, passion, innovation and perspiration. And get a unique insight into what the leading lights in entertainment, business and the arts feel about the world today.
A history of Oxfam in pictures
Oxfam has worked with major public figures to help raise funds, from the Beatles in 1963 to Coldplay now. Other ambassadors include Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Helen Mirren
Current campaigns are:
GROW - campaigning for food justice where everyone has enough to eat
Control Arms - campaigning for an arms trade treaty