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Oxfam and Moomin characters launch The Invisible Child campaign to empower women and girls

26th Sep 2017

The world's favourite fictional Finnish family, The Moomins, represented by Moomin Characters Ltd, and Oxfam have today announced a new partnership to help women and girls around the world fight inequality and escape poverty for good.

The partnership centres around The Invisible Child, a short story by Moomin creator Tove Jansson, which will be available to buy from Waterstones, the Moomin Shop Covent Garden and Oxfam shops, with at least £4 from each sale being donated to Oxfam's women's projects worldwide.

Published as a standalone title for the first time by independent publisher Sort Of Books, The Invisible Child is about a little girl who turns invisible after being badly treated by the woman supposedly caring for her. She is given a place to stay at the Moominhouse and, when shown warmth, kindness and respect by the Moomin family, she gradually reappears and regains her place in the world - a right that every woman and girl should have. The story, which was originally published in the collection Tales from Moominvalley, will also be available to buy from Waterstones.com and the Oxfam Online Shop.

A range of other Moomin products using artwork from The Invisible Child will also be sold to raise money for Oxfam, including a tote bag, tea towel and handkerchief. Macmillan Children's Books will donate £1 from sales of its Pocket Moomin Colouring Book and Finnish brands Fiskars and Finlayson will contribute a proportion of sales of their Moomin products too.

The fundraising is to support Oxfam's work fighting extreme poverty and suffering around the world. Since the majority of people living in poverty are women, the rights of women and girls are at the heart of the charity's work.  Long-held prejudices often mean that they are denied basic rights like education, a fair wage or decent working conditions. Women and girls are also often the worst affected when emergencies strike. But Oxfam knows that the skills, determination and ingenuity of women will win through, and by supporting them poverty can be overcome. 

Sophia Jansson, niece of Tove Jansson and creative director of Moomin Characters, said: "Tove was a strong and independent woman who lived life the way she wanted to - unlimited by ideas about how a woman should behave or what her role should be - which isn't too surprising considering where she grew up. Finland has always been a leader in women's rights, and was the first European country to give women the vote in 1906. However, not everyone is this fortunate, and I'm sure that Tove would be very glad that her stories are going to help women all across the world escape poverty and find their voices."

In September 2017, Sophia Jansson visited Rwanda with Oxfam to see first-hand the impact of the charity's work helping to lift women and girls out of poverty. Amongst other projects, Sophia visited pineapple co-operatives, where women have seen a vast increase in their income and are now able to send their children to school and pay for healthcare by growing and selling the fruit. 

Oxfam's Director of Women's Rights & Gender Justice, Nikki van der Gaag, said: "The values woven into Tove Jansson's wonderful stories - justice, compassion, kindness - perfectly echo what Oxfam represents and fights for every day.  From empowering business ventures like beekeeping and fruit-growing, to rebuilding lives and homes after disaster strikes, we support amazing women all around the world. We believe that every woman and every girl deserves the right to be visible and have their voice heard, so we're very proud to partner with Moomin Characters to launch this inspiring Moomins' tale."

Gemma Cairney, broadcaster and author supporting the campaign, said: "When crisis happens it is statistically women who suffer the most. No woman or girl should have to suffer in silence - we can't let that happen in 2017! In Sierra Leone with Oxfam, I met strong, inspiring women living in poverty through the Ebola crisis, who fought stigma from all sides to help others. But breaking down barriers isn't easy. I'm supporting this fab campaign to encourage more people to stand up and shout out to make sure women and girls are very much seen and heard."

James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones, which will sell The Invisible Child, said: "This is bookselling at its very best; putting before readers an inspiring story, in an exceptionally beautiful edition, all at a modest price for the benefit of Oxfam's important work. Chapeau! to Moomin Characters and everyone involved."

Ends

For more information on the Invisible Child campaign, please visit www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/moomins or follow #TheInvisibleChild on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Photos from Sophia Jansson's visit to Rwanda with Oxfam and further press images available here

For further information please contact Caitlin Allen at Riot Communications on 020 3174 0118 / caitlin@riotcommunications.com  or Meg Pruce at Oxfam GB on 07824 824359 / mpruce1@oxfam.org.uk

Notes to editors:

1. About Moomin Characters

Oy Moomin Characters Ltd is the owner, originator and official company responsible for supervising and managing the Moomins' brand, copyright and registrations. The company was started in 1958 by Tove Jansson and her brother Lars Jansson and is still run by family members. Sophia Jansson, Lars's daughter and Tove's niece, is Chairman of the Board and Creative Director at Moomin Characters. All characters from Moominvalley are registered trademarks.

2. Moomin in the UK

A series of major Moomin-themed events and exhibitions have taken place in the UK in 2017, including Southbank Centre's immersive Adventures in Moominland and Kew Gardens' Easter Festival. In autumn 2017, Dulwich Picture Gallery will present the first major UK exhibition of work by Tove Jansson - including not only Moomin drawings but also Jansson's surrealist-inspired paintings of the 1930s and abstract works of the '60s, her satirical anti-war cartoons and book jacket designs - and the Moomins will feature prominently at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

A diverse range of quality Moomin products are available in the UK, from new Collectors' Editions of the original Moomin stories (published by Sort of Books) and a guide to the Moomins, The World of Moominvalley (published by Macmillan Children's Books), to 100% cashmere sweaters and other accessories from fashion label Chinti and Parker.

A British team will be collaborating with Finnish production company Gutsy Animations on an innovative new Moomin animation for television, headed up by Oscar-winning director Steve Box (Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit). International Emmy- and BAFTA-winner John Woolley will produce, with Emmy-winning writing duo Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler on board to write the scripts.

3. Moomin around the world

In June 2017 the world's first Moomin Museum opened in Tampere, Finland, presenting 300 of Tove Jansson's drawings and paintings and 30 Moomin tableaux created by Tove's partner, the artist Tuulikki Pietilä. Later in the year, a 12-month Moomin exhibition will begin touring major cities in South Korea, and in spring 2019 a new Moomin theme park will open in Tokyo.

4. Oxfam GB

Oxfam is a global movement of people all working towards the same goal - an end to the injustice of poverty. Together we save and rebuild lives in disasters, help people earn a living, and speak out on the big issues, like inequality and climate change, that keep people poor. And we won't stop until we get there. Join us!  

For every £1 you give to Oxfam, 82p goes directly to emergency, development and campaigning work. 10p is spent on support costs and 8p is invested to generate future revenue. Last year 2015/16 Oxfam directly helped 11.6m people - and indirectly countless more family and community members - in 51 countries through humanitarian and development work.

The money raised from the Invisible Child campaign will go towards Oxfam's work fighting extreme poverty worldwide. The need is great - and women are often hit hardest. Evidence shows globally women own less and face more barriers learning to read and write. Women often have to take on insecure, low-paid jobs just to get by, on top of unpaid domestic work and caring duties. Outdated attitudes don't help - one in three women suffers sexual or physical violence, most of which takes place in the home. Yet at least 46 countries have no laws to protect women against domestic violence. 

Oxfam knows the potential for lasting change lies in the hands of millions of women currently living in poverty. That's why Oxfam puts women's rights at the heart of its work - from providing phones to female farmers in Cambodia so they can receive vital farming information, supporting midwives in Ghana so women don't die in childbirth, building schools in Pakistan so girls can read and write, to replacing open sewers with toilets to prevent disease in Kenya, and training women in construction in Nepal. Oxfam supports women so they can live happier lives and create a fairer, brighter future for themselves and their families. Find out more about Oxfam's work with women's rights here.

Oxfam has more than 650 shops nationwide, supported by a workforce of 22,000 volunteers. Oxfam's Online Shop launched in 2007 and is the UK's biggest charity shop with thousands of unique treasures all in one place, from the Oxfam Unwrapped range of charity gifts to more than 100,000 unique second-hand items.