En 1942, l’organisation non gouvernementale Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, Oxfam, a été créée à Oxford, en Angleterre. Initialement, son objectif était de lutter contre la famine provoquée par l’occupation nazie en Grèce. Mais leurs actions se sont ensuite élargies aux domaines politiques, économiques et humanitaires, contre la pauvreté et les inégalités dans le monde. Plusieurs ONG Oxfam ont été créées dans différents pays avant de se réunir en 1995 sous le nom d’Oxfam international.
Oxfam’s first action was undertaken by a group of students and citizens from Oxford who chartered a boat to bring food to the Greek despite the blockade. Today Oxfam doesn’t always succeed in every action either because the situation is too dangerous, as in Afghanistan where they suspended their actions in the province of Badakhshan after the death of three members in a roadside bomb attack, or else, because the situation is too complex, as in Syria, where a common political agreement is hard to achieve. But most of the time, they do succeed, and it is now one of the most powerful NGOs in the world, which even the Queen chose to pay homage to when she awarded Oxfam ambassador Annie Lenox, a famous Scottish singer, an honor. Most of their actions are meaningful and can make a difference. For instance, they created a water project in Zimbabwe, where hard-working farmers can now rely on an effective irrigation system, which makes crops significantly more reliable.
At the same time, Oxfam now deals with problems in the northern countries like England. An Oxfam report shows that inequalities have increased in the UK in the last few years. The income of the five richest families grew four times faster than that of the rest of the population. Oxfam launched a campaign to denounce growing inequalities. It aims to denounce social discrepancies: the Royal family, for example, has a lot of land and properties (in Scotland, in England, in Spain) while many Britons are struggling to make ends meet. Oxfam has thus expanded its missions: it now works to eradicate poverty and fight against injustice all over the world, in poor as well as in rich countries.
On Saturday May 17th, Oxfam’s annual Trailwalker endurance challenge took place. In France, it was the 5th Trailwalker edition. 251 teams of 4 runners enrolled for a long race that started in Avallon (departure at 7 am). They had to cross 100 kilometres together in less than 30 hours and collect at least 1,500 euros per team. They ran for solidarity and it’s enabled to collect, for now, 409, 116 euros. Oxfam organised Trailwalker challenges in 11 different countries. In 2012, more than 22, 000 people ran together a distance of 2.2 million kilometres and collected more than 18 million dollars.
Manon BOUYAKOUB & Anaïs VARAGO