“I have already gone to jail twice. I am not afraid to go again. I will continue to fight for my land till I get full ownership. This is the only asset I have. With this, I was able to earn a living and educate my two daughters,” Ms. Kham Sagleng told me when I met her in Bann Pae Tai Village of Lamphun Province in Thailand. Tears rolled down as she spoke.
I was intrigued by the sight of blue water bottles lined up in front of many houses and small shops as I traveled to Cheutiel Phlous Krom village, Kanchor commune, Chhlong district, Kraite Province in Cambodia. This little town is located on the banks of the majestic Mekong River. These bottles are kept to be refilled with clean drinking water from the water purification plant established in the village, a team member informed me. The plant is managed and operated by the village women who look after the business with some support from the Commune Council.
Today leading international experts on climate change, the IPCC, presented their latest report on the impacts of climate change on humanity, and what we can do about it. It’s a lengthy report, so we’ve shrunk it down to Oxfam’s five key takeaways on climate change and hunger.
“We stood on the highway and stopped vehicles to collect money for the establishment of our village health post. Men in the village ridiculed us when we sought their support for the health post building”. Narbada Oli explained to me. She is a women’s group member of Chhinchu village in Surkhet district of Nepal. Men in the village challenged us that if we were an empowered women’s group then why we couldn’t mobilise resources for the health post.
There was a heavy downpour in Tacloban when Oxfam just started its hygiene kit distribution. There were around 500 people who had had been identified and given prior tokens for distribution. Unlike in rural areas where often there are public place like school campuses etc to deliver aid, the relief operations are complex in areas like Tacloban city which are heavily populated.
The relief truck was parked on the side of a busy road. There were community volunteers who managed the traffic and made sure that there was enough space for distribution. I checked with one of my colleagues whether we needed to stop the distribution for a while. “Rain or sunshine we will continue the distribution. Once it’s started we will not stop. The communities will cooperate with us.” He quipped. In that heavy rain, people queued up patiently as the Oxfam staff / volunteers continued the distribution. In a matter of one hour, they finished the distribution. My colleague was right. I was amazed by the perseverance and understanding of both the communities and staff.
This was my second visit to Typhoon ravaged areas just before Christmas. My previous visit was to the northern part of Cebu province and Bantayan Island. As soon as I landed at the Tacloban airport, I could witness the extent of the devastation. With the tireless work of airport authorities and airline staff, commercial flights were operational. Roads had been cleared of debris and markets had revived. A major mall just reopened. Electricity and water supply had been restored. More »