Oxfam raises on-campus awareness of international injustice

<p>The Rutgers' Oxfam America and Oxfam International aims to help spread awareness about hunger, poverty and injustices that occur all over the world.</p>

The Rutgers' Oxfam America and Oxfam International aims to help spread awareness about hunger, poverty and injustices that occur all over the world.

The Rutgers chapter of Oxfam America and Oxfam International is dedicated to helping spread awareness about hunger, poverty and injustices that occur all over the world through fundraising and volunteer activities, according to the club’s website.

According to the Oxfam International official website, an end to poverty is in sight as the proportion of people who are living in extreme poverty has been halved in just 15 years.

Oxfam Rutgers Co-President Ranya Elmaghariki said that the club’s main focus is to assist Oxfam’s national and international mission to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice.

“We would like to raise an overall awareness on campus about the various problems currently occurring around the world, ranging from the Syrian refugee crisis to the chronic hunger problem affecting the people in South Sudan and Yemen,” Elmagheriki said. “We also would like to raise awareness about problems occurring in the United States, such as the Flint Water Crisis.”

In addition to raising awareness to the major issues that occur all around the world, the club also aims to help the local New Brunswick community through fundraising, bagging for the homeless, blood and clothing drives and volunteering, Elmagheriki said.

Oxfam Rutgers also aims to educate the student body about other relevant issues through its sub-organizations.

“Oxfam Rutgers will also spread awareness about Oxfam’s sub-organizations, such as Make Trade Fair, Control Arms and No Dirty Gold. Oxfam Rutgers will educate the student body about the issues of fair trade, illegal weapons distribution and harmful mining practices, and encourage students to address these problems through activism, advocacy and awareness,” said Elmagheriki.

Oxfam hopes to expand their presence on campus and reach more students, but the main issue the club faces is that not many students are aware of what Oxfam does, or are aware of the problems going on all around the world.

Elmagheriki says this is due to the fact that the Oxfam name is not as recognizable as other aid organizations in the United States, such as UNICEF. As a result, few students know what Oxfam is for and what the club stands for.

“We plan to change this by raising awareness among our student body through tabling, events and meetings. We provide students with the issue, solutions that Oxfam America is working on and ways to help.”

They also plan on targeting their advertising to students through social media in order to achieve the goal of improving Oxfam’s reach on campus.

“Social media is extremely powerful in this day and age,” Elmagheriki said.

“Hopefully, by using videos and photos, we can expose our audience to the issues that they are far removed from in this part of the world, such as natural disasters, famine and war. Furthermore, by increasing our tabling and presence around campus, we hope to inspire conversation about these issues and how we can help,” she said.

In the future, the Oxfam community is planning to expand their volunteer opportunities and offer new ways for their members to get as involved in the local community as possible.

“We currently offer volunteer opportunities at the Ronald McDonald House, but we also hope to offer volunteering at Elijah’s Promise soup kitchen and the local children’s hospital. We also are looking forward to having a large-scale meal-packing event on April 24 where we will be making sandwiches for the local homeless,” Elmaghariki said.

In addition to volunteer opportunities, Oxfam Rutgers will also be hosting a blood drive on April 18 on the College Avenue campus, where students can come and help out or donate.

Next semester, Elmaghariki said the club will potentially host an event raising awareness for a pressing international issue, as well as continue to table around campus and get students to sign petitions. 

By spreading awareness about the organization’s mission through providing students with more information about Oxfam’s international campaigns, Oxfam Rutgers hopes to achieve its goal in helping people in need all around the world.

Victoria Nazarov is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in journalism and media studies. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

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