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Development Programmes13 DEC 2013

Unwrap the gift that keeps on giving

Image of Joyce Man

Joyce Man

Joyce is former Communications Officer at Oxfam.

By Joyce Man

It’s that time of year again. As Christmas approaches, many of us will join the mad rush to find the perfect gifts for our family and friends. Have you gotten all your loved ones on your shopping list sorted yet?

Help a farmer in a flood-prone area of Bangladesh build a stronger livelihood by sending 10 fuzzy ducks.

With 25 December coming fast, it might be tempting to run blindly into the mall to get the same old stocking stuffers: electronics, jewellery, books — anything that will do the trick. But what about choosing something that makes a difference?

Oxfam Unwrapped might just have the answer. When you purchase an Unwrapped item, not only are you presenting someone you love with a gift, you are also helping poor people help themselves.

There are all sorts of items you can buy, and the best part is, no matter which one you choose, you’ll be contributing to the fight against poverty. You can, for example, give a farmer living in a flood-prone area of Bangladesh 10 ducks to jump-start their livelihood. You can also send children in North Korea a nutritious meal. There are also emergency kits: With them, disaster survivors can get vital supplies like quilts, mosquito nets and waterproof fabrics for building shelters.

A pair of goats can make a big difference to a family living in poverty.

Here’s how it works: You choose an item, and Oxfam will use the donation that you make to deliver exactly what you bought through a specific programme that it supports. Your friend will then receive a card by email or post with a description of the gift.

This year, thanks to a collaboration with the creators of B.Duck, recipients of Unwrapped gifts will get greeting cards bearing designs with the lovable yellow character.

There’s something for everyone. Does your boyfriend have a soft side? How about giving a poor family a pair of goats on his behalf? Is your girlfriend the practical type? Maybe you can help rural students improve their hygiene conditions with a solar bathroom. Not sure what to buy for your children this year? With the kids set — which includes a nutritious meal, a desk and chair, a solar bathroom and reconstruction work on a school — you’ll be set.

Plus, with Unwrapped, you can do your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your own home, without fighting the crowds.

Oxfam Unwrapped: It’s the gift that keeps on giving. To find out more, head to the online store.

Joyce Man is a communications officer at Oxfam.