Oxfam, an organization based out of Kenya, is fighting global poverty with books. How does that work, exactly? All over the world, second-hand Oxfam bookstores are popping up, sparking interest in the cause.
Oxfam: Alleviating Global Poverty
Oxfam provides support to people worldwide who suffer from disasters and poverty and works to build lasting solutions to these problems. Through “challenging the powerful,” Oxfam aims to hold those in power accountable for their actions in order to promote sustainable change. Oxfam challenges those in power by allowing disadvantaged groups’ voices to be heard, pressuring policy change and starting discussions with those in power to advocate for those in poverty. Throughout the organization’s 70 years of existence, Oxfam has changed lives on a global scale.
The number of global citizens living in poverty increased to 803 million people in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center. The organization believes that the global community can alleviate global poverty by confronting the injustices in the world. In doing this, Oxfam provides a voice for those who often go unheard in their daily lives.
While working in 90 countries, Oxfam alone has changed the lives of tens of millions of people worldwide. Oxfam used many different strategies, such as supporting NGOs on the ground aiding communities in need, donating funds and resources to humanitarian organizations and pursuing legal action for those in need. But, perhaps the most interesting is fighting global poverty with books.
The Oxfam Bookstore: Fighting Poverty With Books
A popular place for local bookstores to emerge is Great Britain. Walking through Oxford, near the pub C.S. Lewis frequented, is an Oxfam bookstore. The books within the bookstore come from donations to Oxfam and Oxfam disperses these books to the organization’s many locations. In selling these books to raise money, Oxfam is able to further fund its multi-faceted poverty-fighting agenda.
In these bookstores, it is easy to find books from all genres. A typical store features books from popular young adult fiction to antiquated books that are no longer in circulation. When a large bookseller hears about Oxfam and wants to contribute to the cause, it is quite common to find newly printed copies on Oxfam’s bookstore shelves as well.
In the event that there is no Oxfam bookstore location nearby, it is now possible to shop the bookstores’ selection online. To promote the organization’s values, it is essential for Oxfam to collect as many books as possible to boost sales. When looking online, it is easy to find the genres and the site even highlights a section to promote antiquarian, signed and valuable books.
To be more specific, volunteers run both Oxfam thrift stores and book shops around the world. The funds the bookstores raise are then dispersed to their various home bases. Through these bookstores’ contributions and by providing an accessible platform for people to donate and contribute to valuable causes, Oxfam furthers the global fight against poverty.
Fighting Poverty One Book at a Time
For book lovers who want to change the world, Oxfam bookstores are a great way to help out those in need while finding the newest story to delve into. From just a quick search, first edition novels such as “Ross Poldark,” “Will Grayson” and “The Screwtape Letters” can be found in these volunteer-led bookstores. Prices vary depending on the quality and rarity of these works, but it is clear that fighting global poverty with books is a great way to benefit both those in need and one’s own book cravings.
By fighting global poverty with books, Oxfam encourages widespread education that can be available to everyone, without having to explicitly say it. Contributing to the fight against global poverty can occur through the simple transaction of purchasing a book from a small shop.
– Natalie Belford