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Friday, November 08, 2013 | Posted by Oxfam Action Corps NYC | | Edit Post
I had a great time cheering for runners from the Oxfam team at the NYC Marathon. This was Oxfam’s first year participating as a charity team. (They were supposed to have a team in 2012, but the marathon was canceled after Hurricane Sandy.) For me, anyone who undertakes a marathon must be a hopeful person who believes that hard work and struggle will pay off in the long run despite difficulties along the way. That is a great metaphor for those of us working for social change, and reminds me of one of my favorite quotes “Hope is believing in spite of the evidence and then watching the evidence change” (Jim Wallis).
If you follow the activities of the Oxfam Action Corps NYC, you will know that we have had quite a busy summer and fall. We weren’t sure whether we would be able to set up a cheering station at the marathon or not. But given that the New York City Marathon is like a fun, citywide block party, often with a social purpose (several people running for charities and others with messages such as “Boston Strong”) and that a handful of Oxfam staff members and supporters were part of the Oxfam team (including Clara Herrero, an Oxfam America staff member from Boston who provides incredible support to the Oxfam Action Corps program; Leah Sedler, a former Action Corps co-leader from Minnesota; Louis Belanger, an Oxfam International press staff member based in New York) who collectively raised almost $40K for Oxfam, how could we let them run by without a great New York City and Oxfam Action Corps NYC welcome and cheer?
Our cheering station was very spirited. We were joined by Oxfam staff members Jessica Glidden and Zoya Craig. Jessica coordinated the Oxfam Marathon team, and brought materials to use to cheer with. She also brought sport gels to pass out to the runners. Zoya had very funny signs, including one that said “Chuck Norris never ran a marathon.” Several runners stopped to take photos with her signs.
Cheering was also a great reminder of how important it is for us to support, care for, and be gentle with each other as we work for social change. Running a marathon, like working for social change, is hard work and requires endurance. I completed a walking marathon (yes, 26.2 miles) in London, and a walk around the perimeter of Manhattan (32 miles), and for me, the last few miles were always the hardest. Cheering at mile 22, we saw quite a few runners and walkers who seemed a bit injured and maybe not sure if they would make it for the last 4 miles. Those were the people we cheered for the hardest. A touching moment in the marathon for me was when one of the runners, Clara Herrero, from the Oxfam team was not feeling well on arriving at mile 22, and one of our Action Corps members, Isaac Evans-Frantz, decided to run along and support her through mile 23. It was a beautiful metaphor for me of how much it can mean to support each other along the way. Those of us working for social change can get discouraged, and it is important to look out for each other, cheer, and run alongside someone when they need it. Isaac is the Action Corps’ Alliances Coordinator, and he is also very supportive of our allies. Watching people support each other in the marathon reminds me of the proverb “Alone we can go fast, but together we can go far.”
Finally, the marathon is a good reminder that we need to celebrate our victories along the way. It is important to celebrate when you cross a finish line. We want to celebrate runners’ successes, such as completing the marathon. As organizers and advocates, we need to take time to celebrate victories with lobby visits and campaigns such as "Behind the Brands." Speaking of marathons and celebrations, while we continue to campaign for Pepsi and Associated British Foods to do their part to stop land grabs from happening when they purchase sugar, we have a major victory to celebrate that Coca-Cola has declared zero tolerance for land grabs in their supply chain! Whether your glass has water, cola, or champagne, we can all raise a glass to that news.
by Elizabeth Norman
Monday, November 04, 2013 | Posted by Oxfam Action Corps NYC | | Edit Post
“There are two and a half billion peasants in the world, and most of them are farmers. Where are they going to go?”
The question above, asked by Eric Holt-Giménez, Executive Director of FoodFirst/Institute for Food and Development Policy, illustrates the dire conflict that land grabs create. Oxfam America’s Behind the Brands campaign, part of the overarching GROW campaign, hopes to call attention to and eventually end land grabs, the practice of purchasing large plots of land in developing nations mainly for food or biofuel production — often without the consent of those living on the land and often done so with force.
On October 24, Oxfam America, Normal Life Pictures, and Fordham University presented a screening of the documentary “Land Rush,” co-directed by Hugo Berkeley and Osvalde Lewat and produced by Eli Cane, followed by a panel discussion afterwards. The film focuses on land grabs’ effects on small farmers in various western African nations, including Mali. The film heavily features sugar company Sosumar and displays both the overwhelming presence and role that foreign companies have in these vulnerable areas. The documentary screened to an almost packed room of around 65 attendees.
I found the documentary to be both riveting and challenging. Many interviewees shared startling statistics such as, “Ten percent of African land is owned by European settlements. Who owns the rest?” This highlighted the main issue behind these large land acquisitions: in many events, the land is officially publically owned by the government. While there are multitudes of small farmers and peasants living on the land, they do not technically own the rights to the land they use. In that case, is the practice of grabbing land okay since it is being done legally? If the land is taken legally, does that still make it acceptable or ethical? By including this information about land rights and ownership issues, the documentary demonstrates how complex and frustrating these situations are.
One fact shown complicates the issue even further. In the film, it is revealed that the Malian government adopted a food sovereignty policy in 2006 meant to give rights to small, land-owning farmers. However, it is in Mali, as shown in the documentary, where Sosumar is in the process of opening a sugar plant. Despite this food sovereignty policy, the local farming peasant community definitely were not happy to have the plant open up. Several Malian female farmers from a nearby village not affiliated with Sosumar gave testimonies of what other foreign companies did to their land. One elderly woman spoke of being tear gassed, being hit with electric batons and being left to die, and, most heinously, having the family cemetery dug up for development. This was followed up with footage of villagers watching as construction crews destroyed dwellings, homes, above-ground tombs, and gravesites. With that, it is hard to sympathize for the these foreign companies that have acquired the “legal rights” to the land.
Following the film screening, Irit Tamir, Senior Campaigns and Advocacy Advisor for Oxfam America, moderated a panel discussion with Eli Cane, Producer of "Land Rush,” Professor Steven Stoll, environmental historian and a professor of history at Fordham University, and the aforementioned Holt-Giménez. Tamir gave a general overview of Behind the Brands beforehand and invited audience members to have their picture taken holding a sign that said “#stoplandgrabs.” She brought up an interesting but not shocking point that the treatment of women farmers scored second lowest overall across the board for all of the targeted Behind the Brands companies. However, one bright side was six of the ten companies signed the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, also known as the International Bill of Rights for Women. Only two of the companies originally signed it before.
Steven Stoll began the panel discussion with a historical overview of the connection between poverty and agriculture and their deep roots to capitalism. He explained that public land is taken into private property, which is an essential in capitalism. Historically, the assumption was that people didn’t own their own land or grow their own food. “If you do, there really is no use for wages,” Stoll said. Yet, in the 1700s, the term “pauper” was first used to describe people that were not just poor but structurally poor. According to Stoll, this did not exist before capitalism.
Holt-Giménez made a fascinating point during the discussion. While he commended the audience members for their concern of the well-being of small, peasant farmers, he also told us to be wary of “fair trade” labels, claiming that it doesn’t necessarily solve the whole issue. He shared an example of small farmers who “fairly traded” exclusively to Starbucks, which was profitable until the 2006 economic crash, when Starbucks closed 600 locations. That hit the small peasant farmers extremely hard since they were contractually obligated to grow only for Starbucks, not allowing them to grow for others. “Being a small peasant farmer is not utopian,” Holt-Giménez warned.
I especially appreciated Cane’s insight and reasoning behind producing “Land Rush.” He said his team specifically did not choose a land grab project that was done so with force or without compensation. “It is much trickier to understand morally,” Cane said. To really understand the gravity of the situation, it is much more compelling to show both sides fairly rather than having a David vs. Goliath scenario, where one side is clearly the powerful aggressor and the other is the underdog. The ambiguity allows the viewer to accurately choose who is right or wrong.
One quote resonated throughout the film and later during the panelists' discussion. At one point in “Land Rush,” a small farmer says, “If they give us lots of money for our land, our land is worth more than their money.” This rings cosmically true in both the literal and figurative sense of worth. It reminds us all that the value of human life is intrinsic and eternally more important than any monetary gain could ever be.
By: Andrea Vocos
Photography credit: Nikko Viquiera
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 | Posted by Oxfam Action Corps NYC | | Edit Post
By Elizabeth Norman
Going to the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa, with Oxfam last week was a game-changing and truly inspiring experience. I left feeling re-energized and re-focused about why Oxfam's work of righting the wrong of poverty and injustice is so important and how I want to use the power that I have, and encourage others to use their power, to take action for change. Many of the presentations that we heard from Oxfam-related events focused on the core message that there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, yet due to injustices in the food system, around 1 in 8 people are hungry. Oxfam organized several sessions, including a panel in Ames, Iowa, with Frances Moore Lappé that served as an alternative for those not interested in attending the official Prize ceremony. My main highlights and take-aways from the week were:
Putting women and small-scale farmers in the picture
While the sessions I heard at the World Food Prize seemed generally well-intentioned, women and small-scale farmers were often not at the table or addressed in presentations and questions. Oxfam played an important role of keeping women and small-scale farmers in the picture by bringing Harriet Nakabaale and her son Jjumba Frank Luyinda, urban farmers who are farming on 50 feet by 32 feet in Kampala, Uganda, and Kijoolu Kaliya, a Maasai woman who mobilized women to preserve land rights in the Ngorongoro District in Tanzania, to speak and present. Both Harriet Nakabaale and Kijoolu Kaliya spoke at several events throughout the week (including Kijoolu Kaliya speaking on same main stage that would later have Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland, and philanthropist Howard Buffett speaking) so that many people had the opportunity to hear their voices and stories. ((Read more about Harriet Nakabaale in her own words and watch an inspiring short video about Camp Green. Watch Kijoolu Kaliya's amazing presentation at the World Food Prize here (the panel starts with an excellent overview by Sir Gordon Conway around 3:20:00, then a great presentation on land rights by Tim Hanstad from Landesa and then Kijoolu Kaliya's presentation starts around 3:30:00).
|Mwanahamisi Salimu of Oxfam in Tanzania, Harriet Nakabaale & Kijoolu Kaliya ask Pepsi to stop land grabs. Join this call at www.behindthebrands.org/actnow .|
In addition, Oxfam America staff and Action Corps members were present to bring the focus of the conversations back to women and small-scale farmers.
Courage and Risk-Taking
I was so inspired by the courage of some of the women that I met on this trip, especially Harriet Nakabaale and Kijoolu Kaliya. Hearing Kijoolu Kaliya speak about the risks that she and others experienced while mobilizing to save their land from a private, foreign investor (e.g. homes were burned down and people were shot at) was very moving and inspiring. We were able to meet and hear a presentation from Frances Moore Lappé in Ames, Iowa. After Harriet Nakabaale and Kijoolu Kaliya spoke, Lappé closed by saying that human beings are good enough in general, but we need to work on our courage and that we need to think about how we can step up more and how we can take risks to challenge power.
A personal highlight for me in risk-taking was when I asked a question in front of about 200 people at a side event called "Developing Strong Public-Private Sector Partnerships in Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition in Africa." Brian Rawson from Oxfam America had encouraged us to feel empowered to ask questions in sessions. When I heard a government official from a country in eastern Africa speaking at this event, he talked how about sugarcane is a good crop for commercialization, that his country is a good area for foreign investment and that we could buy a thousand hectares (about 2500 acres) to own and plant. Because Oxfam is working to end land grabs related to sugar purchases by the world's largest food and beverage companies, this presentation (which also talked about weather insurance and other ideas that
Dialogue and Connections
I really appreciated the opportunity at the World Food Prize to have dialogue with and form connections with people from different walks of life. From meeting and talking with farmers and biology professors at Marshalltown Community College to meeting a Kenyan woman working on mobile soil testing at Columbia University to talking to a consultant from one of the Big Four accounting firms about financing for small-scale farmers, at every turn there were opportunities for open and interesting conversations with people I would not normally meet in New York. I appreciated the open spirit and willingness to discuss issues such as GMOs and why India and many African countries ban them and why it is difficult for small-scale farmers to access capital that they need. I really appreciated the opportunity to speak informally with Oxfam America's President Ray Offenheiser. I also really appreciated the opportunity to speak to Jim French from Oxfam America, who coordinated Oxfam's presence at the World Food Prize, about farming and the connections between urban and rural farmers in this country and around the world.
Finally, I really appreciated and was inspired by deepening connections with staff from Oxfam America and Oxfam in Tanzania as well as getting to know other Oxfam Action Corps members from around the country better. You all inspire me.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | Posted by Oxfam Action Corps NYC | | Edit Post
Devoted Oxfam supporters and staff members supplemented PepsiCo’s iconic neon sign in Gantry Plaza State Park, Long Island City with a banner in order to raise awareness and relay a message to PepsiCo and its consumers. Oxfam’s striking yellow and black banner stating: ‘Caution: Ingredients may cause Land Grabs’ protested the sugar being used in PepsiCo products. It has been recently revealed that this very sugar is being farmed on land that has been wrongfully acquired.
On World Food Day (Oct 16th) members of the NYC Oxfam Action Corps released a critical message to PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage producer in the world on the basis of net revenue. Although PepsiCo have made many positive strides in recent years in relation to child labor, combatting energy usage and attempts towards carbon footprint regulation, land grabs are currently the subject of public outcry. The uproar has stemmed from knowledge that land grabs have been caused by acquisition of land for sugar production along PepsiCo’s supply chain.
Land acquisitions or land grabs consist of the practice of acquiring land without free, prior and informed consent and often from smallholder farmers and their families, the vast majority of whom are wholly reliant on the land for their livelihoods. Lucrative deals tempt local officials and investors to engage in large scale land deals without making efforts in safeguarding the rights of locals living off the land. The acquisition has been known to take place without regard to the livelihoods, food security or continued sustainability for current inhabitants, forcibly, excluding just compensation and thus in complete violation of human rights.
Along with PepsiCo (manufacturer of Lay’s, Doritos and Tropicana), amongst the culprits are Coca-Cola (brands include Minute Maid, Fanta & Dasani water) and Associated British Foods plc (ABF), makers of Mazola oil and Twinings tea as well as other brands. It should be noted that ABF is also known to be a majority stakeholder in Illovo Sugar, Africa’s largest sugar company. More than half of ABF’s sugar is derived from sugar cane, most of which is produced by Illovo Sugar in six African countries: Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia. Furthermore, Illovo Sugar has been linked to land conflicts in media reports. Illovo Sugar is profiled in the film, “Land Rush” which will be screened by the NYC Oxfam Action Corps on . For more details and to RSVP, please go to the following link http://oxfamactioncorpsnyc.
Although corporations like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and ABF do not buy or own the land, they are reaping benefits from land deals through their widespread use of commodities (such as sugar) that has been grown on wrongly acquired land. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are the largest buyers of sugar and ABF holds the title for being one of the world’s biggest producers of sugar. These large corporations have an option to step up to the plate and become pioneers in providing transparency by knowing and declaring the full extent of their supply chains, having zero tolerance for land grabs, thus leading the way for positive industry standards to ensure that smallholder farmers do not lose their land. An Oxfam America fact sheet providing more details can be found here: http://www.oxfamamerica.org/
The enthusiasm of volunteers in attendance was remarkable due to the fact that the event took place early morning on a cloudy at the edge of Long Island City. The Long Island City location however also proved to be particularly inviting, as an impeccably pristine and well kept park on the edge of the East River. Gantry Plaza State Park is complemented with the stunning Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, thus setting the scene perfectly for a visually appealing stunt.
Oxfam’s social media footprint was large. Messages protesting land grabs resonated on the internet; echoed and amplified with the help of Oxfam staff and volunteers who simultaneously performed a similar stunt outside Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. It was not long before the hashtag #BehindtheBrands was trending on twitter and photos began to resurface as a result of retweets.
One of the most memorable moments of the day included a few uplifting words spoken by Judy Beal, Oxfam America’s campaigns director, fortunate enough on this occasion to be able to attend the event instead of viewing the unfolding from a computer screen. Judy spoke of the overwhelming positive response the ‘Behind the Brands’ campaign has generated in a relatively short period of time. It was stressed that signs of commitments toward significant progress have been taking place because brands have a lot to lose if their image is tarnished. Companies rely on the stellar reputations of their labels to be able to sell products easily.
Going behind the scenes and ‘Behind the Brands’ to show that household names are not living up to expectations is one of Oxfam’s most powerful tools. Oxfam’s scorecard reports and subsequent activism have been instrumental in drawing attention to the lack of transparency and accountability in the supply chains for many household brands. Help Oxfam achieve success with these corporations by signing the petition here: http://www.behindthebrands.
By: Shireen Alam
Photo credit: Vasia Markides
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 | Posted by Oxfam Action Corps NYC | | Edit Post
by Elizabeth Norman, Oxfam Action Corps NYC co-leader
It’s 6:30 AM at La Guardia Airport; still dark outside. I am excited to be on the way to Des Moines to join other Oxfam volunteers and staff at the World Food Prize’s 2013 Borlaug Dialogue. Brittany Wilson and I are traveling from Brooklyn to Des Moines to represent the Oxfam Action Corps NYC as we join volunteers and staff from San Francisco, Boston, and of course, Iowa.
Oxfam’s presence at the World Food Prize will involve tabling and outreach, hosting three farmers visiting from Tanzania and Uganda, hosting a Grow Method luncheon, attending official events (highlights this year will include Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Great Britain; Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland; and Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace), as well as attending interesting side events. (Too many to choose from!)
|Camp Green in Kampala, Uganda|
I am excited about hearing Frances Moore Lappé and Oxfam America President Ray Offenheiser speak, meeting and hearing from farmers from Tanzania (Kijoolu Kaliya who has worked for land rights for Maasai women and men in Ngorongoro District) and Uganda (Harriet Nakabaale and Jjumba Frank Luyinda, urban farmers from Camp Green in Kampala) at Oxfam-sponsored events, tasting SRI rice at Oxfam's luncheon and visiting a farm connected with Marshalltown Community College on Friday.
Please stay tuned to this blog and watch for live updates on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/OxfamActionCorpsNYC) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/OxfamActionNYC).
Monday, October 14, 2013 | Posted by Oxfam Action Corps NYC | | Edit Post
Fordham University Lincoln Center
155 West 60th Street between Columbus & Amsterdam Avenues, McMahon Hall Room 109
Presented by Oxfam, Normal Life Pictures, and Fordham University
No matter where we live, we all rely on land and farmers to put food on the table. Join us for a screening of the film Land Rush, a documentary co-directed by Hugo Berkeley and Osvalde Lewat and produced by Eli Cane. The film, part of the Peabody award-winning Why Poverty? series has been screened around the world, including on PBS, BBC4, NHK, and others. Following the film there will be a dynamic panel discussion. Description of film & full list of panelists below.
The event is free but advanced registration is required.
"Fantastically comprehensive without ever losing sight of the human beings at the epicenter. Wonderful."
The story: The 2008 economic crash had global ramifications which led to food shortages across the world. As a consequence, many investors began viewing agricultural land across the developing world as an increasingly valuable commodity. Between 2000 and 2010, land deals under consideration or negotiation worldwide amounted to a total of 2 million square kilometers. Many investors set their sights on countries such as Mali, where they saw significant land not producing to its highest potential. In Mali, nearly seventy-five per cent of the population relies on farming, so foreign investment is set to have a huge impact on the population.Land Rush offers complicated and nuanced look at the interplay between corporations seeking to invest and local communities. The film focuses on attempts develop a massive sugar plantation on the land where hundreds of thousands of people live and farm.
Eli Cane, Producer of "Land Rush"
Professor Steven Stoll, environmental historian and a professor of history at Fordham University
Eric Holt-Giménez, Executive Director of FoodFirst/Institute for Food and Development Policy
Moderated by Irit Tamir, Senior Campaigns and Advocacy Advisor for Oxfam America
Host Committee (list in formation):
Adjoa Tetteh, Sierra Club's Global Population and Environment Program; Andre Rivera & Kelly Moltzen, Franciscan Earth Corps; Andres Martinez-Villalobos, International Public Service Association, NYU Wagner; Austin Abel & Isabella Gross, Oxfam at United Nations International School; Benjy Schechner & Nell Simon, FeelGood Columbia University; Diana Mendez, Oxfam America at Pace; Eli Cane, Normal Life Pictures; Gareth Bryant, Muslims Giving Back; Kelly Moltzen, Greater New York Dietetic Association & NY Faith and Justice; members of Oxfam Action Corps NYC
Light snacks will also be provided.
FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. ALL ARE WELCOME.
To learn more about Oxfam's campaign on land grabs and to take action, go to www.behindthebrands.org.
For more information, please contact the Oxfam Action Corps NYC at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, September 29, 2013 | Posted by Oxfam Action Corps NYC | | Edit Post
In New York City, the 68th United Nations General Assembly is currently underway. Global heads of states have gathered in an annual meeting which presents an opportunity for leaders from around the world to speak on behalf of their countries on the international world stage. With the United Nations as the host, there will be a particular focus on humanitarian aid and refugee relief efforts.
In Syria, an uprising against four decades of rule by the Assad family culminated into civil war that has lead to over 100,000 deaths and resulted in displacement for nearly one third of Syria’s population. The gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly provided Oxfam America with an opportune moment to undertake ongoing efforts in highlighting the crisis in Syria with the aim of stressing the urgency of Syrian peace talks.
Oxfam America appealed for Syrian Peace negotiations with the assistance of renowned Argentinian/Spanish 3D street artist, Eduardo Relero. Eduardo’s signature artwork enhanced by optical illusion has adorned streets around the globe. On this occasion, a large-scale painting portraying President Obama and President Putin in the midst of discussions was on display for several hours during the morning of Sept 25th at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.
The colossal painting is a particularly striking presentation depicting President Obama deep in thought while a map of various regions of Syria serves as a table as well as a barrier between the two Presidents in symbolic gesture. Both presidents are surrounded by fenced in refugees, composed primarily of women and children uprooted from their homes anxiously awaiting news of developments that will impact their lives.
Oxfam America staff, volunteers and media were available in full force on the scene in order to coordinate and speak to reporters about the event, provide support, and live tweet to amplify the message of the critical urgency for imminent peace negotiations in Syria.
Oxfam staff attendees included Oxfam America President, Raymond Offenheiser, Sue Rooks, working in Communications, Advocacy, Finance with Oxfam America, Media & Public Relations Director, Matt Herrick, Oxfam International Media Lead (Humanitarian), Louis Belanger as well as Oxfam America Regional Advocacy Lead, Will Fenton.
Volunteers who participated in making the day a success included NYC’s Oxfam Action Corps NYC’s current co-leader Elizabeth Norman, brand new NYC transplant and Oxfam volunteer from Grenada, Jennifer Viechweg as well as Sinead Kennedy who was instrumental in photographing and publicizing the event. Additionally, this event was an ideal opportunity for Oxfam staff from various offices and NYC Action Corps volunteers to be able to work in conjunction in person in joint effort to promote humanitarian relief.
The refugee crisis in Syria is unparallelled in recent times as the UN refugee agency, UNHCR figures state two million Syrians have fled from the escalating conflict, of which one million are children. Additionally, internal displacement figures are estimated to be at approximately 4.25 million. The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, within eight miles from the border of Syria is currently home to over 120,000 refugees and has been declared to be the second largest refugee camp in the world. With 2,000 new residents arriving each day at Zaatari, a second refugee camp, Azraq is undergoing construction, also with a capacity of 130,000.
However, only a small number of refugees are housed in the camps, the majority are scattered across various host nations. The countries in descending order of registered refugees are Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. The influx has placed great strain on the recipient countries, several of which themselves suffer from instability and poor economies. A startling statistic that illustrates the scale and plight of the refugee crisis was recently released by Dana Sleiman, Public Information Officer for UNHCR in Beirut, Lebanon which stated that as school starts this week in Lebanon, it is expected that 330,000 Syrian refugee children will need to enroll in school in comparison with 300,000 Lebanese.
For ways you can help and to take action, please visit the following site: http://www.oxfamamerica.org/
By: Shireen Alam
Photography by: Fernando Olivas/Oxfam