I am currently retired from university teaching. I ws originally from the UK and did my undergraduate degree at Oxford, the home of Oxfam. I ws attracted to the work of the organization–at that time more focused on emergency relief projects. In 1974 when I taught at Wilfrid Laurier University, my colleague in the Social Work departmentformed a local comittee for Oxfam in Kitchener/Waterloo. I became involved in a fundraising and educational program for Oxfam Canada there for several years, in a wide range of activities for fundraising and education including organizing speaker events by Oxfam project workers, films, fair trade events, benefit concerts, (including one with Bruce Cockburn) and more. I also helped to promote locally the Peoples Food Commission, an early popular movement to promote food security and to educate consumers about supermarkets, agri-business and the links between domestic and international food issues.
More recently I have been involved in HIV and AIDS issues in Africa, informational presentations for World Food Day on HIV and AIDS and Nutrition and lobbying and promotion for Oxfam at the World AIDS conference in Toronto last summer. I am active as a volunteer with the local Oxfam Group in Toronto.
My most rewarding experiences in volunteering are those that allow me contact with the general public, with people who have benefited from Oxfam’s work in their own countries and in activities that raise awareness. Through Oxfam I have become more politicized, more aware of the links between the developed and the developing world and more convinced of the importance of solutions that are grassroots.