Oxfam started as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief in England in 1942. The group campaigned for food supplies to be sent through an allied naval blockade to starving women and children in enemy-occupied Greece during the Second World War.
Oxfam Australia was born out of a merger between two leading Australian international development agencies — Community Aid Abroad and the Australian Freedom from Hunger Campaign.
Community Aid Abroad began in Melbourne’s suburbs in 1953 as a church-affiliated group called Food for Peace Campaign, founded by Father Gerard Kennedy Tucker. The group sent weekly donations to a small health project in India, and eventually, Food for Peace Campaign groups were established throughout Victoria.
In 1962, a full-time campaign director was appointed and the name was changed to Community Aid Abroad. The new name reflected an aim to assist communities more broadly, rather than just providing food in order to maintain peace. Throughout the 1960s, local Community Aid Abroad groups were established across Australia.
The Australian Freedom from Hunger Campaign was launched in 1961 following the launch of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation’s five-year campaign, Freedom from Hunger. This community-based campaign was aimed at raising global awareness about poverty issues around the world and provided opportunities for people to directly support anti-poverty programs in developing countries.
Membership was initially open to organisations rather than individuals and these included unions and community interest groups. The campaign grew to become a national organisation in 1964 that conducted appeals for countries including India, Timor-Leste, Cambodia and Ethiopia, and supported Aboriginal issues and programs in Australia.
The Australian Freedom from Hunger Campaign and Community Aid Abroad merged in 1992 to become one of Australia’s largest international development organisations. As a founding member of Oxfam International, they changed their name to Oxfam Community Aid Abroad in 2001 and then to Oxfam Australia in 2005.
They believe that poverty is unjustifiable and preventable, that the present state of inequality and injustice must be challenged, and that with the right help, poor people can change their lives for the better.
Oxfam’s vision is a just world without poverty. They envisage a world in which people can influence decisions that affect their lives, enjoy their rights, and assume their responsibilities—a world in which everyone is valued and treated equally.
Oxfam strives to help create lasting solutions to the injustice of poverty. They are part of a global movement for change, one that empowers people to create a future that is secure, just, and free from poverty.
They have one main goal: to bring about positive change in the lives of people living in poverty.See more