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Stars stand up for women

Oxfam and a host of stars including Muzz Khan, Khiyo, Nadia Manzoor, Neelofer Mir, Sheema Mukherjee, Eternal Taal and Bollywood dancers will be standing up for Women in South Asia and supporting the London Mela this year on Sunday 31st August. This is the third year that Oxfam will be the official charity sponsor for the event which celebrates the culture and creativity of South Asia and last year attracted around 80,000 people.

Oxfam will be appealing for help for its work with women in South Asia and will be launching a text to donate campaign called “Women Unlimited”. This will ask Mela visitors to text “WOMEN” and donate £2 in support of Oxfam’s work. The issue of violence against women in South Asia has been big news over the last couple of years, and it is fantastic to see a UK charity offer us a way to give some practical help to this very good cause. The charity is helping women gain power over their lives and live free from violence by helping to change attitudes and ideas. It also encourages women’s active engagement and critical leadership in institutions and decision-making. This makes Oxfam a very worthwhile charity to support, as the emphasis on empowering women removes any suggestion that western charities which support people overseas are patronising – and it also means that your donations to Oxfam will have a long lasting effect.

Oxfam Chief Executive Mark Goldring said. “We have been delighted to have taken part in the London Mela for the last two years and this year we will be focusing on the plight of women in South Asia who have faced violence, inequality and a lack of education opportunities. Oxfam has been working in South Asia for more than 60 years and will continue its work to help alleviate poverty.” The Asian Circle, a network of UK based Asian leading business women, lawyers, financiers, academics and entrepreneurs, is also supporting the event. In collaboration with Oxfam India, they are currently supporting building centres in Chhattisgarh and Odisha, East India, which will provide counselling, legal support and peer to peer mentoring for tribal women affected by violence, alongside educating other community members about the treatment of women. Santosh Bhanot, Chair of the Asian Circle said “ Violence against women is unacceptable. Asian Circle women want to use their specialist skills, experience and resource to make a difference by building awareness and raising funds for women subjected to violence in South Asia.” In South Asia Oxfam has helped millions of people to make a living, raised awareness of issues such as education, and helped people campaign for their rights. Last year marked 40 years of Oxfam working in Pakistan, where Oxfam has – for example – provided aid to around a million people after the 2005 Kashmir Earthquake and about 2.5 million after the 2010 floods. To find out more about Oxfam’s work go to www.oxfam.org.uk

•To help Oxfam’s work with women in South Asia, Text WOMEN to 70066. Texts cost £2 plus standard network rate. By texting you consent to future telephone contact from Oxfam. Text NOINFO to 70066 to stop future SMS.

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