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Local Oxfam chapter unveiled

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In April 2010, Kristin Clements-Effner and Tracie Moss traveled to Washington D.C. to undergo orientation as organizers for the new Oxfam Action Corp group being started in Indianapolis. Effner and Moss were the two Hoosiers chosen out of many applicants to attend the four-day training in D.C.

The Oxfam Action Corp group is a stem of Oxfam America. Oxfam America is a non-governmental, relief organization that works internationally to find solutions to poverty and injustice. They work with volunteers and other groups in over 100 countries around the world. There are a total of 13 groups in the United States, San Francisco and New York City being two of the largest, and the Indianapolis group is one of five new groups including Seattle, WA and Columbus, OH.

At the training, Effner and Moss were instructed to put together an event for the screening of the short film Sisters on the Planet.

“We were given three hours to put together the screening, “ said Moss, “We had to get food and most importantly, get people to come. It ended up being a success and helped us get more energetic about what we were doing.”

Effner and Moss returned to Indy after training and held a similar event. The Sisters on the Planet film screening took place in Indy at the Earth House Collective on May 27, 2010. The film is a documentary featuring four women from countries around the world that are affected by climate change: Sharon from Coastal Mississippi, Muriel from Argentina, Sahena from Bangladesh, and Martina from Uganda.

The Action Core group’s focus this year is women affected by climate change. “A lot of us live very sheltered lives and do not know what is happening to people around the world,” said Effner.

Effner, who grew up in suburbia, says she was one of those people who were unaware. “I was blind to the fact that there are people in other countries that do not have food, homes, and furniture. I went on my honeymoon in Jamaica and was shocked that people were living in dirt huts without floors,” said Effner, “ And I am a firm believer in if you see something that is wrong, you should do something.”

Effner found out about Oxfam America on www.idealist.com. “I wanted to be able to use the skills I had gained through my studies in social work on an international level and Oxfam gives me that opportunity,” she said.

Moss first heard about Oxfam America after the earthquake in Haiti. “I donated money to the Haiti relief, but I wanted to be able to do more. Oxfam does a lot on the ground and I wanted to help,” said Moss.

Effner and Moss are currently working on getting more volunteers in the Indianapolis area. “We want to make Hoosiers aware of what is happening around the world and what they can do to help,” said Effner. So far the group has signed up ten new volunteers since the film screening.

The Action Corp group will also be present at concerts and events throughout the year in the Indy area to inform visitors about the group and their mission.

Some of these include:

Dave Mathews Band Concert
Indiana Sustainable Living Fair
Lilith Fair
John Mayer Concert

“We are also trying to recognize other local groups that have similar goals and the same ideas, so we can join our efforts,” said Effner.

The Oxfam Action Corp group holds monthly volunteer meetings at various locations. The dates, locations, and times of these meetings can be found on the group’s calendar at http://www.indianapolisoxfamactioncorps.blogspot.com/. New volunteers are welcomed.

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