Moomin Characters Ltd and Oxfam have today announced their partnership has raised 1 million pounds for the charity’s projects supporting women and girls around the world.
In 2017 Moomin Characters Ltd, founded in the 1950’s by Tove Jansson and her brother Lars Jansson, began a partnership with Oxfam, a global movement of people all working towards the same goal – an end to the injustice of poverty. The aim was to help raise money for projects that promote equality, helping women and girls around the world escape poverty for good.
“In her lifetime Tove Jansson worked with several charity organizations to support values and causes she so highly believed in, and it was very important for us to continue this work. This collaboration started small, and we are utterly happy it has grown to help so many people around world”, Sophia Jansson, Tove Jansson’s niece and Creative Director at Moomin Characters Ltd says.
The money has been raised through sales of a special edition of The Invisible Child, a short story from the collection Tales from Moominvalley, published as a standalone title for the first time by independent publisher Sort of Books. Over 60,000 copies of the book have been sold by key partner Waterstones and Oxfam stores across the UK, with at least £4 from each sale being donated to the charity. The title is also available at Moomin Shops in London and Finland and at Moomin.com.
In addition to copies of The Invisible Child, Oxfam has been selling a range of Moomin products including stationery, tote bags, kitchenware and other Moomin books. Other partners including Macmillan Children’s Books and Finnish brands Fiskars and Finlayson have supported the campaign by contributing a proportion of sales from their Moomin products.
Roleff Kråkström, managing director of Moomin Characters, said: “We are delighted to have been able to use Tove Jansson’s moving short story to raise such a wonderful sum for Oxfam, and to highlight the importance of ensuring all women and girls have a voice. In The Invisible Child, a little girl who has become invisible because of mistreatment slowly becomes herself again after being shown kindness from the Moomin family. We hope that many women and girls around the world will be able to do the same with the help of the Oxfam initiatives this fundraising supports. We owe an enormous thank you to our partners, most importantly Waterstones and Sort of Books, who have been so generous and without whom we would not have been able to achieve this incredible result.”
Danny Sriskandarajah, Chief Executive of Oxfam Great Britain, said: “We are incredibly proud of our partnership with Moomin Characters and grateful to everyone who supported this fantastic campaign and, in turn, Oxfam’s work for a kinder and radically better world. Values found in Tove Jansson’s wonderful stories of Moominvalley, such as inclusiveness and having the courage to speak out for what is right, also underpin Oxfam’s work. The money raised through this partnership has helped Oxfam to support women and girls who face discrimination, violence and poverty.”
James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones, said: “The world of the Moomins is such a precious one, with a special resonance now. We are so proud to have helped introduce more readers to the magic of Tove Jansson and could not be more pleased in the process to support Oxfam’s important work.”
Mark Ellingham and Nat Jansz of Sort of Books commented: “The initial idea was to try to raise £100k for Oxfam’s crucial work supporting women and girls around the world, but the combination of Moomin Characters, Oxfam and Waterstones has been extraordinary. We couldn’t be more delighted to see this campaign pass the £1 million mark.”
Helping women to overcome violence, abuse and discrimination is crucial for ending poverty
“Tove was a strong and independent woman who lived life the way she wanted to – unlimited by ideas about how a woman should behave or what her role should be – which isn’t too surprising considering where she grew up. Finland has always been a leader in women’s rights, and was the first European country to give women the vote in 1906. However, not everyone is this fortunate, and I’m sure that Tove would be very glad that her stories are helping women all across the world escape poverty and find their voices”, Sophia Jansson says.
The fundraising is to support Oxfam’s work fighting extreme poverty and suffering around the world. Since the majority of people living in poverty are women, the rights of women and girls are at the heart of the charity’s work. Long-held prejudices often mean that they are denied basic rights like education, a fair wage or decent working conditions. Women and girls are also often the worst affected when emergencies strike. But Oxfam knows that the skills, determination and ingenuity of women will win through, and by supporting them poverty can be overcome.
In September 2017, Sophia Jansson visited Rwanda with Oxfam to see first-hand the impact of the charity’s work helping to lift women and girls out of poverty.
“During the trip, I was struck by the extraordinary variety of projects that Oxfam undertakes in its mission to eradicate poverty, and was deeply impressed by how tailored the initiatives were to the specific requirements of the communities that needed Oxfam’s help.”
One of the examples on how these vital funds have helped Oxfam to fight poverty is he story of Florina. Flonira is part of a small Oxfam cooperative in Rwanda that aims to give women living in poverty the opportunity to learn skills and earn an income.
“Women had no voice in this community, but this project has changed women’s lives. The men saw us being self-reliant and they have really changed their mindset on women. Now my eldest son is doing studies in China directly because of the cooperative. I even took him to the airport and I felt really proud.”
The work still continues. Visit Oxfam’s website to see the collaboration products.