Thuli Ndlovu, a former Oxfam aid worker from Oxford, says we shouldn’t punish those in most need

THE OXFAM sex scandal has taken me through a rollercoaster of emotions, all of which are negative.

I have felt shame, anger and disappointment. I have sat in front of the television watching the news with tears in my eyes simply because Oxfam is an organisation that I love.

It feels as though anyone who says they love Oxfam during this time is an outcast. As soon as I mention that I love Oxfam, people’s faces turn red with anger and flow with a chain of questions “So, are you saying its acceptable to abuse vulnerable people?

“Are you saying the UK tax payer’s money should fund aid workers to pay for prostitutes?”

The answer to these questions is a definitive NO! I love Oxfam because at the core of Oxfam values is the drive to see a world without poverty and help those that are most vulnerable to have a better life. Oxfam as an organisation does not send individuals out to pay for sex.

There has never been a time, I do not believe in its 75 years of existence that Oxfam has encouraged this kind of behaviour.

A few individuals have chosen to take their salary and spend it on hiring prostitutes and unfortunately these kinds of people can be found in any industry.

When I first heard about the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey scandals I was beyond disgusted. I quickly threw away some of my most favourite DVDs such as American beauty, Shakespeare in love and My week with Marylin.

In the bigger scheme of things, the Hollywood stars faced with these allegations right now will most likely move on with their lives glossy, shimmery lives without noticing that an individual somewhere in UK threw away movies they produced.

I am not however going to withdraw my support from Oxfam as easily as I threw away those DVDs because Oxfam’s work touches humanity.

More than two years ago I was deployed to Sierra Leone, during the Ebola outbreak by Oxfam – yes by Oxfam. I will never forget the woman I met in PortLoko, she was under quarantine, her name was Gina (not real name). She had lost her husband, three-month-old son, mother and father and three siblings to Ebola.

She was in so much distress, all I saw in her eyes was despair, deep sadness, she could hardly speak, every time she tried to speak she would choke with tears. I remember her saying “I have been in quarantine for the past seven days, its been very difficult for me as a woman to be under quarantine without water at home, I was even going to face going through the time of the month without any sanitary towels but yesterday Oxfam brought me some water, sanitary towels and soap, the basic things I need for immediate relief.”

These words have stuck with me for a long time. If you a woman, you know that not having water and sanitaries during the time of the month is not funny! Then I met Momo in Kono, an Ebola survivor.

He was a very jovial guy that enjoyed telling tales. He had caught Ebola from sharing a latrine with 32 other people from his community, and Oxfam had built latrines in his community and it was only him and his family of five that were now sharing a toilet.

His words were “I am now free Mandela, no longer in quarantine and Ebola free. I am so happy that Oxfam came here to build latrines, sharing with 32 people was not easy.”

As a former Oxfam employee, I will continue to stand with Oxfam because I have seen it with my own eyes the difference that Oxfam makes in different communities.

Withdrawing my support will only be punishing those in need.