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Acclaimed British actor Bill Nighy has pledged his support for The Invisible Child campaign from Oxfam and Moomin Characters Ltd, by recording a reading of the short story that inspired the campaign for theguardian.com.

The Invisible Child campaign aims to help women and girls around the world fight inequality and escape poverty for good, with the full £4.99 price of the special edition book being donated to Oxfam’s women’s projects worldwide. Over £268,000 has already been raised through books sales and The Invisible Child merchandise including a tote bag, tea towel and handkerchief.

The Invisible Child is a short story by Moomin creator Tove Jansson, about a little girl who turns invisible after being badly treated by the woman supposedly caring for her. She is given a place to stay at the Moominhouse and, when shown warmth, kindness and respect by the Moomin family, she gradually reappears and regains her place in the world – a right that every woman and girl should have.

The fundraising campaign 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.

Sophia Jansson, niece of Tove Jansson and creative director of Moomin Characters, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the amazing response that we have had to The Invisible Child campaign, with over 40,000 copies sold already and every penny going to Oxfam. We hope that Bill Nighy’s recording will introduce more people to the magic of the Moomins and help us raise even more money for Oxfam’s vital work around the world. Bill is the perfect person to have read the story, as he has filled it with wonder, compassion and mischief – all things that Tove valued greatly – and we’re so thrilled to have his support.”

Nikki Van Der Gaag, Oxfam’s Director of Gender Justice and Women’s Rights said: ‘Listeners will love Bill reading this story of a little girl who finds her voice and thrives when shown kindness and support. Oxfam thanks Moomin Characters Ltd and Bill Nighy for their big-hearted contributions, and The Guardian for making this podcast possible. We hope the recording will boost book sales of The Invisible Child. Oxfam supports women and women’s organisations to access education, to have decent and fair work, and live a life free of violence. We provide emergency food, shelter, clean water and lighting in refugee camps so the most vulnerable survive. This tender tale is echoed in every country where Oxfam works as courageous women are able to find their own voices.’

The music used in the recording is by Finnish musicians Pekka Kuusisto and Samuli Kosminen and is a sample from the upcoming Moominvalley TV animation. The Invisible Child, published by Sort Of Books, is available to buy from Oxfam, Waterstones and the Moomin Shops in Covent Garden and Camden Market. For more information on the Invisible Child campaign, please visit www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/moomins. Photos from Sophia Jansson’s visit to Rwanda to see Oxfam’s work available here.

For further information please contact Caitlin Allen at Riot Communications on 020 3174 0118 / caitlin@riotcommunications.com OR Emma Fabian at Oxfam GB on 07825 503 274 / efabian1@oxfam.org.uk