Homelessness has always been something that I really find difficult to comprehend; a safe home, quality of life and access to opportunity is something that everyone deserves to have. Almost daily I am perplexed by wondering if there can ever be a solution and what it might be.
When I talk about homelessness with friends, family or colleagues, sometimes there is a tunnel-vision view of what homeless people look like, what they wear and why there are in the position we see them in.
There are a multitude of reasons for why people become homeless, from alcohol and drug problems to challenging upbringings and mental health. There’s also a multitude of different types of people who may be homeless; young people, people with or without close families and people from very different socio-economic backgrounds.
Homelessness doesn’t discriminate and neither should we.
SOCIAL BITE SLEEP IN THE PARK
I signed up to lead a Capco team of 5 to partake in Social Bite’s annual ‘Sleep in the Park’ event where 10,000 people slept out overnight with the aim of raising £6 million. I was utterly delighted that the Capco team doubled our original target to raise over £6,000 and become a Top 25 Corporate Fundraiser.
As a thank you, Capco Scotland were kindly invited to Social Bite’s Evening with Malala Yousafzai held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Malala is the world’s youngest Nobel Prize laureate, awarded for her efforts to create social justice and fight for girl’s education despite being shot by a Taliban gunman in 2012, for campaigning against those very issues.
It was an honour to attend the event with such a profound young woman. The evening allowed us to celebrate the efforts of the people who raised £3.6 million by sleeping out in freezing temperatures, but also shone a light on the necessity to continue to create social justice for all.
Malala talked of the work her foundation does in supporting refugees, the internally displaced and her fight for the right to girl’s education. It was an incredibly inspiring evening and embedded the belief that we must continue to make efforts to solve the world’s seemingly unsolvable problems.
We also learned of the changes being made as a direct effort of our fundraising. Social Bite have recently constructed a purpose-built village in Edinburgh to provide society’s most vulnerable people with housing and the wrap around support they need to get them back on their feet.
Social Bite have a mission to implement a sustainable solution through mobilizing collective change. Not only do they contribute directly to the fight against homelessness through financial support, they raise consciousness of the issue, educate society and are not afraid to push perceived boundaries through innovative ideas.
This attitude is one that I want to go forth with in my life, with friends, family, peers and my clients. I came away from the experience with a refreshed attitude about solving problems, with a new-found courage and curiosity to challenge why things must be the way we think they are.
I would encourage everyone to look at things from a different angle… ask people for ideas, then ask people to support you with those ideas. Put yourself in others’ shoes, use empathy to understand others’ dispositions, challenge stereotypes and seek to comprehend without judgement. Find something you care about and GIVE BACK, otherwise we will never create positive change in this ever-changing, frustrating, fascinating but ultimately kind world.
"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do". Edward Everett Hale