Stop press announcement: Want to help make a global impact with a small gesture? Nominate this project for Oprah Winfrey’s Australia show. Click here https://www.oprah.com/ownshow/plug_form.html?plug_id=6004470
Please nominate Dale King, ex homeless person and ambassador and voice for the homeless in Sydney, and the efforts of IT@AMP Make a Difference project as described hereunder raising $38 0000, and here, here, and here as a uniquely Aussie story for the Oprah Winfrey Show being filmed in Sydney next week.
So, last night I participated in a sleepout with 18 of my colleagues to raise money for buying swag shelters for homeless folks in support of http://www.swags.org.au/. And, yes, it was partly fun, but not so much at 4 am in the morning when rain was dripping on my face, and there was absolutely nowhere to go to escape it.The Shopping Plaza was locked to us and the only option was to get up and start the day-after only 3 hours of fitful sleep.
Critics are of course eveywhere. Some scoffed at a bunch of “fat cat” executives having a sleepout for one night as tokenism at best.They’re not wrong, one night is do-able. I think after one week we’d be pretty stressed people and a lot more in tune with nature, each other and our own humanity.( And I’ve only just been told that there are huge rats that come out at night and scavenge on food scraps. Eeeew!)
Others argued that providing the homeless with a swag shelter is not a solution. They are of course right also.
But that was not what motivated me to participate. I am not trying to solve the problem of homelessness. Smarter and more powerful people have tried and, of course realised it’s not a complex problem, its a complex SYSTEM, and there is an interplay of many variables.
All that motivated me is that for a few, life could be a little different, A little less hostile, With a small measure of control over the odds of waking up at 4 am from water dripping in your face and your bedding soaked.
And a swag shelter achieves that.
It has an “awning” with 2 guide ropes that can be tied to two points, its made from lightweight, waterproof breathable material, and a mesh to keep mosquitoes away and allow ventilation. (see design specs). And it costs only $68-00, less than dinner for two in a very ordinary Sydney cafe or a broadband internet connection for a month.
And more. It’s yours to keep. As Dale, the ex homeless person who is working with http://www.swags.org.au/ shared with us last night when he demo’d the swags, they have a 90% retention rate- whereas blankets get wet, smelly, dirty and are discarded after a while by the homeless folks.
After a warm shower at 5 am in the AMP Gym, a luxury that of course a homeless person wouldn’t have access to, and sitting at my harbourside office window gazing at the old Coathanger obscured by rain and mist, I felt a warm glow inside. What we did may be trivial in the bigger scheme of things, but it has made a difference!
Forty seven people sponsored my sleepout and helped me reach more than $5000, enough to buy 148 swags after it is dollar-matched by the AMP Foundation. Collectively, we raised $18600 which will be dollar-matched to make $37196.00 and make 547 swags available. All contributions received up to 10 December will qualify, so anyone missed out on making a difference, just click through to http://www.everydayhero.com.au/itamp_mad
We can’t make all the darkness go away, but that shouldn’t stop us from lighting a candle where we can.