20 Cold Nights

July 10th till 30th
Tonight when you retire to your warm, comfortable beds, over 100 000 babies, children, women and men will be without a safe home.

They are the homeless... the forgotten... the misunderstood.

Have you ever wondered what it must be like for these people? Do you ever wish you could trade places with them? For most of us, our worst nightmares would not come close to the horrors faced by these survivors.

For 20 days and 20 nights, I will be living on the streets of Melbourne, experiencing just how hard it is for these disadvantaged people; Sacrificing all of my luxuries in order to to truly observe life on the streets.

Why am i doing this? The real question is, why are these disadvantaged Australians ignored, avoided and disliked?

Ask yourselves, when you see a human being begging for money; why do your eyes turn away, how come your pace quickens, why is it your hearing temporarily fails you, and how is it that your coin filled purse suddenly becomes empty?

For so many Australians, we are oblivious to the wonderfully, blessed lives we live. We opt to purchase new material goods in lieu of helping others. These common excuses are the barriers that prevent us from treating homeless people with the respect that every person deserves.

People who are experiencing homelessness are not second rate citizens- they are ordinary human beings who have fallen through the cracks of society, but still need our respect, help and humility.

Whilst homelessness is a complex problem, the people of Australia have the power to fix these issues. We have the time, money and compassion to help every homeless child, man and women, however, it will take initiative from every person in this country.

All we have to do is change. I will be living in the shoes of a homeless man in order to prove that they are no different from you or I. They deserve the same compassion, love and respect that we give our neighbours, our friends, and ourselves.

From childhood we are taught to treat others how we would like to be treated. We teach our kids these precious life lessons, yet we contradict ourselves when we ignore the homeless people begging for aid. We lose our humility when we stand by and let others experience hardship, while we live in luxury.

The cure to homelessness is:
: to care.

In my upcoming journey, I wish to document my experiences, and then show the world how bad some people live it in order to encourage the people of Australia to open their hearts to the forgotten children and adults who are prisoners of poverty.

Interesting Facts
· currently there are 105 237 people experiencing homelessness in Australia.
· 17,845 of these are children aged 12 and under.
· 28,758 of those are aged 18 and under.
· Australia is in breach of 3 international Humanitarian rights treaties by not effectively dealing with homelessness.
· The number one belief as to the cause of homelessness is Alcohol or drug abuse.
· The actual number one cause for homelessness is relationship breakdowns, and housing evictions or ejections.

1. I must not use any of my personal belongings, accounts or services to aid me during the 20 days.
2. I may document this campaigning using a camera and Laptop, but must not use these devices for personal or recreational use.
3. Revealing my Identity and agenda in order to receive aid is forbidden.
4. I must go about my day the same as any other homeless person.
5. I must not partake in any illegal activities whilst campaigning.

All funds raised will go to The Lighthouse Foundation of Melbourne. The Lighthouse Foundation provides homeless young people who come from backgrounds of long term neglect and abuse with a home, a sense of family and around the clock therapeutic care. Through their Lighthouse experience, the young people heal, learn again to relate to others and rebuild their lives.

A Big thank you has to go to the Travellers Aid Australia who have provided their services to me for free during my experience.

Travellers Aid helps people with disabilities or those who are expereicing homelessness as well as eveyday people who may need some assistance. They have resources such as interenet access, showers, storage and many other very imporpant services.
Find out more @ http://www.travellersaid.org.au
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