In a world where there is a huge imbalance in wealth, how many of us contribute toward tipping the balance?
Some may say it isn’t their problem—that there is nothing they can do as an individual to help. I can understand why.
The media shows us every day the rising numbers of people who are suffering and the effects of war, starvation, and homelessness. We feel helpless to do anything.
Some of us pledge money when there is a new campaign—glamorously executed by popstars or actors, but we soon forget the coldness, hunger, and loneliness that bestow on so many.
I have heard some say that people who live on the streets choose to do so and actually enjoy it. Maybe a small majority does. Maybe finding escape from the rat race, constant financial pressure from the media, and society gives them a feeling of freedom. Maybe they are right. But I believe that for most people, living with a lost sense of dignity and pride, feelings of insignificance, and lack of caring and love is not something they would choose.
There are many reasons people end up on the streets. Having an addiction can be one of them: We turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of blotting out the reality of living a rough life. Often, the average passerby stops seeing a person, and sees the addiction instead.
Most of us speak regularly of the changes that need to take place. We talk about the pain and suffering that is happening, and how peace should be restored. But are we actually partaking in making a difference?
If we reflect on history, we can recall something that was changed by working collectively as a group en mass.
In December of 2016, Native American tribes and environmental protesters successfully stopped a permit to put an oil pipe through their homeland in North Dakota. In the latter part of their protest, they were also joined by a large group of war veterans who not only stood by their side but raised over a million dollars to help feed the tribes in the camp they had set up to stop the exploration of the area for the pipeline.
Although the U.S. government is still fighting to proceed with the pipeline, the Sioux tribe of Standing Rock gained a major legal victory in June 2017 due to the lack of an inadequate environmental review. And with their passion and conviction, I am sure they will continue to fight.
This shows that we are not only powerful in numbers, but that we can actually influence and change government decisions that affect our well-being.
So where do we fit all this into helping the homeless?
I think our first step is to act from our hearts, to acknowledge that in order to have equality for all, we must show compassion and caring.
When we work from our hearts, we tend to take action with passion—it is noticed because it has a powerful and positive energy that is hard to ignore.
On a daily basis, we can be mindful of our behaviour toward homeless people.
We can show them respect and caring, offer to share a coffee and sandwich, sit with them a while, and give them our full attention whilst asking them about themselves. Listening is a great way of showing others that we care about them and also that we want to help.
Even those of us who have very little, can offer to share some time with those less fortunate. It may be that we can offer clothing or even somewhere to stay in between places. (We all know how precious it is to feel safe.) Employment is also a huge issue for people living on the streets—maybe you know of some who can offer some job.
Social media reflects how highly we regard being liked and accepted. With this in mind, we should be aware that we all have basic human needs and that if they are not met, rejection is imminent and self-love is no longer present.
Self-love is essential when making positive choices and developing relationships. It is also the key to how we see and feel ourselves. When we show that another person is important, we raise their positive feelings about themselves. Most homeless people are lacking in this area.
I would like to ask you to look at your position in life and see what you have to offer. Maybe you can write like I am doing now to increase awareness and fight for equality.
Maybe you are famous; you might have a radio show or a television show. You have a voice that can speak for others who have lost theirs.
Peace and equality are the only things we should be fighting for. Now it is the time we should all stand up and speak: Make a commitment to others and set an example.
It has to start somewhere!
Here’s to Peace, Love & Equality.
And there he sat alone and withered
No clothes, he shivered.
And as his soul called out to others,
His head hung low, “Have I no brothers?”
Walking past, their life so full
He pleaded flatly,
Drained and dull.
No enthusiasm could he share
With fellow humans
That didn’t care.
“A coffee?” I asked to the top of his head
“A pound” he replied,
To which I said,
“A pound and coffee, is it a deal?”
He grinned and murmured,
“Are you for real?”
I ponder today, as I lay on my bed
Is the street man right?
Is caring dead?
I know that I cannot make it right.
But for love I will continue,
For mankind I will fight.
Author: Nicola Farnhill
Image: Franco Folini/Flickr
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
Social Editor: Khara-Jade Warren