“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
While inequality and suffering are reaching new heights in developed societies, helping others can seem like an intimidating task. ‘Where to start, who to help, what to do?’ are the questions coming to mind, repelling aiders with the sheer amount of people in need of support. Luckily though, the easiest place to start looking is often closest to you.
Originally, the idea of organising a sleep-out to raise money for Coventry’s homeless came from Ian Jackson, one of the newly-joined freshers of the International Disaster Concern society. After witnessing the increasing amount of people on the streets, the society started to work to create change in our community, and to help the ones who are often overlooked.
By fundraising, IDC managed to collect nearly 1000 pounds within two weeks for Coventry Cyrenians shelter, which is an amazing accomplishment for all of the participants, and required great commitment from everyone. Without the team effort, good spirit and willingness to work to reach our goals, none of this could not have been possible, and personally, I owe great thanks to the members of our society.
The importance of solidarity and attitude became clear when we started our sleep-out in the beginning of Friday night, after collecting money at the hub all day. Cards against humanity, decent jokes, and laughter coloured the darkening sky, and kept us warm as the temperature gradually dropped to levels which fogged our breaths. Eventually, we all snuggled into our sleeping bags, some more tired than others, and we decided that it was a time for a bedtime story. Winnie the Pooh was the voted choice, and at this point some dozed off, and the rest remained chatting about the meaning of life, dates and troubles, like it usually happens when people stay together for too long through the odd-hours.
After 6 AM the Sun started to rise, and slight rain made the wakeup rather uncomfortable, even though we had shelter over us. The magpies perched on the birch trees probably begged to differ about my complaints though; carols and twitter revealed that they did not have much better sleep than us that night. Finally, we made our way to Spoons after 8 AM, for much needed breakfast sponsored by IDC.
During our breakfast, it dawned on me how far we actually were from experiencing homelessness. In our high-grade sleeping bags, having snacks and games under a shelter, it was not much of an eye-opening experience when it comes to sleeping rough. But, it raised awareness, and a fair amount of money that supports the imperative work of the Cyrenians, to hopefully eradicate homelessness in times to come. We shall get there some day, one step at a time.
With events like this it makes me glad to say that International Disaster Concern is working towards a better future, creating a change, and is supporting not only its’ members, but also the community around us. In a place of privilege, it is important to remember giving, and I feel proud to be a part of such an incredible group of people who recognise the importance of charitable work and sharing, even though we are all struggling through studies and problems of our own.
If you would like to get involved with the International Disaster Concern society, click here for more information on how to join.
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