Live Below the Line

It’s that time of year again. Every May, Oaktree invites thousands of people to live on $2 worth of food each day for five days, to both raise funds and awareness for the countless people living below the poverty line across the globe.

Why $2? The global poverty line divides the international population between those living on more than $2 each day, and those living on less. Partaking in this challenge therefore allows participants the chance to experience a glimpse into the life of those living below the poverty line, a practical way to change perspectives and appreciate the ignored luxuries of our daily lives.

This challenge is not for the fainthearted. I love food, and I remember my first LBL experience as one of the toughest weeks of my life so far. It taught me so much about not only the nature of poverty, but myself, and how lucky I am to be surrounded by support and access to basic needs. I could not recommend this initiative more. It has taught me so much over the years, and I would recommend it to anyone willing to sacrifice some privileges for the sake of supporting and standing in solidarity with those who need it most.

To find out more, sign up, or donate, visit here.

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Random Acts of Kindness Day

Kindness is contagious. There’s never a shortage of it, regardless of wherever you happen to find yourself. And the magic thing about kindness is that instead of shrinking, the more you share it, the quicker it spreads and the more it grows.

Every year, we celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day on the 17th of February. This is a day to celebrate all of the little gestures of generosity that make life wonderful – be it holding the door open for others, or complimenting a stranger. On RAK day, we acknowledge the importance of these gestures, and the fact that true acts of charity and justice begin with the simplest acts of kindness.

The RAK message is universal, and is preached all over. Treating people with kindness isn’t difficult. It makes a mark, and leaves both giver and receiver all the better. We can’t wait to celebrate RAK day next week, and hope you’ll join us in spreading the message.

To find out more about the movement and RAK day, visit the website here.

Movember 2018

It’s that time of year again. As the commercial world begins its exhausting Christmas calendar, and we all start thinking about some sort of break from the madness in late December, thousands of men across the globe take a stand for an issue very close to their hearts. The issue: men’s health. The stand: Movember.

We all know the initiative and its aims: men spend the penultimate month of the year growing a masterpiece below their nose to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, ranging from issues of cancer and mental illnesses. It’s been a success over the past 19 years, beginning with just a small group of men in Adelaide growing their mo’s. Thanks to the advent of social media, the cause has raised millions of dollars, and made a mark on the world, listed as one of the 100 top NGO’s in the world in 2012.

It’s so important to reflect on issues we often sweep under the rug. The plight of refugees. Those sleeping on our streets at night. In a similar way, men’s health is often disregarded as a point of focus, ultimately due to the socially enforced expectations of men as strong, healthy and independent. I think the work that this initiative does, both through raising funds and starting conversations, is deeply valuable.

If you’re interested in finding out more or donating to the cause, feel free to check out the official website here.

You look fine

We’ve been published again in the latest edition of Togatus. This time round we decided to focus on another issue of our generation: social media, and the way the reflections of ourselves which we create can be damaging. The article considers the mirrors we’re surrounded by, and the fact that at the end of the day, natural reflections are the only ones we should spend time considering.

To read the article, feel free to check it out on page 10 here. Again, we’re super grateful to Togatus for having us. Keep smiling!

Boundless plains to share

Asylum seekers and refugees are among the most isolated groups in our country. Sadly, we have a federal parliament in which both major authority competes in providing the most aggressive and harmful immigration policies, often resulting in alarming cases of mental illness, abuse and even death. Yet, ironically, our nation claims to spread a message of welcome, with plenty of land to share with those who need it.

In my latest article, I explore the irony of our nation’s national anthem and core values, bringing to light and reminding readers of our government’s inhumane treatment of asylum seekers in offshore processing (detention) centers, and the harm such mistreatment has resulted in. As global citizens, it is our responsibility to advocate for the human rights of those vulnerable and marginalised by those with power and authority. This was at the forefront of my mind when writing this article.

If you’re interested in reading my piece, you can find the latest edition of Togatus here, with my article on page 10.

Kindness

Kindness, in my humble opinion, runs the world. There can never be too much of it. It keeps us going, gives us the motivation to tread water when the times get tough, and give us a way to show our appreciation of those around us and the good things we have. The random acts of kindness movement is one of my favourite things in this world, and I wish more people took part in it. Having received random acts of kindness in the past, I know firsthand the colossal way that one generous action can change someone’s day for the better.

I write regularly for the uni magazine, Togatus, who generously publish waffles I create in my head and put into words, often as a form of procrastination or practice in creative thinking. In the latest issue, I wrote about kindness, creating an imaginary origin story, in an attempt to simplify and connect the foundations of kindness to the real world. A young boy has a sandwhich, he sees a girl without one. It’s about the heart that humans of all ages and races possess. Sometimes it feels quite hidden and quiet, be it due to the warped moral compasses of global leaders or the ‘me culture’ of our times and the worship of technology. But I suppose in my article I try to articulate the fact that beneath all the grimness we witness too often on our screens, at the end of the day, kindness is first nature to humans. It’s easy to forget, and I try to challenge myself to always remember.

If you’d like to read my creative piece in the mag, you can find it on page 17 here.

The Hunger Games approach

The Hunger Games are fast approaching. One of the highlights of our social justice calendar is Oaktree’s annual Live Below the Line campaign. This initiative invites any willing volunteers across the globe to live on $2 worth of food each day for five days.

Why would they ask such a strange thing of daring individuals? The aim of the campaign is to both raise funds and awareness for the countless people living below the poverty line across the globe.

Why $2? The global poverty line divides the international population between those living on more than $2 each day, and those living on less. Partaking in this challenge therefore allows participants the chance to experience a glimpse into the life of those living below the poverty line, a practical way to change perspectives and appreciate the ignored luxuries of our daily lives.

This challenge is not for the fainthearted. I love food, and I remember my first LBL experience as one of the toughest weeks of my life so far. It taught me so much about not only the nature of poverty, but myself, and how lucky I am to be surrounded by support and access to basic needs. I could not recommend this initiative more, and would recommend it to anyone willing to sacrifice some privileges for the sake of supporting and standing in solidarity with those who need it most.

To find out more about this fantastic initiative, head over to the official website here.

Random Acts of Kindness Week

Have you ever had the door held open for you? Has a stranger ever complimented you on your jacket or hair? Or has a sweet message or heart been left atop your takeaway coffee from the hidden barista?

Chances are one of the above has happened to you in the past few months. Random acts of kindness have well and truly taken over the world, and without being acknowledged for doing so, these tiny demonstrations of generosity play a massive role in keeping our planet a positive one. This week, this incredibly important feat is being acknowledged through Random Acts of Kindness Week, during which the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation challenges us to promote the RAK message and spread the good vibes and gratitude, particularly back to those who we are thankful for.

Spanning February 11-17, RAK Week is an excuse for us to go out of our way to create a positive environment in our workplace, school, and home community. To find out more about this absolutely fantastic initiative, be sure to visit the official website here.

The amazing thing about kindness is its one of those rare things that doesn’t shrink, but grows the more it is shared. We’ll be trying our hardest to share it this week, and we hope you will be too.

Painting the sky orange

Homelessness is a significant and concerning issue within Australian society. A few years ago, two uni students in Queensland decided to bring a bold new idea to life to assist those affected by this issue. This idea involved loading up a van with two washing machines and dryers, and driving around their local suburbs, offering to wash and dry the clothes of those living rough on the streets.

Since their first round of washing, the dynamic duo – now known across the nation by its name ‘Orange Sky Laundry’ – is recognised as a leading member of the movement to end poverty in Australian suburbs. Through providing free laundry services, and engaging in meaningful conversations with their friends on the street every day, this organisation has spent 100 000 hours assisting those in need.

Always looking for volunteers and donations, this fantastic organisation provides us with great opportunities to make a difference. To find out more about the amazing cause, visit their website @ http://www.orangeskylaundry.com.au/.

White Ribbon Day

Each year, White Ribbon Day is celebrated on the 25th of November. This day is set aside to advocate for the eradication of violence against women. Originally established by a feminist men’s group in the early 1990s, in recent decades the White Ribbon movement has played a significant role in defending women from violence, and educating both boys and girls about the impact of such violence and abuse. Officially supported through the establishment of the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, this initiative is an important reminder for the need to speak out against the mistreatment of women, and advocate for the rights of all.

To find out more about the movement, or to show your support, visit the campaign’s website here.