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.

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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.

The road to Anti-Poverty Week

Hasn’t this year just flown? Before we know it, we’ll be setting up the tree and hanging up lights for another Christmas season. Though I’m excited for the silly season to arrive, I think right now I’m feeling just as excited to celebrate another key event in the 2017 Social Justice Calendar.

This event, the annual Australian Anti-Poverty Week, is being led from Monday, October 16th, to Friday, October 20th, and invites us to take action on supporting those living in extreme poverty across the globe. Events in celebration of the week are being held in most states across the nation, and are a great way of joining the movement to end poverty and be an advocate for human rights within your local community. As global citizens, it is our responsibility to recognise the importance of placing the needs of the vulnerable and oppressed as our priorities, for the benefit of future generations and harmony across the world.

Change starts with taking initiative, being motivated, putting others first, and being a voice for the voiceless. Change starts with us, and without that change, our world wouldn’t already be as close as it is now to eliminating poverty. To find out more about Anti-Poverty Week – and to find events being led in your local community – visit the initiative’s official website here.

International Day of Charity

In the coming weeks, the United Nations will be celebrating their annual ‘International Day of Charity’. A yearly event lead on the 5th of September, this day is set aside to acknowledge the vital significance of generous charity in the process of not only eradicating global poverty, but many contemporary issues faced by the global community. The United Nations acknowledge the important part played by non government organisations in the instilling of human rights, and therefore deem this celebration to be one of great relevance and significance in their annual calendar.

One of many significant landmarks of the United Nation’s year, the ‘International Day of Charity’ is an important reminder of our call as global citizen’s to act in ways that improve the livelihood of our brothers and sisters across the planet. To find out more about this celebration and the good works of the United Nations, be sure to visit the event’s official website here.

Oaktree – Be the change

Oaktree is a fantastic youth-led Australian organisation focused on promoting human rights and the needs of those living within developing nations. Known for their yearly Live Below the Line initiative, this group of devoted young people stop at nothing to make a positive difference for those living difficult lives across the globe.

At the moment, Oaktree is turning its focus to investing in leadership within high schools across the country. Students aged 15+ now have the chance to apply to become Student Ambassadors within their schools, leading social justice initiatives and developing valuable leadership skills over the course of this semester. The organisation is super excited to get this fantastic initiative up and running. If you are interested in becoming a Student Ambassador, or want to find out more about the role, visit the website here.

‘What is poverty?’

We’re passionate about creating awareness around the issue of poverty. Of course, you know this by now. Recently we wrote an article for our friends at Togatus about misconceptions of poverty, which has recently been published in their second issue of the year. To read our article, and many others revolving around the intriguing theme of ‘Myths and Misconceptions’, visit the document here. We’re found on page 42, and we hope you enjoy.