On Friday, the Operation Mobilise team set out on a mission that was unlike any other. We decided to step out of our comfort zones & spend a night sleeping on the city streets – no phones, no food, no bed. It was so much harder than we could’ve imagined however it was one of the most eye-opening experiences. To bring change, we must be willing to walk in someone else's shoes to develop our understanding.
Heading into a warm summer night with open-minds and excitement we weren’t sure what to expect. Just hours before I was deciding whether I wanted to get a burger or a burrito for lunch & now I was trying to scavenge enough cardboard to use as comfortable bedding.
It wasn’t the hunger, or the fatigue or even the concrete that was most difficult, it was the way that people perceived us. As it went on, I was drained and even though it was only one night I felt insignificant and unworthy. So many people complain that those who are homeless are “lazy”, however it’s very easy to judge from a place of comfort, though the reality is it’s a combination of circumstances that have left people in the situation that they are.
Sleeping was unbelievably difficult; the persistent city sounds, drunk people walking around, people making disparaging comments to us or the cleaning trucks spraying water and dirt all over us as we tried to rest. After Friday, I'm inspired by the courage that they show in the face of such adversity, while still envisaging a brighter tomorrow.
We felt in the way of everyone, paradoxically however we were completely isolated and at times as if we were second-class citizens. I was unable to get any sleep due to fear, we were completely in the open and at everyone’s mercy, I felt so unsafe & it’s wrong because it’s everyone’s human right to feel safe and to have a home. By the morning our bodies were sore & even though it was a summer night the bitter cold was undeniable, how people endure this during winter is incomprehensible.
From the drunk lady who yelled at us for being insane, to the people who laughed at us saying we should have got a hotel and the disparaging looks from many as we simply tried to survive were enough to leave us feeling down however there were moments of bright optimism. A man who stopped to give us advice on where we could get blankets or the couple who stopped to give us chocolate and offered to let us stay at their house. It’s heart-warming to know that there are still people In the world who are willing to help out.
Even though this is a situation that no-one should ever find themselves in, I truly believe that there are a lot of people who want to help, they just need a platform and that’s what we want to provide so I encourage anyone who wants to get involved to reach out to us. This was one of the most challenging experiences, the revelation about the true strain on a person that feels so disengaged was startling.
Even the littlest hello can make a huge difference in the lives of those you meet. Lets be the generation that changes the way those who are struggling are perceived. If someone is below you, don’t look down on them but help them up. For us, it was only 12 hours and was the least that we could do to develop a perspective on the issue, however it has left us inspired to continue to change the world one life at a time. We're blessed to have a home to return too, it's our aim to ensure that everyone in our city has that some opportunity one day.
That's the link to our fundraiser, we set out on the streets to raise funds to help us fund care packages for our upcoming missions during the Christmas season, every little bit helps out. A small donation to you can make a huge difference & you will be sure that your donation will go straight to those who need it most. Thank you for your ongoing support & stay tuned for our upcoming video from the sleepout night where you can see what we learnt.
We have the opportunity to change the world, so why not us?