“There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.”
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Faces Speak is a social media campaign which includes a true story not only narrated by Nicholas Waithe, a Rotarian and personal friend from my island Barbados, but is actually one he experienced up front and center. He was ‘homeless for 24 hours’ and yes, this exercise was part of a much bigger project but Nicholas admits he will never be the same … because the struggle of the homeless is real whether we willingly acknowledge their existence or not.
I couldn’t find any stats on the number of homeless people in Barbados currently but my Google search kept referring me to a study performed in 2005 by The United Nations which offered a global perspective:
“The last time a global survey was attempted – by the United Nations in 2005 – an estimated 100 million people were homeless worldwide and as many as 1 billion people lacked adequate housing.”
That statement alone caught my attention because 100 million people is a whole lot of people and this number has most likely increased 10 years later but the article went on to clarify:
“Getting an accurate picture of global homelessness is extremely challenging. Definitions of homelessness vary from country to country. Census data is typically collected based on household and, while most census data takes into account those living in shelters and receiving government aid, census takers struggle to count the “hidden homeless” – those who may be residing in inadequate settlements such as slums, squatting in structures not intended for housing, couch surfing with friends and family, and those who relocate frequently.”
I have offered a few brief thoughts on homelessness here and here but wanted to take the opportunity to share this powerful and moving video now that it has finally been released. I am truly amazed at, and so very proud of Nicholas’ bravery! It takes a real man to believe in something so passionately that he would consciously agree to be ‘homeless as well as hungry’ for 24 long hours. Please take a moment to listen as Nicholas encourages us as human beings to step out, to see beyond the blinkers we deliberately place over our eyes, to actively play our part in listening to the messages sent via the faces of the homeless and hungry that speak so clearly to us, and to do the right thing.
So have you seen someone who is hungry, homeless or hurting recently? It doesn’t matter where you live because we know they are everywhere, but the real questions of course are: do you really see them, and can you truly hear them?
Let’s include showing a little compassion and reaching out to another human being who may be less fortunate as a definite resolution for 2016 – if you don’t make resolutions just go out and do it anyway! – because together we can indeed make this world a much better place.
Something to think about as you forward this message on to others, especially during the holiday season.
“We have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem that we just can’t solve.”
“Homeless for 24” is part of a social media campaign entitled Faces Speak which was designed to raise awareness of the homeless and poor in our society. The campaign seeks to encourage people to assist in any way they can to support the Organizations and Charities right here in Barbados, that work tirelessly around the clock 365 days a year to care for and support persons living in unfortunate circumstances. Read more about this initiative on the Faces Speak FB page.