THE CHARITY DIVE

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t is  a pleasure to introduce a wonderful initiative for a homeless person, an effort that goes beyond providing him/ her with just the bare necessities. Sometimes, what all of us really need  is  a show of support, a memorable experience or merely an act of thoughtfulness. Even a glimmer of hope, of something better to come, can often change our lives completely.

One such thought came to Marc Khoo, who is the Co-founder of Onely and currently Global Director of ONEWorld Summit. He is currently residing in Melbourne, studying his third year of a Bachelor of Art (Psychology) and a Bachelor of Business (Management) course at Monash University. Marc believes in having true and honest relationships with everyone around him and seeing the value in every individual. Translating that to a much grander ideal, he believes  that the youth can truly cause a change in today's society and world if they adopt this new mindset of collaboration rather than caring just  for themselves. He envisions the future generations working together to solve problems and changing the way businesses are run and the way lives are lived, all simply by connecting better with people and being open enough to shift their mind-sets. 

According to 2011 Census,  there are 105,237 people in Australia who are homeless. Out of these, 1,302 people reside in Melbourne alone.

Courtesy of Homelessness Australia ( http://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/index.php/about-homelessness/homeless-statistics)

Courtesy of Homelessness Australia ( http://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/index.php/about-homelessness/homeless-statistics)

Marc came up with a unique idea to provide a memorable experience to a homeless person in Melbourne. He had won a skydiving voucher and decided to give it  to someone who could never have dreamt of such an experience. The complete event would comprise of a lunch, a haircut, new clothes, dinner and accommodation for 3 nights together with the skydiving voucher. This will take place on March 29, 2014 and through this Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/events/384818201659502/?ref=2&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming), people can keep updated on the progress.

BillionBRICKS (bB) will support this cause by arranging for the beneficiary's accommodation. Marc’s friends are his predominant supporters at the moment but he is looking forward to have more organizations and donors commit to this cause.

A needy person will get the opportunity to splurge and indulge and think beyond his/her struggle for day to day survival. While the role of conventional charitable initiatives is unquestionable in making a difference in the lives of people, an event such as this could be a life changing opportunity.  It could make someone believe that they too deserve to have wonderful memories. It would encourage them to think that they can get out of their plight towards a better life ahead.

As I discussed this further with Marc, several aspects emerged. Here is a summary of our conversation:

bB:  How is this lucky person going to be chosen?

Marc: Initially, I attempted to go out on the streets weeks before to meet homeless people and find out their story. I really wanted to ensure that the individual that gets this opportunity deserves it. However, I’ve struggled with the idea of speaking to strangers on the street and after a discussion with a friend, we decided that on the morning of the project, we are going to be giving out cheeseburgers to as many homeless people we can reach out to and use the act of giving food to them to open up a conversation. Through that, we believe we will come across an individual whose demeanor or story will connect with us. 

bB: Do you plan tofollow  up  on his/ her journey after this event and see if it had any impact at all?

Marc: Yes, we definitely do! Through this project, I hope that not just me, but my friends who are joining me would sacrifice their time and energy to be a life-changing force in this individual’s life. I would be content if in my life, I can personally impact someone’s life for the better.

bB: The money spent for a   nice dinner and stay for 3 nights could be similar to fulfilling some basic needs such as sending a child to school for a few months?  Would you really say that the unique experience takes precedence over bare necessities?

Marc: This unique experience is neither more required nor less required than bare necessities. They each play a different role in impacting someone’s life. I believe that an experience such as this is valuable not just for the beneficiary but also for the supporters. For the beneficiary, this experience would show that people in this world are not just set on giving the disadvantaged the bare minimum but the world really wants to let them experience and enjoy life to the fullest. For the supporters, by giving an experience such as this one to someone who can be transformed so much by it; it will help us build a much stronger relationship with that individual. I think we have been grown immune to the act of giving basic needs and we need to see that it is in our ability to give more than that to others. 

bB: If you get the support, would you consider making this event a recurring one?

Marc: Definitely! I would love to be able to create an experience again and not just for a homeless individual, but even maybe for an orphan who has gone through some tough times and needs to know that his generation is supportive of his/her dreams. 

Marc and bB would love to extend this conversation to include the beneficiary as well as you, dear readers. Please feel free to let us know of your questions and comments. We will document this entire process and include your questions when we interview the beneficiary before and after the event.Also, if you would like to donate  please click here: http://www.pozible.com/project/179640

Stays tuned for more updates after the event on March 29, and remember to spread the word in the meantime.

Brinda SenguptaComment