I’m aware that’s a pretty bold statement to make, especially considering that the UK provides the likes of the NHS and Education to us for free. However, in a continually changing world, it seems increasingly more difficult to help everyone who is in need. This failure does not lie solely with just the Government but with every single citizen residing in society, including me.
How easy is it to walk down the street past numerous homeless people and not give them anything or walk past another charity collection bucket? For me, I feel overwhelming guilt walking past those who appear to have nothing, especially when I’ve sat and complained about something they could only dream of having. Sometimes, I even question if their circumstances are really as bad as they make them out to be, partly because I know no different from the media and the people around me.
To me, the media portrays those in need as ‘benefit scroungers’, ‘addicts’ or even simply ‘lazy’ and ‘taking the easy route’, and without a doubt that plays on our unconscious bias to alter the way we see those in need.
Whilst reading ‘The Roles We Play’ by ATD 4th World, one particular comment really stood out to me from a disabled mother of three called Moraene:
“I am of value to my community and to society but I’m invisible to those who do not know me and stigmatised bu the headlines they read.”
It’s so easy to discount disabled, unemployed and homeless people of not fully being able to contribute in a meaningful way, however throughout the ATD report, it became clear that those are the people who are the most generous. They give up countless hours of their time to help those in greater need than themselves, and will persevere no matter the circumstance, to ensure that they and their families can have an ‘adequate’ lifestyle.
They are striving for adequate. Enough to have a roof over their head and a little to eat. Nothing extravagant or unnecessary, and to me that is definitely something I need to adapt to and strive towards.
As a society, I know there is so much more we can do. Whether it be a kind smile to a stranger on the street, buying someone lunch or volunteering to spend time doing something for other people, we should give it our very best shot because we never know when it could hit us or our closest friends and family.
“There’s no such things as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” – Scott Adams