Here we are in mid-December… 2020 is almost finished; a year where we became accustomed to things like 'self-isolation' and 'social distancing'.
Did you know that the Australian National Dictionary Centre’s word of the year was ‘iso’? Because we all had to experience isolation for a brief period of time. And that was WITH things like Facetime calls, Netflix accounts, and food delivered to our door.
Even with all of those things we still experienced hardship. We found out that it’s really tough not be connected to your community and the people around you.
Can you imagine what it must be like for someone living rough all of the time? Someone who feels disconnected from society on a daily basis? Someone who doesn’t even know where or if they’re going to sleep safely that night?
The fact of the matter is that 116,000 people in Australia sleep homeless every night. That’s one in every 200 people. And a quarter of those people are indigenous, despite Aboriginal people making up just three percent of Australia’s total population.
Lucas Patchett has spent the last 6 years of his life getting to know these people.
When he was 20 (yes, just 20 years old) he and his best mate Nic put a washing machine in the back of a van and set out to not only improve the sanitation and hygiene challenges faced by the homeless, but to connect with them... to converse, learn their stories, and treat them like fellow humans.
Their organisation, Orange Sky, has grown to have 33 vans across the country and in NZ, including in remote areas, and, most importantly, has engaged in almost 250,000 hours of positive conversations.
In this conversation we talk about the prevalence of homelessness and the depths to which it affects someone’s life. We talk about the importance of being connected in the community. And critically, we talk about what we can do to help our brothers and sisters, our friends as Orange Sky would say, who could use our help.
I mean, we’re coming into Xmas. We’re all buying stuff for loved ones, we’re probably going to go see family and friends, share time together & connect… but not everyone is so lucky.
This holiday season, consider giving a gift to someone who truly needs it. That could be donating to Orange Sky (who by the way this month have all donations matched dollar for dollar so you double your impact), or any other number of charities or groups helping others. This year more than anything, we’ve realised how important community is.
I think you’re going to really love this conversation. It’s full of stories from Orange Sky on the road, about how these two guys started this crazy journey, and it's full of optimism about how we can help and support each other to stay connected.
Please enjoy this chat with Co-founder of Orange Sky and former Young Australian of the year, Lucas Patchett OAM.
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