As Christmas celebrations commence and 2016 nears its end I want to take a moment to reflect. This year my eyes have been opened to global hardships as well as heartwarming miracles.
Spending the beginning of 2016 in poverty-ridden Central American countries, I now realise that most of us in England are blessed.
On the one hand, I saw beauty – the Central American country Honduras is magical. It is home to luscious rain-forests, soft sandy beaches and quaint colonial towns. Yet, on the other hand, I saw ugliness – Honduras is named the murder capital of the world; 75% of the rural population live in poverty and drug cartels poison the way of life.
I knew that after I had been lucky enough to explore the forests, swim in lagoons and visit fascinating museums I could return to my easy life in England. It did not seem fair. I wanted to help but had no idea how to.
Returning to the country I call home – England, I would see things differently. Yes – in the UK we have social structures in place (benefits, help to work schemes and incredible charities) But we are far from perfect.
While, there is considerably less poverty in England than in Honduras, there are still problems that need to be addressed.
Every night in the UK 3,595 people sleep on the streets. No one chooses to be homeless.
Instead of striving to fix problems in other countries, I think charity should start at home.
The Charity Crisis provides shelters for those without a home this Christmas. The shelters have salons, showers, food, entertainment (karaoke, arts and crafts, games and pantomimes). The centres are run completely by volunteers.
I completed my first shift yesterday at one of the crisis day centres. My tasks ranged from cleaning the site, to registering guests. Every task is vital to the running of the centres.by simply standing at a door welcoming and directing people away from an out of bounds room or serving meals you will be helping to make someone’s Christmas that little bit special.
If we think about all the global injustices and hardships we will drive ourselves mad. Instead, let’s do a little bit whereever we are in the world to make another’s life a bit more bearable.
Volunteering is not going to instantly fix any problems but it will bring a little joy into someone else’s life. Whether that is during an hour long conversation, a two second smile or giving someone on the street a sandwich, it is possible to spread some love this Christmas.
I hope you all have a fun festive season and appreciate everything you have this year.
I want to say a massive thank you to everyone that has been reading my blog. I am grateful to you all. I am also thankful for my home, friends and family. It has been an insightful year and I am excited for another year full of more learning.
Merry Christmas, Happy Channukah and season’s greetings!