Student voice 30 Mar 2020

Tackling homelessness tent by tent

By Rishi P, grade 12
Photograph by Rishi P

There is no doubt that homelessness is one of the root causes of a number of world issues we face today. As an Indian, I have seen the widespread effects of homelessness, and know that it is a global issue that must be solved. 

billionBricks’ is a non-profit organisation that inspired me with their unique and dedicated approach to tackling homelessness. My journey with billionBricks started about a year ago when, during Social Justice Week, a key member of their team visited Lakeside to encourage students to take action. 

Their mission is innovative: they’re aiming to provide weatherHyde, an all season life-saving tent, to homeless families so that they can survive in harsh outdoor conditions and improve their quality of life. Homelessness is a significant issue, and my aim is to promote this cause to the CIS community. 

Along with a few friends, I set up the BillionBricks service club as a part of the Global Issues Network (GIN) in school. We geared the service club towards secondary school students who were passionate about the topic and willing to put in the effort to help make a change. My three main club goals were:

  1. To raise awareness about the issue of homelessness within the broader CIS community

  2. To incentivise people to take action and show them how they can make a difference

  3. To raise funds for billionBricks

We wanted to give billionBricks the recognition that it deserves, so after some brainstorming, we decided to sell billionBricks merchandise to the CIS community. We sold t-shirts and bracelets before and during Social Justice Week 2020 to students, and raised about $550 in total; all of which went to billionBricks. Despite the relatively small scale of our fundraising efforts, I believe that small-sized initiatives like these are ideal for kickstarting similar movements. There is no doubt in my mind that the skills I have gained from managing the billionBricks service club will be of great value to me in the future. Whether it is organisational skills or leadership skills, being a part of the billionBricks initiative has been an excellent experience, and I will definitely continue my involvement with this non-profit organisation in the near future.