I started giving to the Brotherhood of St Laurence after finishing university and getting a full-time job. This time was in itself the culmination of several years of getting onto my feet.
Having left home in bad circumstances as a teenager, my sister and I spent nearly a year with first-hand experience of poverty, including homelessness and domestic violence.
I guess you could call it an ‘Oliver Twist’ experience. From this I was determined to become educated and less socially vulnerable myself, but also to not forget the people still in disadvantaged positions.
I didn’t want to develop selfish or hypocritical politics. Giving to charities is a simple way of reflecting this commitment.
I believe the effects of unfairness can be utterly crushing, both on the individual and on society as a whole. But I also believe in the transformative powers of giving someone the benefit of the doubt, refraining from judgement and helping them get on their feet.
This is our shared responsibility. In this sense my outlook aligns with the values of the Brotherhood, and I’m very impressed with their drive and vision.
I especially like the fact that the Brotherhood is not a passive charity. It speaks up on issues, investigates thoroughly and spearheads research into the structural causes of poverty. And I like the op shops – the Brunswick Road store is brilliant!