On any given night in Australia, 1 in 200 people are homeless.
That’s about 105,000 people.
Some find a bed in a boarding house for the night, some couch-surf at friends or relatives, some sleep rough and some are in supported accommodation or shelters.
About 44% are women.
Why are they homeless? There are plenty of reasons: unemployment, broken relationships, mental health issues; domestic violence. Homelessness Australia explains women’s homelessness in this fact sheet.
As a woman who holds both white and middle-class privilege, the idea of being homeless is alien. The idea that women in Australia cannot afford basic personal hygiene products—whether for their monthly period or due to light bladder leakage—was just as inconceivable until I became aware of the support group, Share the Dignity.
Share the Dignity seeks to fulfil one need in a needy world of homelessness. It provides homeless (and at risk) women with sanitary items they need but cannot afford. It’s giving them back some dignity.
Last year, I was one of thousands involved by filling some tote bags with sanitary items and other personal hygiene products and a few little luxuries – lip balm, hand cream, a candle, that sort of thing.
In just under one month—on Saturday 2 September—I’ve volunteered to run a Yoga 4 Dignity session at 8am at The Gap in suburban Brisbane. Share the Dignity hopes to recruit 48,000 participants across the nation to simultaneously stand, bend, stretch, breathe—and in our case, laugh—for our sisters in need.
There is nothing disrespectful about laughter yoga aligning with Share the Dignity. If anything, laughter yoga teaches us to reframe thinking. We become aware that we don’t need humour or good times in order to laugh—and that laughter can be the tonic needed to make us feel naturally better, even when life seems to be the absolute pits.
To join me in the (Laughter) Yoga 4 Dignity event, please register on Share the Dignity’s website. The cost is $20: it all goes to this cause.
If you don’t live near The Gap in Brisbane and do want to get involved in supporting Share the Dignity, search other Yoga4Dignity locations Australia-wide as well as the range of other events and ways to help.
(c) Heather Joy Campbell 2017
Founder of The Happydemic, Heather Joy Campbell is a certified laughter yoga teacher living in Brisbane, Australia, who delivers professional laughter wellbeing workplace workshops and seminars as well as training laughter yoga leaders across Queensland and running a giveback community-based ‘free’ laughter club.