Around the world, homelessness is a pervasive and complex issue that many countries face. At a basic level, homelessness exists where people lack safe and appropriate living places. People who live in overcrowded places due to inadequate financial resources are included in this conversation, as are those who live in temporary structures.
People become homeless for a number of reasons, which can be broadly categorised into two perspectives: system and individual. From a system angle, a society that lacks affordable housing or health services, or has an economy going through hard times, can pose a significant challenge to people who are close to homelessness. At an individual level, it can happen to people who are unemployed, those who are unable to work without assistance, and those who work but don’t make enough to meet their needs.
Typically, the first line of defence for an individual going through challenging times is to call on friends and family to assist. In many instances, however, people who end up being homeless have not only suffered through some of the situations outlined above, but they’ve also slipped through this line of defence. In their time of need, with few personal connections to reach out to, they end up experiencing homelessness.
The UK, like many other countries, is also dealing with the sad reality of homelessness. A number of organisations and individuals have stepped up the campaign against homelessness, many through raising awareness and funds to address the issue. During Christmas 2015, one of the more impactful campaigns raising awareness was carried out by ADOT Foundation, which ran a campaign to raise funds to assist the more than 90,000 people identified as homeless in the UK.
In a move that was hard to ignore, ADOT found real homeless people for its campaign and wrapped them in Christmas lights. The tag for the campaign, ‘This Christmas there will be over 93,000 homeless people. What will it take for you to see them?’ was to help raise awareness and promote the message of acceptance [CharitableWorkdoc-pg21]. Driving this campaign was Ajab Samrai, a chief creative officer with over three decades of experience in the global advertising industry. Mr. Samrai has had a successful career helping global brands effectively advertise their products and services, and he’s also used his skills to advocate social and voluntary work.
Based on the idea that the homeless people on the streets seemed ‘invisible’ to society, ADOT came up with the idea of the Christmas lights to illuminate an issue at a time of year when people gather with family. The campaign aired on various platforms, including press, television, social media and cinemas, with the support of public figures such as Barbara Winsor, Jon Snow and Mitch Winehouse, among others. Proceeds from the campaign were given to two charities involved in empowering homeless people: The New Horizon Youth Centre and the Amy Winehouse Foundation.
At the heart of ADOT’s work is a drive to encourage people to embrace the similarities that exist between us as a way of dealing with conflict and disconnect, rather than focusing on the differences. The Foundation’s logo calls for peace, encouraging people to look beyond the small differences and instead see the bigger picture.
The premise that drives ADOT is to make people aware of their true self and their relationship with the world around them. The Foundation is focused on raising awareness of the need for people to discover and embrace the compelling character traits that exist within people and help bring them closer to each other. In this way, people can see that their hopes and fears don’t exist in isolation, but rather are shared by all.