Blogs Reports

World Day of Social Justice: Thank You All Volunteers!


Reported by John

Published on Tuesday, March 12th, 2024

Accommodation Community Recovery
Blogs Reports

World Day of Social Justice: Thank You All Volunteers!


Written by John

Published on Tuesday, March 12th, 2024

Accommodation

Community

Recovery

Hello everyone, it’s John Chiko yet again, and today I want to say Thank You All Volunteers who give their time and energy volunteering for organisations that deliver social change, in celebration of World Day of Social Justice. Without volunteers, this world would be a lot colder. Without you, many voices would go unheard, many hearts would remain broken, and many minds would shatter. I really do mean it. I needed help and thankfully people that had the ear to listen and the heart to feel, gave me some of their time and energy to help me with my woes.

The World Day of Social Justice is the best day for me to give my thanks to the amazing people and organisations that helped me past my period with homelessness and the depression that accompanied it. Before I get into that, first, what is World Day of Social Justice? It is an international day that recognises the need to promote social justice, which includes efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion, gender inequality, unemployment, human rights, and social protection.

The United Nations General Assembly decided to observe 20th February annually which was approved on the 26th November 2007 and in 2009 was the first World Day of Social Justice . The Declaration focuses on guaranteeing fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, fundamental principles, and rights.

This is a perfect day for me to remember the great people and organisations that helped in my darkest time when I had no place to live and when I had no one to talk to. I would first like to thank Irene who worked at YMCA and helped me get my first room through the organisation, in which I stayed in for nine months as that is how long that they had the property before it was sold. She is the one who helped enter the system and begin my first steps out of homelessness.

Secondly, I would like to thank Barrisford, the man that offered me a room – and a sofa to sleep on depending on the circumstances – in his own house, as I had been sleeping in ‘rough sleepers’ Salvation Army  on a stretcher in a room with other full of other homeless men. Through him, I was able to have someone to talk to, an ear to listen to me and a surrogate father figure when I was going through issues with my own father.

Of course, I thank Salvation Army, as it is through them that I was able to get my second room at the Gateway, managed by Citizen Housing. Finally, it is through Citizen Housing that I was able to get my council studio flat that I am currently living in and writing this very report.

My experience with homeless, sad and painful as it was, allowed me to meet many great people with big hearts full of love. I met good people that were willing to help, even when they themselves were in pain. These people helped me mature and instilled in me a sense of knowing and responsibility concerning the people and the environment around me. I learnt that it is not enough to live for yourself, for even doing that would be neglecting yourself.

The people and the environment around you affect your health and wellbeing, to neglect them is to neglect those things. It is essential that the world gets more people who have a sense of social responsibility to provide social justice to those that need and deserve it.

Thank you to all that helped me in my darkest hour, for you all helped me in my path towards the light.

Written by John


Hello everyone, my name is John Chikondewa Mpaso and I am 29 years old. I am from Harare, Zimbabwe and I have lived in England for 19 years now. Ever since moving to England in 2004, I have lived in Coventry, where I attended Secondary School and Sixth Form at Lyng Hall School. Currently I am an Outreach Officer for an organisation called ININI which focuses on providing mental health services to Migrant and Local Communities. I am also Commitee Secretary for an organisation called CARAG (Coventry Asylum Refugee Action Group), which specialises in providing a range of services for Migrants and Refugees living in Coventry and the West Midlands. I become involved with ListenUp!, through a recommendation by the previous Commitee Chair of CARAG Lorraine Mponela, who shared with the group the opportunity to become a Volunteer Community Journalist for Groundswell, who would be able to capture the stories, thoughts and ideas of people who are experiencing homelessness within the areas they are a living in. Due to my own experience with homelessness and that of the people that I work with and know personally, I believed that I was in the position to capture real life stories, real time that can legitimately describe the various issues that cause homelessness to the people that live in Coventry. I believe that it is my duty to tell the real story of the homeless crisis that is being faced by the people of Coventry, both migrant and native, as I hear and see their stories play out everyday and I believe that it is on fact on one big story, that needs to be shared with the world, so that we all may truly understand the true causes of homelessness, including the many dangers and hardship that it brings forth to the people that are experiencing it. The people that I work with are my biggest inspiration, as they come in many forms like colleagues, friends and family, which has shown me that what makes humanity one, is our thoughts and feelings. It is our actions and what we do for humanity that will truly create a change, and it is up to us to take on that responsibility. It's time to Listen Up! and Make a change.

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