Over the years I have housed, many young people, who's families have become weary and unable to cope and/or society has given up on. In 1986 it was a young fella who had been wounded by life and had just come out of youth detention. In 1998 it was a group of 'street kids' that were sleeping under the bridge. The girls were selling themselves for food and a place to sleep.
Over the last five years from 2005 I have housed approximately 10 young people. Mostly kids with difficult behaviours and mostly to give their families some respite from the heavy energy these young ones create, but at times it was more than that, at times it was to provide them with something that other people were already getting paid to deliver. Sometimes children as young as 12 years old had nowhere else to go. The systems have grown tired of what they view as individual problematic children and the helping industry has become just that an industry, where issues of money, time and self care, have become unbalanced and take precedence over human dignity.
For myself and what I do, I don't like the term 'carer' as it implies that caring for someone has become a industrial position or career. I use the word "housed" instead of care because I don't presume to know if the kids that come my way feel cared for by me. What I do know is that I give them what Australia says is a human right; a safe place to lay their head at night and private space to shelter from the elements. My philosophy is that I am not helping them, they are providing me with an opportunity to explore my humanness.
As a spiritual warrior my battle is always with the self.
I do not receive money for these kids, no pensions or payment of any kind. What I do receive is the knowledge that perhaps my home has been a stepping stone to a new way of being or a safe harbour from the rough seas of life, perhaps I have learnt something that will bring me closer to being the person I want to become
I grow weary myself now and must take time to examine my motives further, I am frustrated at the systems that dump these kids in the too hard basket, I am sad that I can see some simple solutions for people who are screaming out for a better life but the funds set aside for marginalised people are being used to create an industry that is not what it claims to be.
For the moment I must be content to work for justice in my own small way however; I DO HAVE A DREAM:
That one day with the a group of like minded people, we will create a 'place', a bush boarding school. Where young people coming out of youth detention can rest their head at night, catch, prepare and cook themselves a feed, do some hard manual labour and be educated academically and socially. A place where they will learn what it feels like to create for themselves a life worth living.
Like in the Murundak story these kids will be able to tell their story in their way and THEY will define what it is to be "successful" "happy" "rich" and because of their past they will have skills that University trained Professionals do not have and maybe just maybe the "helping industry" will become obsolete.