Gini has been a volunteer with The Footpath Library in Melbourne for over two years. Through The Footpath Library, she provides books, glasses and warm clothes to people experiencing homelessness and those who live in public ad social housing. She volunteers because she loves to meet new people and form lasting bonds; she’s also passionate about breaking down stigma and making a difference.
Through the footpath library, she provides books, glasses and warm clothes to people experiencing homelessness and those who live in public housing.
Gini is particularly concerned about the stigma associated with homelessness. “The notion that the cause of homelessness is excessive drug use and alcoholism is over-exaggerated,” explains Gini. “The truth is that many people are forced into the tough situations they find themselves in.”
In her experience as a volunteer, many people experiencing homelessness are wanting to have their lives in order and are trying hard to do just that, and she is cognisant of the obstacles they come up against. For those people Gini talks to at the mobile library, their love of reading is a constant and something that brings them joy amongst the daily struggles.
“Reading is important,” says Gini. “Many enjoy politics, stories and naunced opinions on what they have learned together with their own life experiences; they’re always seeking to learn new perspectives.”
Volunteering has enabled Gini to find new friendships, to learn and open her mind. “I developed new skills to engage with people and volunteering gave me insight into homelessness,” explains Gini. “It really opened my eyes, and I became more aware. I have made some deep friendships. I didn’t foresee that happening, it was something that blossomed.”
December 5 is International Volunteer Day. It is a day the recognises the tireless work and contribution that volunteers make around the globe. The theme of International Volunteer Day 2022 is ‘Get Involved’. The Footpath Library says a big thank you to all our volunteers – without our volunteers, we would not be able to operate the mobile libraries and provide books and social connection for people experiencing homelessness.
If you would like to donate your time to a cause in your community, why not consider volunteering with The Footpath Library. We would love to hear from you!
This article was written by a volunteer! We thank Tharusha Galagedarage for donating his time to tell Gini’s story.