It seems to be that Spring has finally arrived to Northern Ireland! I’m sure that some of us have been feeling the sudden burst of inspiration to book a Spanish holiday at the sheer sight and warmth of the sun. But as I was walking today and enjoying the nice weather, I thought to myself ‘Imagine if I was carrying a black bin bag today?’
It’s not a nice thought. But seriously, that’s a reality that some young people have to go through every day. Perhaps you find it hard to identify with what this might feel like. You see regardless of how we all travel, we generally travel with a bag. We own multiple suitcases, backpacks and handbags, each with their own job and purpose in our lives to get us from one place to another. But for some children in care, all they have is a plastic bin bag to move around with.
It’s hard for us to place ourselves in those shoes, but if you really think about it now; can you imagine it?
We all have good days and bad days, but imagine the repetitiveness of carrying everything you owned in a black plastic bag. Imagine secretly trying to hide it so that no one could see it. Imagine the smell of it on a hot day. Imagine how it would rip and drop the contents. What level of value is that speaking to someone? Children often feel like they lose their dignity as they carry all their belongings in the same bag they see others taking the rubbish out with. This often increases mental health issues, suicide, criminal records, poor school attendance, long term unemployment and early parenthood.
But we want to tell them that they are worth more than that. That they have dignity, that they are valuable and that they deserve to travel as the rest of us do- without a plastic bin bag. Everyone needs a champion, someone who believes in them and tells them that they are incredible.
Let’s continue to champion our young people in care by giving them the gift of a bag that says that they have #ValueWorthDignity!