Dargaville High School Students recently went to the ‘Create1World’ creative activism conference in Auckland and entered its competition, winning the social studies category for their project about homelessness.
The students slept outside in cardboard boxes to experience what it was like to be homeless and made a documentary about their experience.
“You don’t realise how tough it can be until you actually experience it… we all thought the next morning ‘how do other people do this for such a prolonged amount of time?,” says one of the students Michaela Jenkins-Stevenson.
The group chose the homeless for their project because of an increase over the years.
“That’s part of the reason why we are so passionate about it, because it’s not really improving,” says Michaela.
Jasmine Rae added that “homeless isn’t always about just being on the streets, it can be living in your auntie’s garage or in a car. There’s a lot more around than people can see”.
Student Dylan Kani says the whole experience “was real eye opener into how much of an issue this really is in New Zealand and how much it needs to be looked into… if you are in that situation, definitely seek help, like going to the James Liston Hostel,” a homeless shelter where the students volunteered the night before the conference.
“Empathy and understanding are key I think,” says Michaela. “For people to just get the word out that it’s happening and not really improving I think is really important. Because with that will come change.”