The Adventure Begins
Inside every human is a yearning for adventure. We desire to learn, grow, see new sights, to go beyond ourselves and have our horizons broadened. It is how we were made. We were made for adventure.
Our journey so far at Oi has certainly been an adventure like no other. With over 1000 hats donated in the first 10 weeks, we want to invite you to celebrate the journey so far with us, as we look back in gratitude over the last three months.
On 16th December 2016, the adventure began. After 6 months of hard work behind the scenes and with the click of a button, the website was launched. In just 24 hours, over 100 beanies were sent out, much to the delight of our local post office. Nevertheless, despite the success of the apparel itself, the most exciting aspect of all was the clear desire from those locally in Northern Ireland and across the globe to see real change come to the homeless in their communities.
With this focus in mind, we made our first trip across the border on 12th January 2017 to engage with the homeless in Dublin. These interactions were not only powerfully compelling, but also incredibly inspiring. Relationships were established, hope was given, and the stories that were discovered there have continued to challenge online followers to the present day.
As a result of the growing number of sales, we were also able to donate 60 beanies to The Lighthouse, a homeless charity and refuge centre in Dublin, to support their work on the streets. Getting to watch the staff at The Lighthouse speak life into the lives of the homeless and distribute our products affirmed our faith in the importance of giving and establishing relationships. Even the smallest gift can make a monumental difference.
By donating to homeless charities in Belfast, Dublin, Carlisle, Manchester, and Glasgow over the last 12 weeks, we have been able to get alongside the ongoing work that these organisations do across the UK to help see homelessness combatted for good. We believe that gaining the advice of local homeless charities and offering support to them is crucial for the movement, as their insight and compassion for the homeless in their communities is invaluable.
On the 24th January 2017, the adventure continued. As a team we were invited to Knockahollet Primary School for the first “Oi Talk”. As excited children flooded the assembly hall, we raised awareness on the issue of homelessness by inviting younger generations to put themselves in the shoes of those living on the streets. In February, positive feedback was received from the teachers. The children were eagerly asking more questions and many encouraged their parents to partake in the movement.
Amongst these exciting occurrences, David Johnston, the founder of Oi, shares his highlights on the journey so far:
“It’s the days when we get to hand over the hats that are put aside for donation that I look forward to the most , whether that's on the streets or with a charity. Getting to spend time listening to these incredible people's stories fuels my passion to see transformational change. Although it’s great to see people buying into the brand, and enjoying the hats – this is only the surface. The stories that we have received from those interacting with the homeless, and seeing negative perceptions being changed in numerous communities has been our biggest highlight. That is the core of what we are about and it excites me”
We have been deeply encouraged by the overwhelming amount of support that has come from all over the world. Homelessness is a global issue, and we aspire to see it conquered in every location it affects. With support from China to the USA, people across the globe are hungry to be a part of movement, from the purchasing of products to the offering of practical help.
Our priority lies with creating products that benefit the homeless. Therefore, with the coming launch of our new products the focus continues to be on encouraging interaction and improving the lives of those living on the streets.
Our journey at Oi is an adventure that aims to see real change occur, and lives transformed. We are so thankful for all those who have chosen to take a step out of their comfort zones and be a part of the adventure with us. With your valued support, we journey forward with anticipation for the future.
The story is continuously being written, and as we look forward to more adventures to come, we continue to invite you to be an integral part of helping to rewrite the story of homelessness in your community.
Come and be a part of the adventure.
- Judy Shaw