Hi, my name is Emily (aka The Home Alchemist) and I am the founder of Here Comes Hope.
Within 10 hours on 18th January 2003, 4 people had died and over 500 homes were destroyed when a ferocious fire storm impacted residential areas in Canberra, ACT AUSTRALIA.
My parents home was in one of the worst affected streets, directly across from a large pine tree plantation. With no warning or comprehension of what was about to happen we were forced to flee in a car. Within minutes both sides of the road were alight and we knew we would be lucky to get out alive – thankfully we did however, my parent’s home, their two cars and all of their belongings were destroyed.
As a feng shui consultant and teacher, I had a long time passion for ‘home’ and what it meant to people. On this day everything changed, as I mentally grappled with what ‘tools’ would help those who’d been affected and become physically and/or emotionally ‘suddenly homeless’.
I started by researching the term ‘homelessness’ and discovered that Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Program defined it as:
‘An inadequate experience of connectedness with family and or community’
I was fascinated and somewhat impressed, that there was no reference to a physical dwelling or structure.
It confirmed my belief that even amidst great adversity and loss, people can have a still sense of home, so long as they have resilient community connections and the right support. With these in place, they also have a strong foundation on which to build their new life.
For over 10 years under the banner of ‘Suddenly Homeless: The Journey Home Project’, I connected with other bushfire and natural disaster survivors. However others also reached out – people who’d experienced personal disasters such as the loss of a loved one, divorce or health challenges (to name a few) and had resonated with the message I was sharing. It was clear that many people are on a journey home from trauma, grief and loss.
I started to reassess my project and what I was trying to actually achieve. Turned out it’s quite simple….I wanted to bring people, particularly disaster survivors HOPE.
Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear.
If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. – Thich Nhat Hanh
I wanted to bring people HOPE that they can and someday WILL feel at home in themselves, life and the world again. I truly believe that when people have this kind of hope, they can achieve anything!
It felt like time to refresh the project and start anew as ‘HERE COMES HOPE’.
To spread the message of hope, I wrote an endearing children’s story about two characters Disaster and Hope. It’s actually a story for ALL ages and has already ignited hope in many people’s hearts. It embeds some fundamental ideas to help anyone on a journey home.
To fast track getting the message out I’ve recorded the story as the first episode on a podcast I have been working on. In future episodes I will share more about my own disaster experience and insights and tips (including how I recovered from PTSD) and hopeful stories from other disaster survivors too.
My Mum and I also started a blanket club for people who have been made ‘suddenly homeless’ inspired by a blanket we were given through the 2003 #WrapUpCanberra project.
You can learn more at the Blanket Club page.
Whatever has brought you here, I pray that ‘home’ is always a safe and sacred word to you, and that Hope is always by your side…
Lots of love,
Emily J Rooney aka The Home Alchemist
More info: www.emilyjr.com
Here Comes Hope HQ is located on Bundjalung Country, in Northern NSW, Australia.
We acknowledge all traditional custodians of this land and celebrate their enduring connections to Country, knowledge and stories.
We pay our respects to Elders and ancestors who watch over us and guide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.