Diana has a unique perspective. She grew up watching her father live without a roof over his head.
By Megan Wright
Diana Kim is a young woman who knows a lot about homelessness. Not because she herself has been there but because she grew up watching her father face the struggles of a homeless existence.
The Hawaiian photographer writes about her father’s battle with a severe mental illness and homelessness, and her personal struggles in trying to assist him.
“Initially, I felt as if every fabric of my existence was tearing apart because I couldn’t ‘fix him,’ ” she wrote.
It’s not everyday you come across a woman with a perspective and a mission as unique as Diana’s. The law student, who has always had a passion for getting behind the camera, has now made it a personal goal to use her work to help those struggling with homelessness like her father was.
She has described this as her goal to “humanise homelessness” and give voices to those who are often missed or walked past in the street.
“I believe that this is an empowering opportunity that will allow them to control the narrative,” she writes.
“It’s not just an issue — my father isn’t an issue. He is a person. He is a human being.”
Diana has launched a kickstarter campaign to raise funds for this project, which she calls The Homeless Paradise, in hopes that she can be the missing link in sharing these narratives with the world.
After a year spent documenting homelessness on the streets of Honolulu, where her father was living at the time, Diana has also noted the importance of assisting with reintegration into society. Many homeless people lack the necessary identification and other important documentation that is vital for their social participation – either because it is stolen, lost or taken away.
So, alongside her photography project, the young law student is also teaming up with the team at CARE Medical History Bracelet to provide homeless people with USB bracelets that contain digitised copies of all their medical records.
Diana spent the summer before she began law school getting to know the men in this video, and she says that they were the driving force behind her decision to study law. She shares this powerful crossroads on her kickstarter page:
Darryl had told me,”Diana, you need to go, so you can use what you learn to help people like us.” I took his words to heart, and now I find myself hearing the echo of his powerful statement shared in the video:
“I don’t want to survive, I want to thrive. We need to get out of where we are, if that’s what we want. I don’t want to die here.”
With Diana’s skills, determination and passion driving this project, The Homeless Paradise has the capacity to evoke real change in the world.
Flick through to see some more of Diana’s amazing photography. Details on how you can donate to Diana’s kickstarter project are below.
Diana Kim is a photographer and law student in Hawaii. You can find out more about her project, The Homeless Paradise, via her website or Facebook page. You can donate to her fundraising campaign until January 7 at kickstarter.com
This article originally appeared on MamaMia.