The Power of Hope

Kon Karapanagiotidis

The Power of Hope
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The Power of Hope

Kon Karapanagiotidis

Readings will donate $2 from every sale of The Power of Hope to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre until 31 July, 2018.

‘I hope you take from this book the message that we all matter. That there is a place for all of us.  That once we know our own voice, live the values close to our hearts and follow our dreams, we can be unstoppable. Hope is only exhausted if we forsake ourselves, otherwise no one can take hope away from us. It is both our sanctuary and our destiny to live a life with love, belonging, connection and community.’

A powerful, heartfelt and inspiring memoir from one of Australia’s leading human rights advocates, Kon Karapanagiotidis, The Power of Hope tells the story of how Kon overcame his traumatic childhood of racism, bullying and loneliness to create one of Australia’s largest and best-loved human rights organisations, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, which has gone on to transform the lives of thousands of refugees and has helped build a movement.

A book about how love, compassion, kindness and courage can transform our communities and ourselves, The Power of Hope shows us in times of darkness, both personal and political, that if we stand as one we can shine brightly and fiercely - as together we are powerful.

Review

A recent decision by the Australian government to cut income support for thousands of asylum seekers has meant the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) has reached breaking point. The ASRC relies on donations and has already almost run out of food for their food bank, which supports more than 600 people per week. Kon Karapanagiotidis, CEO and founder of the ASRC, decided it was time to open the ASRC to the public and, on a recent freezing winter Sunday morning, he put a call out on social media for donations of food, blankets and winter coats. Two thousand people turned up to the centre in Footscray to contribute food and clothing and Karapanagiotidis was there at the door to shake hands with each and every donor, thanking them for their contribution. Such is the power of hope. It is this that has inspired and kept Karapanagiotidis fighting, despite his own personal struggle with life.

Mercilessly bullied and teased at school for being an outsider, he found solace in books, to which he credits his learning of empathy and compassion for others. His family life was also difficult and upon finishing high school, he was so filled with self-loathing and an inability to help himself, that he decided the best thing he could do was help others. Over the next decade he volunteered at several different charities while studying to become a social worker and eventually a lawyer. The ASRC was born from a TAFE class he was teaching called Community Work where he decided the class should start their own charity as a class project. The ASRC is now the largest organisation helping asylum seekers in Australia.

This is an incredibly personal, honest and moving book. Kon Karapanagiotidis wants to share the anguish and suffering he has experienced and the steps he took to overcome his shame in the hope that others will not have to suffer as he has. The last few chapters outline how the reader can make practical changes to help others as well as help themselves.


Kara Nicholson is part of the online Readings team

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