Remembering Missing Aussies With A Cup Of Coffee
Australians are being asked to look down at their coffee cups next week, in a bid to raise awareness for the thousands who go missing from our communities each year.
From Sunday, a number of cafes across Australia will serve coffee in special artist-designed biodegradable cups which feature the faces of eight Australians who have been missing for up to six years.
'The Unmissables' initiative -- led by Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) -- hopes to raise awareness of the 38,000 Australians who go missing every year.
Founder and CEO Loren O'Keefe said the campaign partnered families of long-term missing Australians with authors and artists to capture the "essence of the individual".
“The cups are so beautiful and striking, you don’t realise right away it’s about a long-term missing Australian," O’Keefe said.
"It’s a beautiful image of a person with a story."
O'Keefe started the network in 2013, two years after her own brother, Dan, went missing.
One of the eight Australians to be featured in the coffee cup campaign launching next week is missing Sydney man, Sevak Simonian.
Simonian was last seen in October 2014 when he left his home to go bushwalking.
His car was found at Kanangra-Boyd National Park in the NSW Central Tablelands the next day, but Simonian has not been seen or heard from since.
His brother, Sasoon Simonian, said the passing of time has not made it easier on his family since Sevak's disappearance.
"Because you’re holding onto that hope, it actually becomes more difficult," Sasoon said.
"You go through all sorts of phases."
“My brother had such a unique character and was such a special part of our family. The space he’s left behind in our family is very obvious. I always feel that presence because it was so strong.”
Sasoon said 'The Unmissables' campaign was important to not only raise awareness about missing people but about the need for support.
“It’s so important to reach out, and not be afraid to reach out if someone you know is going through something," he said.
“We need people to be talking about this, because life’s not all about the good times, it’s about the bad times as well. This could happen to anyone, so we need to support people who are going through this.”
National Missing Persons Week runs from August 4-10 this year.
Up to 100,000 coffee cups featuring the faces of missing Australians are expected to be sold across a number of partnered cafes, as part of the initiative.
On Monday a pop-up cafe in Martin Place in the Sydney CBD will serve coffees with the specially designed cups, while at AFL Round 20 matches at the MCG 20,000 cups will also be launched, MPAN said.
The missing persons selected for the campaign are all long-term missing people from across Australia:
Marty Tann - WA
Tej Chitnis - VIC
Lorrin Whitehead - VIC
Rigby Fielding - WA
Paul Rushworth - NSW
Leisl Smith - NSW
Terry Lloyd - QLD
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