Life on the streets is always tough. During winter, though, it becomes unbearable. Exhausting. You can see the homeless people all around. Squashed into an alcove, hidden near the entrance of an apartment block or a building, lying on a bench. People forgotten, alone, exposed to cold and rain.
If you dare to look into their eyes you will see desperation, fear, resignation. You may slow down for a minute and observe, but then most likely you will just carry on walking your way… Maybe because you don’t know how to approach them… Maybe because you don’t know how to handle your emotions at that moment… Maybe because you simply begin to believe it is their choice to be there…
For 26 days and despite the adverse weather conditions during the festive season, the Emfasis Foundation teams stood beside those, for whom holidays meant absolutely nothing. Those who did not spend New Year’s Eve in a warm house, nor with family or friends, but alone in the streets. Forgotten by almost everyone. Our aim was to meet them, to find out their names, to communicate with them, something they truly needed… whilst attempting to at least cover their basic needs.
We offered warm, snacks, we distributed sleeping bags and mats to comfort them. Overall, we met over 1500 people. We distributed tens of survival kits and hundreds of clothing items…
More importantly, we have already started to build a relationship with more than 20 of these people, something that could signal the beginning of their journey towards social reintegration.