Institutionalization is said to take place after 2 years of being in a specific situation. In #HomelessEntrepreneur's case, we have just celebrated our 2 year anniversary of sleeping out in the street between 1-4 days every month around the world. This commitment goes beyond the visibility we receive thanks to the press and the awareness created amongst each and every person who interacts with us during our monthly sleepout: It is building a community that's bringing homeless people and active citizens together to create a strong network of professionals who are opening up job opportunities for homeless people who are willing to tell their story and work to become active citizens again.
What better way to celebrate than inviting a homeless person from another city who has been supporting us via Twitter for the last two years?!?
Amparo Barcenas is a homeless woman from Valencia who is struggling with homelessness. We asked her to share a little bit of her story and invite our community to donate so we could pay for her transportation so she could participate in our monthly #TDELC sleepout, which she was more than happy to do. Within 24 hours of sharing her video, we were able to raise the money, buy her tickets and give her a huge smile!
August 20th, 2018: Day 1 of our monthly #TDELC sleepout
Rise & Shine with a Little Bit of Yoga
Yoga has benefits beyond the mat and many of these can help homeless people because believe it or not, homeless people are people too. According to Yoga Journal, not only does it enhance your health, it also helps you focus, gives you peace of mind and makes you happier. Thanks to Leila, we were able to enjoy all of these benefits on the beautiful beach of Sant Sebastià in Barcelona in front of the Mediterranean sea.
Down Time after Yoga Creates Moments to Bond
Believe it or not, we relaxed even more after the yoga class and that gave everyone the opportunity to get to know each other a little bit better. One of the most important aspects of our monthly #TDELC sleepout is how we grow as a team. Spend 24 hours with anyone and you'll see how a natural bond takes places, which allows you to have a better relationship with those around you due to a better understanding of who they truly are.
Checking in, Showering & Fresh Clothes
The final touch of a good few hours at the beach is a nice cold shower, which is why we headed to the 3 hostels (Sweet BCN, Casa Kessler & Hostal Grau) that participated in the event as sponsors by providing room and board for the #HomelessEntrepreneurs participating in the event. All of our bellies were protesting a bit by then because they knew where we were headed: Parc Ciudatella for a picnic thanks to Valerie, a volunteer who first connected with us via LinkedIn!
Sharing a Summer Breeze, Good Healthy Food & Dreams
It may be a little ironic to invite homeless people to a park for a picnic because there are so many homeless people who actually live there, but we thought it was a good idea and we weren't wrong. Luckily, we were able to find some shade under a tree next to the botanic gardens, so everyone was able to enjoy the conversation and food out of the uncomfortable heat. Guillem, a #HomelessEntrepreneur who was able to get work thanks to our monthly #TDELC sleepout in front of the Mobile World Congress, was finally able to join us and he came with a friend, Antonio. Arriving late isn't acceptable at #HomelessEntrepreneur, but being late because of work is always a good excuse in our book. Time passed quickly and before we knew it, it was already 4pm, which meant we only had an hour to get to Gracia for a previously booked block tour during Festes de Gracia. Thanks to Alba, an actress and one of the lastest #HomelessEntrepreneurs, we were able to take advantage of this special opportunity.
Getting a special look into what's behind Festes de Gràcia
After spending more than 8 hours together, the event started to seem more like a family outing and everyone truly felt like they were on vacation even if it was getting to know their own city. The definition of vacation started to sink in.
We all wandered around the tiny streets full of tourists and Spanish citizens until we got hungry and ordered Kebab next to an appropriate plaza called plaça de la revoluciò and then entered a fruit store to get some juice. Yes, we got pear and guayaba juice, not beer. #HomelessEntrepreneurs are healthy like that ;-) While we ate, we waiting for music but it never came, which wasn't really a problem because it gave us time to get to know each other even more. As the night got darker and we neared midnight, the #HomelessEntrepreneurs drifted off to their hostels and the volunteers who planned on sleeping in front of Barcelona Turisme's corporate office headed towards a gently inclined sidewalk lit brightly by a street light.
Like always we searched for cardboard boxes to use as bedding and we set up our homeless hotel and create our signs to create awareness about conscious tourism. A homeless man from Extremadura named Jose was looking for cardboard in the trash can and I invited him to join us, which he happily accepted. Not only did he show interest in what we were doing, but he also made it a point to teach me about the Lincoln Battalion and how the group of American volunteers participated in the Spanish Civil War. After Jose got comfortable and fell asleep with a sleeping bag or blanket, the bouncer from Barcelona's sophistication magnet and restaurant, Boca Grande, came over to ask us about what we were doing.
Finally able to "sleep"
A sleepout is a bit ironic because you never really sleep well... at least people who aren't sleeping rough. You can normally tell who is used to it because they are the first ones to go to sleep and the first ones to wake up. If you ever sleep out with us, you'll find out the sleeping in isn't an option. We always have the most efficient alarm clock on the world: the sun.
We cleaned up our area like always and headed towards Casa Kessler for breakfast as Jose kept sleeping next to a sign that said "Tourists 'please help homeless' go home." While I had coffee and waited for everyone to join us I ran across an online article called Sick posters encouraging tourists to jump off balconies emerge on the streets of Barcelona after spate of British deaths in Spain this summer, which was sad to read. While we promote healthier habits between locals and tourists, others are inviting them to jump off building to their death.
Breakfast is a luxury for homeless people
I'll never get the image of receiving cold chicken and cold french fries for breakfast at a social lunchroom in Palma de Mallorca. Waking up to and going to a beautiful terrace where fruit, juice, sandwiches and yogurt awaits you is next to heavenly in comparison to what you can receive as donations for breakfast. Thanks to Hanne, the owner of Casa Kessler, we were able to enjoy this moment during amicable conversations before we headed off to our final destination: the National Museum of Catalan Art (MNAC).
Judit, a #HomelessEntrepreneur, guides us through the MNAC
While Beto, #HomelessEntrepreneur's official photographer got lost taking pictures of all the art, Judit took us on a 3 hours adventure within the MNAC explaining details that only an expert guide would know. Ramon, a #HomelessEntrepreneur, gave her a 12 out of 10 when I asked him about his experience during the private tour. Unlike the stigmatized image of many homeless people, most citizens would be surprised at how knowledge many homeless people are and how conscious they are of cultural issues.
Group Picture at the End of the Event
Definition of success during a monthly #TDELC sleepout
We met a homeless person from Italy named Andrea at the beginning of the event and he decided to participate the entire 24 hours and even sleep with us in front of Barcelona Turisme. Little did he know, he would have his first job interview 72 hours later in Sant Cugat at a pastry shop called Dolç par Yan Duytsche. Andrea got the job and will be starting on September 15th =)
A special thanks to each and every person who participated in the 24th #TDELC monthly sleepout! If you want to join us in the next #TDELC for La Diada on September 10th-11th at Monument a Rafael Casanovas, just click on the button below to sign up!
If you'd like to support our monthly #TDELC event and make sure they speed up the process of creating work and housing for homeless people in our program, please click on the button below and make a donation
See everyone at the next #TDELC on September 10th-11th!
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SPEED UP THE PROCESS OF CREATING JOB & HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES TO END HOMELESSNESS FOR PEOPLE IN OUR PROGRAM?
- Make a donation and support #HomelessEntrepreneurs around the world by providing them with the tools, resources and opportunities they need.
Discover other ways to collaborate within your means.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us and let us know!