The problem of homelessness is getting rampant not only in the European Union, but also the whole wide world. That is the reason why we attended the project Help the Homeless, which took place in Birmingham, UK in October.
After a tedious journey with some minor problems along the way, we finally arrived to the lovely city of Birmingham, where the typical English weather greeted us, but firstly we had to get to know each other. The Slovak team consisted of Karin, our charming group leader, Lenka, Peter, Jakub, Michael and me, Katka. We were eager to explore the nearby area not paying any mind to the unfriendly elements and we took quickly to getting to know the other participants even before the ice breakers even started. Six more countries participated in this youth exchange, the UK, Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal, Lithuania and our neighbours from Poland. I think it is safe to say we became fast friends rather quickly, it seemed everybody had at least several new friends after the end of the first day, and then it was time to get down to business, business being the education and workshops aimed at spreading proper information about homelessness.
To name a few of the activities, which we did, a presentation about homelessness in our home countries in our respective country groups, roleplay about the causes of homelessness, running a hypothetical organisation for the homeless for two weeks, listening to many personal stories, a plethora of energizers in between and a whole day trip to the capital, London, which by a chance have fallen on Michael’s nineteenth birthday. I dare to say our birthday-boy looked delighted by all the attention and enjoyed himself in an art gallery and an hour-long visit to the biggest toy store in London.
Then came our main project, the video about various topics touching upon homelessness. We were divided into small group depending on what interested us about this topic. Some of us went to talk with the homeless, listened to their life stories, some took more artistic approach and told what they wanted to tell by music, and some retold the stories of other homeless people.
At the end of the project we have gained knowledge about homelessness, walked Birmingham city centre through and through, tasted the exquisite English cuisine, mainly bread in all shapes and forms for breakfast and lunch, made a several attacks on the local Poundland and Primark, but we have also forged new friendships, which I hope will be long lasting and that we will sometime meet again on some other projects. We express great gratitude for this opportunity and want to thank to all the organisators, facilitators and last but not least to all the participants.