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My neighbour without a roof – An initiative by Liceulice (Serbia)

Most people never talk to those who live without a roof over their head.
Lack of interaction between different groups in our society, combined
with impersonal or incorrect description of homeless that exist in
ingrained stereotypes, contributes to sustaining of unbridgeable gap
between those who have their home and those who have not. Consequence is
that people look on homelessness as to abstract social problem. We look
on those who do not have their home as less happy or very guilty for
“their situation” and then it’s much easier to ignore their problems.

The Initiative “My neighbor without a roof” (www.facebook.com/mojkomsijabezkrova; www.twiter.com/KomsijaBezKrova) wanted to change these stereotypes and deconstruct prejudices that are deeply ingrained into our society. The basic idea was to initiate and motivate (passive) online community (Facebok, Twitter, Flickr), by giving the example of numerous online/offline activities, on providing direct help to homeless, so that they can do that by themselves next time, not just to wait for others to do something. The initiators (street paper Liceulice, Red Cross Palilula and agency D Kit) begun in December last year with gathering people of good will who do not turn their head on the other side when they see our neighbors without a roof and organized several gatherings with homeless on different city spots. They invited wide public via FB, TW, other media, to come, bring their friends and bring some warm clothes, food and toiletries.

During the International Vendor Week, initiative “My neighbor without a roof”, despite the bad weather, had its 4th successful action in one of many city parks in the center of Belgrade. But it wasn’t the usual action. This one was much special because Liceulice vendors joined the action, because they wanted to help homeless who live in worse conditions than they do. This meeting was important, not just because homeless got necessary things for surviving the winter – worm clothes, shoes and canned food, but also as possibility to get to know each other, hear other’s stories and exchange good will.

I am proud to know these people and to live in the city that finally starts to take care of those who need it the most. We all needed certain amount of courage for this action and we all proved that we have it! Hvala svim organizatorima i onima koji su juče, uprkos lošem vremenu, bili na trgu Slavija – i beskućnicima i aktivistima. Svima je bila potrebna izvesna doza hrabrosti za ovaj susret, i svi su dokazali su da je imaju. Well done! See you soon on a new action!

Nikoleta Kosovac

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