Czech homeless people make video at Prague train station
A total of 29 homeless people are featured in a new video clip that was filmed at Prague's Masaryk train station (Masarykové nádraží). In the emotional clip, the homeless men and women sing the Czech national anthem, "Kde domov můj?" (Where is My Home?).
The homeless performers want to draw attention to their situation and win support for a project that helps them get jobs and lift themselves up. The charity video was created this past spring for the Salvation Army.
"Passers-by prefer to avert their gazes so they don't have to see the homeless people singing. That's typical of the state of our society - inconvenient people and problems are preferably ignored while we pretend they have nothing to do with us," said Pavla Vopeláková, secretary to the National Commander of the Salvation Army in the Czech Republic.
According to those who designed the video, the question in the Czech national anthem means something entirely different to those who have lost the roof over their heads than it does to those who have a residence and shelter. The homeless take the question of home much more seriously.
Through the video, the Salvation Army staff and homeless people themselves want to draw attention to their issue. They believe they will succeed in winning support for a project called ReShare.
The project began at the end of last year. Thanks to it, homeless men and women can get job training and lift themselves up.
The jobs involve processing clothing donated to the Salvation Army's collection containers. "If a person ends up on the street, loses his documents, his social inclusion, and his work, then it is very complicated for him to begin again from zero and gradually return to normal life. Thanks to the trainings we provide, and thanks to project ReShare, we can give these people a helping hand and an opportunity to get work experience and develop work habits," Vopeláková said.
During the first half of this year, the Salvation Army gave short-term work to 60 of its clients, who all received contracts. Now 15 more people should join the ReShare project.
The Salvation Army has 46 containers in place to receive donations of textiles throughout the country, on the streets of Krnov, Opava, Ostrava and Prague. By the end of the year they plan to run 100 such containers in even more places.
Each container costs CZK 14 500. Those interested in supporting the project can contribute to it online.
Donors can choose how much to give and how often through the organization's website. The Salvation Army has been endeavoring for some time to break down prejudices against homeless people.
During the first half of June the organization held its first-ever concert featuring homeless musicians. The band played hits by famous groups as well as their own original material.
In the Czech Republic, according to the latest census, there are roughly 11 500 homeless people interested in and seeking aid. According to the Government's Concept on Preventing Homelessness, there are around 30 000 homeless people in the country.
Approximately 100 000 persons are at risk of homelessness due to indebtedness or low income. The groups most at risk are isolated senior citizens, the self-employed, and unemployed households.
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