Homelessness is one of the biggest issues in the UK. According to Crisis, as of 2016 there are around “4,134 people sleeping rough on any one night across England…more than double the amount since 2010”. This statistic depicts the magnitude of the social issue that homelessness entails. ‘Invisible Voices of London’ is a social project that tells the stories, insights and dreams of people living on the streets of our city, through social media account: https://www.instagram.com/invisiblevoicesoflondon/
This project was created to empower the stories and voices of those who are in the background (homeless), by opening our hearts and ears to those whose life took a sharp turn and were forgotten. At the same time, it is a counterattack to the thousands of heartless and superficial news headlines by adding art, creativity and positivity to real the stories of homeless Londoners.
Our mission is to inspire the world and empower them to fight against homelessness, together. Join us in our journey!
Invisible Voices: Our Project
When brainstorming our first ideas for the submission, we quickly decided that building a social media account/platform would be a lot more interesting to us than just creating a video. A big reason for this was also that we could slowly generate reach on social media and grow, as opposed to making a film or generally a “one-off-event” that might have a big impact on some people but will also fade soon if it doesn’t manage to go viral, which can never be guaranteed.
In order to create awareness for the lives of the homeless, we first thought about juxtaposing them in pictures with “prestigious” backgrounds such as hotels, banks or companies. The idea here was to make people empathize with how many of them don’t feel like they fit into society anymore, by contrasting their appearance with their surroundings. Showing them in areas where they don’t belong essentially. However, we quickly realised that they are often not willing to leave their spot, since another person might take it over while they are gone.
In order to adapt to this, we tried to take generally appealing pictures of them and collage them digitally with interesting backgrounds. This was the point where we decided that we would focus on their individual dreams, hopes and aspiration rather than how they are different to us. In our first post of Gints, this dream was to go back to Latvia and drive his tractor on his farm. Here we decided that since we were not just doing a Photo collage but a social media campaign with multimedia potential, we could represent this dream through a colourful video in the background. This then would create an interesting visual contrast to the static black&white image in the foreground representing their current situation. In our opinion this created the strongest result in showing their dreams and current situation as opposing forces.
With Gints not only did we discovered our creative concept; but we also realized how complicated being homeless is. In the Gint’s picture you can see Jonas, (one of our member) with his mobile phone, trying to get a National Insurance Number for Gints to work in the UK.
The pictures below, shows our creative process.
Please visit our Instagram page, https://www.instagram.com/invisiblevoicesoflondon/ to read Gint’s full story and explore other stories.
Our Team’s Perception of the Problem
Throughout this journey, our perceptions of the subjects of social housing, homelessness and government involvement in the U.K. have changed dramatically.
Alejandra shares her personal experience in the quotation below:
“I’ve always known that homeless people are exactly like us; with family, dreams, problems and talents. However, I never took the opportunity to actually talk to them and hear their stories, and their biggest ambitions. Exploring this side of them, has transformed the way I look at the world, and motivates me to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness as well as come up with ideas to help them improve their current situation”.
Jan-Patrik’s experience with the project:
“Before starting this project i was of course aware about the issue of homelessness. However, just as many others as well, I did not care too much about it, thinking they either got into this situation through their own actions or were stuck in it due to their inactions.
Over the course of the weeks that we have spent with them, I learned that while it can be difficult to judge how they ended up where they are, the systems in place to help them are often extremely flawed and not exactly in their favour. There are so many factors, ranging from personal background and experience to exterior factors such as classic bureaucracy hindering them on achieving what they want to achieve.
This is what touched me and made me care. After all, they are all humans just as you and me, with individual ambitions and dreams. The main difference to most of us being that few are interested in hearing those. And this is exactly what we are trying to change with this project. Because they are worth hearing.”
“As a Venezuelan I grew up surrounded by a very rough environment. Year after year I saw how many people were living in the streets; asking for money, stealing, kidnapping and even killing. But I couldn’t perceive people living in the street as normal people, for me they always had hidden intentions in their actions. Invisible Voices of London proved me wrong.
The people that live in the streets are truly incredible, not only for their strength, but also because of their stories, aspirations and dreams. It is a complicated reality but our project made me believe that there is a way out. If more people understand that everybody could get to that stage, we could do more to improve those people’s lives. Only a simple chit chat with the homeless could make their day, and also change your life.
I hope that Invisible Voices becomes a way to show the world the humanity of homeless individuals. It has a lots potential, now let’s allow the world to play their part.”
Our Future Plans
If we are lucky enough to inspire the Koreo Prize judges to believe in our project, we would use the funds in three ways: a token of kindness, donation and future work.
Our token of kindness will be expressed by helping Gints, Mitchell, Nick, Bernie, Billy, Jason and those who shared their stories with us by offering something they need; such as books or paints to aid the in accomplishment of their dreams.
Twenty-five percent (£1,250) will act as a donation to Homeless Link, http://www.homeless.org.uk . We think they would be the ideal partners for the Invisible Voices of London. Our monetary contribution can help, their StreetLink project, to answer and help 285 different cases! At the same time, we believe that our social project can help raise awareness by sharing the individual stories of homeless around London.
Lastly, the remaining of the money will help us fund our “Invisible Voices” project further by creating Invisible Voices of Venezuela. We believe that this core project can be applied to many social problems and situations that need to raise awareness of the issue. Using a combination of art and creativity to convey raw, real stories through social media platforms is one of the most effective ways to reach a great audience and trigger a call to action.
We strongly believe that “Invisible Voices” has the power to change our world, for the better.
For any inquiries, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please follow our Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/invisiblevoicesoflondon/