How one Saturday made hundreds of homeless people happy.

Documenting the 1st ever Street Store in Guatemala.

Official Street Store hangers

“Almost half of the population of the world lives in rural regions and mostly in a state of poverty. Such inequalities in human development have been one of the primary reasons for unrest and, in some parts of the world, even violence.” — A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

When we arrived in Guatemala City, we did not feel safe. Entering our small hostel in the heart of the city, the manager asked us which street we took to walk here. “We walked on the 6th.”, we said. “You guys should never walk on the 6th during this time”, he told us: “Anyways, welcome to Guatemela, amigos!”

70% of citizen in Guatemala live below the poverty line. Some sources say, it’s more than 90%. 2/3 of the proportion of Guatemalan children live in poverty and the average daily earnings of a rural, Guatemalan family is about US $4. Business Insider listed Guatemala City among the most dangerous cities on the planet.

This homeless man speaks four languages fluently.
Dreams written on balloons were released at the end of the day.

Don’t take me wrong here, Guatemala is one of the most amazing countries me and my partner have ever been to. Traveling by local buses, boats and taxis; by walking through the deep jungle to the Mayan ruins and hiking on the active volcanoes, by meeting kids, smiling and waving to you, like you are their best friend, was simply incredible!

This diversity in culture and politics, rich and poor, old and new, made the StreetStore such an incredible event.

On Saturday, the 12th of December 2014, the StreetStore volunteers helped hundreds of poor and homeless people in Guatemala City to get clean clothes, tasty local food and new toys for small children, all donated by local citizen. Things most of us take as granted and normal are not normal at all for others.

The concept is so simple and so brilliant. Over 80 volunteers collected thousands of shirts, pants, shoes and toys, donated by locals who can instantly see the impact of their donations. Hundreds of homeless people showed up to the day that might be the first-ever ‘shopping experience’ in their life. Everyone got their personal ‘assistant’ to find clothes they need and like most.

A group of men selecting clothes with their personal Street Store stylist.

Just one day. To make a difference. To show up. To care. To live together as a community.

The StreetStore is more than ‘shopping’. People gather together to talk about their struggles and personal challenges. To pray together. To sing and dance together. To eat together. To be there for each other!

We’ve been very excited to film and photograph this unique event for the StreetStore organisation and to be part of this special day. Our story aimed to tell the situation in Guatemala and to show how small things can make a big difference.

Founded in January 2014, the Street Store was created by Max Pazak & Kayli Levitan with the support of M&C Saatchi Abel Cape Town. As homelessness isn’t a South African problem, they made it open-source. Touched by the idea, people around the world have organized their own Street Store events in Sao Paolo, San Diego, Vancouver, Brussels, Joburg, Bogota, Las Vegas, Oregon, Buenos Aires, followed by many others.

What about you? What about your city? With just one day you can already make a difference. Discover more about the Street Store on their homepage.

Over 80 volunteers have been part of this experience — Thank you!
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