29 September 2014

'In war, the photographer is the silent witness.' republished

Strassenfeger (Germany)
American photojournalist Michael Kamber documented the Iraq War for nearly a decade while working for prestigious US newspaper, The New York Times. His new book – “Photojournalists on War: The Untold Stories from Iraq” – is an unflinching account of war containing previously unpublished images from photographers who risked their lives to document a conflict that started in 2003.

At least 150 Iraqi journalists have since been killed and Kamber dedicated his book to them and his late friends and fellow photojournalists, Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, who died later working in Libya.

Kamber – the recipient of a World Press Photo Award, among many honours he has received during a 25 year career – spoke to US street paper Real Change in an article republished on the front cover of German street paper, Strassenfeger.

The article can still be downloaded here.

„Der Fotograf ist der stumme Zeuge im Krieg“. Wiederveröffentlicht

Der amerikanische Fotojournalist Michael Kamber hat den Irak-Krieg für fast ein ganzes Jahrzehnt für die angesehene „New York Times“ dokumentiert. Sein neues Buch „Photojournaist on War: The Untold Stories from Iraq“ ist ein unerschrockener Bericht über den Krieg. Er enthält bislang unveröffentlichte Bilder von Fotografen, die ihr Leben riskierten, um den Konflikt zu dokumentieren, der 2003 begann.

Seither sind mindestens 150 irakische Journalisten ums Leben gekommen. Kamber hat ihnen sein Buch gewidmet, wie auch seinen verstorbenen Freunden und Kollegen Tim Hetherington und Chris Hondros, die in Libyen gestorben sind.

Kamber – der neben vielen anderen Auszeichnungen in seiner 25 Jahre dauernden Karriere auch einen World Press Photo Award erhielt – hat mit dem Straßenmagazin „Real Change“ gesprochen, in einem Artikel wiederveröffentlicht mit Titelseite in der deutschen Straßenzeitung, Strassenfeger.

Der Artikel kann man hier noch immer downloaden.

26 September 2014

“Homeless people have dreams too”

INSP’s Project Manager, Zoe Greenfield, visited the Camillian Mission for Social Assistance as part of  FEANTSA’s Ninth European Research Conference in Warsaw last week. She describes how homeless people are building a ship to travel the world…

A personal love of travel drew me to the St. Lazarus Boarding House run by the Camillian Mission for Social Assistance where the residents are building a boat with one mission: to travel the world.

The building, which now houses 100 men, was purchased in 1991 by Bogusław Paleczny, a charismatic Camillian monk who recognized that homeless people in Warsaw were in need of more than food handouts. He wanted to show that homeless people have skills and should be valued members of the community. A seafarer himself, he was the inspiration behind the project and the ship has been named in his honour: Marine Yacht Father Bogusław.

The ship has been a hugely successful tool in attracting media attention with journalists from as far afield as Japan visiting the project. The staff are often asked when the ship with be finished and they answer that it is already working! By attracting journalists to the project, it is helping to bring homelessness to the attention of the public and also city officials.

The residents of the boarding house have designed and decorated the rooms and corridors. The themes of travel and the sea run throughout, with a whole wall in the cafeteria dedicated to a map of the world (useful if you are planning to sail it!). In the basement a mural flows along the corridors covering walls and doors, showing a peaceful place with birds flying over a lake, flanked by dense forest.

The boarding house is now managed by Adriana Porowska, supported by a core team comprising an employment advisor, a social worker, a psychologist and a psychotherapist. The community within the boarding house is founded on the principles of care, dignity and respect. The staff and residents eat daily meals together. As Ariana explained, there is no one definition of a homeless person nor is it as simple as ‘the homeless’ and ‘everyone else’. People often ask ‘What does a homeless person look like?’ The answer, no matter who you are, is: ‘Like me.’

The staff from the boarding house also do street work, reaching out to people sleeping rough who are invited for meals and to use shower and laundry facilities. The harsh Polish winters mean that police often rely on social workers to identify bodies of people who have died sleeping rough in temperatures which have been known to plummet to -30°C.

There are positive stories too. Staff recently attended the wedding of a former resident and just days before the visit learned that he and his new wife are expecting their first child. A collage of postcards [right] in the office shows some of the places that former residents have visited or relocated to.

The ship, the murals and the postcards area helping to break stereotypes of homelessness. When asked why homeless people should build a ship to travel the world, one resident responds, “Homeless people have dreams too, so why not?”

FEANTSA: Homelessness in Times of Crisis

INSP’s Project Manager, Zoe Greenfield, attended FEANTSA’s Ninth European Research Conference in Warsaw last week. This is her report …

Organised by FEANTSA’s European Observatory on Homelessness and hosted by Warsaw University, the conference attracted delegates from all over Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia to hear speakers present research focused on this year’s theme 'Homelessness in Times of Crisis'.

The Situation in Poland

At the start of the day, Pawel Jaskulski of Saint Brother Albert’s Aid Society gave an overview of the situation in Poland. Highlighting the unique demography of the homeless population compared to other European countries, with 50% over the age of 50. He added that, unlike in some other European countries, homeless immigrants are exceptionally rare.

Current estimates put the number of homeless people in Poland at between 50,000 and 60,000 but in a country where acknowledging homelessness is a new concept, measuring it is even newer still. Others claim that the number of homeless people in the country could actually be in excess of 100,000.

The European preoccupation with home ownership

A second keynote was given by Prof Dr Marja Elsinga who discussed the European preoccupation with home ownership. Elsinga argued that the home ownership is not always better than renting. Although this is a commonly held belief, it is not backed up in evidence. The belief is fuelled by governments across Europe but Elsinga believes that they now need to reconsider. Whilst housing is a basic need, the connection to welfare, economy and sustainability must be acknowledged. Housing should feature on the political agenda as more than the subject of budget cuts.

With a total of 12 seminars running throughout the day, it was difficult to pick which to attend. The full programme, abstracts and speaker biographies are available online. Some key themes emerging in the sessions I attended are highlighted below.

The impact of economic and policy change in the four UK nations
Beth Watts and Suzanne Fitzpatrick

-    Economic crisis not key to homelessness patterns in the UK. Long running pressures are more important such as market patterns, welfare reforms.
-    Rise in homelessness is not inevitable in an economic crisis but rather it is a consequence of deliberate policy choices.
-    Ending private tenancies is now much more important as cause of homelessness.
-    On the ‘unholy mix’ of housing policy and welfare reforms: one of the implications is that people have a choice of how to respond – choose not to go through the statutory system therefore driving up overcrowding, especially in London. Statutory figures fall as people take themselves out of the system.
-    Underlying problem is lack of supply. Even if you cap rents, it does not solve supply so a policy intervention on capping rent might not work.
-    Intervention around security of tenure would have greatest impact. Private rented sector is now greater than social rented for the first in the post-war era.

Images and perceptions of homelessness: Press Policies and Public Opinion
Teresa Caeiro and Alda Goncalves

Research using Google alerts based news to assess the representation of homelessness in the news in Portugal asking ‘Has the crisis had an impact on the representation of homelessness conveyed in the news?’ Key findings:
-    Increased number of news stories on the theme of homelessness
-    Few references to the profile of homeless people. Indeed, not referred to as people at all.
-    Focus on work people do for the homeless rather than the people themselves. More about numbers than people.
-    The new homeless with higher qualification, been made redundant etc. on the rise.
-    No evidence of changes in the quality of life for homeless people.
-    Increased "use" of people in situation of homelessness by specific professional groups. Use of homeless people to promote celebrity but not necessarily changing anything in the life of homeless people. This is on the rise since 2012.
-    Revivalism of values related to charity - articles tend to promote entities more than to help the situation of the homeless.
-    Increased number of volunteers. Fashion of 'helping the homeless.

Three categories emerge - homeless people as:
1.    Not being: invisible, faceless, group, victim, object
2.    Not having: family, friends, income, health, employment, networks, housing.
3.    No power: to claim rights, to change situation.

Negotiating digital space in times of crisis
Jennifer Harris
Rapid acceleration of digitisation of advice and other legal services in the UK where telephone or online interaction has often become mandatory. Homeless people thought to be 'digitally excluded' and therefore left behind.

Homelessness and technology
-    Existing research challenges straightforward assumptions of digital exclusion.
-    Homeless people encounter barriers, regulation and control that restrict online access.
-    Homeless people do actively use technology in their daily lives but simultaneously encounter barriers, control and regulation that restrict access.

-    Range of challenges: spatial, temporal and relational dimensions
-    Assumptions and expectations of service providers. IT and the internet seen as secondary to other service provision, indeed often first thing to be closed if any staff shortages.

-    Increasing importance of technology as means to access services.
-    Technology does have a role to play in people moving away from homelessness but needs to be nuanced rather than a one size fits all approach to digital/tech.
-     Micro level - individual engagement with technology.
-    Benefits for both individuals and the organisations

25 September 2014

Poster star Munich vendors fight the dark side

Frank Schmidt
By Laura Kelly

Street paper vendors in Munich became the heroes of a striking advertising campaign this summer, as their paper BISS teamed up with creative agency Conrad Caine.

The posters tell the stories of three vendors – Frank Schmidt, Abdulvahed Atchikzai and Christian Zimmermann – emphasising how selling the magazine has helped them to leave the dark part of their lives behind them.

Conrad Caine donated their time for free to craft a hard-hitting campaign that was seen on billboards across the city.

BISS Managing Director Karin Lohr said: “BISS is extremely proud of the vendors and we would like to encourage other poor people to come to us for support.

“We would like to show the public how the Munich streetpaper BISS contributes to overcome poverty and achieve social integration.”

Abdulvahed Atchikzai
Former haulage contractor Frank’s story tells how he went bankrupt and found himself sleeping in train carriages, before finding BISS and working towards clearing his debt and finding a home.

A refugee from Afghanistan, Abdulvahed lost everything there in the war in 1978. He drove a taxi in Hamburg before ending up in an emergency shelter in Munich.  He is proud to have left his dark time behind him. He sells BISS in Munich, supporting two women and 13 children.

Christian Zimmermann

Christian was a successful goldsmith and happily married with four children. But when his marriage fell apart and his wife left him, his life came off the rails. He was no longer able to make jewellery. He did not want to apply for benefits, so he ended up on the street and made ​​his way as a street musician. BISS has helped him leave those dark times behind.

BISS is a monthly Munich street newspaper that helps citizens in social difficulties to help themselves. It has been published since October 1993.


22 September 2014

‘From Tigers to barbers: Sri Lanka’s ex-combatants’ republished

Megafon (Norway)
The civil war in Sri Lanka ran for 26 years with successive governments fighting against an armed separatist group called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. It was a bloody war that claimed in total some 100,000 lives.

In 2009, the conflict came to an end when government forces decimated the rebel group and now ex-combatants are trying to fit back into normal life. Amantha Perera of IPS told the story of Aloysius Patrickeil who is famous as a barber in the town of Kilinochchi.

The article was republished by Megafon, based in Bergen, Norway.

It can still be downloaded here.

„Vom Tiger zu Barbaren: Sri Lankas ehemalige Kämpfer“ (erneut veröffentlicht)

Der Bürgerkrieg in Sri Lanka dauerte 26 Jahre. Die Regierungen versuchten jeweils gegen die bewaffneten Separatistengruppe vorzugehen, die sich „Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam“ nennen. Es war ein blutiger Krieg, der insgesamt mehr als 100,000 Leben forderte.

2009 wurde der Konflikt schließlich beelendet, als Regierungstruppen, die Rebellen stark dezimierten. Diese ehemaligen Guerilla-Kämpfer versuchen nun, in ein normales Leben zurück zu kehren. Amantha Perera von IPS erzählt die Geschichte von Aloysius Patrickeil, der in der Stadt Kilinochichi als Barbar berüchtigt ist. 

Der Artikel wurde von Megafon aus Bergen (Norwegen) erneut veröffentlicht.

Er steht nach wie vor hier zum Download bereit.

19 September 2014

Real Change turns 20: Seattle Street Paper Celebrates

Real Change celebrated two decades in print yesterday with a fundraising breakfast that brought in more than $103K to support their work with homeless and low-income people.

Started in 1994 by Timothy Harris, the paper was one of the first American street papers to become a weekly publication and continues to win awards and change lives.

“Every paper sold has put money into the pocket of someone who needs help,” said Real Change Executive Director Timothy Harris.

“Every paper sold has spoken up for very poor people, and every paper sold has supported the kind of long, hard and relentless organizing that building a just society requires.”

The celebratory breakfast on Thursday morning saw more than 500 Real Change vendors, staff, board members, volunteers, supporters and community partners come together to recognise the organisation’s accomplishments and talk about their goals for the future.

Harris also looked forward to the INSP’s 2015 conference, which will be held in Seattle next June.

“We’re honoured next June to host the annual conference of the International Network of Street Papers. Staff and volunteers from papers all over the world, from Denmark to South Africa and Japan to Australia, will come to Seattle University to learn from each other and help grow this incredible movement that we’re a part of,” he added.

A massive congratulation to Real Change from everyone at INSP on this incredible milestone. We look forward to seeing you in June.

Image shows Interim Real Change Editor Rosette Royale addressing the 2014 Real Change Breakfast at the Washington State Convention Center. Photo by: Real Change Art Director Jon Williams.

15 September 2014

‘The new Doctor Who’ republished

The Big Issue Korea
Peter Capaldi shot to fame in the noughties as foul-mouthed, spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in the UK political comedy, The Thick Of It. Now, the Scottish actor is set to take on the role of a life-time as the twelfth Doctor Who in the eponymous smash hit series from the British Broadcasting Corporation whose legacy dates back to 1963.

Anthony Morris of The Big Issue Australia tracks the career history of the self-confessed Doctor Who fanatic now living out his childhood dreams.

The article was republished in The Big Issue Korea.

It can still be downloaded here.

Der neue „Doctor Who“

Peter Capaldi wurde Anfang der 2000er Jahre als unflätiger Spin-Doktor Malcolm Tucker in der Polit-Comedy „The Thick Of It“ bekannt. Jetzt hat der schottische Schauspieler die Rolle seines Lebens ergattert: Er wird der zwölfte Doctor Who in der gleichnamigen BBC-Hitserie, die seit 1963 ausgestrahlt wird.

Anthony Morris vom „Big Issue Australia“ zeichnet die Karriere des bekennenden „Doctor Who“- Fanatikers nach, der jetzt die Chance hat, seinen Kindheitstraum zu leben.

Der Artikel erschien auch im „Big Issue Korea“.

Hier können Sie ihn herunterladen.

8 September 2014

‘Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker’ republished

Lice v Lice (Macedonia)
Haifaa al-Mansour – Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker – knows a thing or two about trailblazing. Her latest movie, Wadjda, focuses on a young girl’s experience of a society segregated by gender divides.

While al-Mansour wanted to open up everyday life in Saudi Arabia to an international audience, she also wanted to show women’s experience to male audiences at home.

In the article, republished by Macedonian street paper Lice v Lice, she spoke to Rebecca Harkins-Cross of The Big Issue Australia about making a film in a country that still forbids women from driving or working without a man’s permission.

It can still be downloaded here.

„Die erste Regisseurin Saudi-Arabiens“ erscheint in Mazedonien

Haifaa al-Mansour - die erste Regisseurin Saudi-Arabiens - kann ein oder zwei Dinge über Pionierarbeit erzählen. Ihr Film „Das Mädchen Wadjda“ handelt von den Erlebnissen eines jungen Mädchens in einer Gesellschaft, in der die Geschlechter streng getrennt sind.

Al-Mansour wollte mit ihrem Film den Alltag in Saudi-Arabien einem internationalen Publikum vorstellen. Dazu wollte sie dem männlichen Publikum in ihrem Land die Erfahrungen von Frauen nahebringen.

In einem Artikel für den „Big Issue Australia“, der jetzt in der mazedonischen Straßenzeitung „Lice v Lice“ erschienen ist, sprach sie mit Rebecca Harkins-Cross darüber, wie es ist, einen Film in einem Staat zu drehen, der Frauen verbietet, Auto zu fahren oder ohne die Erlaubnis eines Mannes zu arbeiten.

Hier können Sie den Artikel herunterladen.

1 September 2014

‘The militarization of US police’ republished

Soziale Welt (Germany)
Critics lambasted SWAT team training activities held in major US cities, blaming them for the increasing militarization of American police forces.

The annual events called Urban Shield include war games and training exercises and there are sales of military weapons and hardware repurposed for policing, attracting police departments from nations with questionable human rights records such as Bahrain and Israel.

Critics also said Urban Shield increases police oppression of minority communities in America.

Alex Ramirez of Spare Change News went behind the scenes at Urban Shield in an article that was republished by Soziale Welt, based in Frankfurt, Germany.

The article can still be downloaded here.

„Die Militarisierung der US-Polizei“ erscheint in Frankfurt

Viele kritisieren das SWAT-Team scharf dafür, dass es in großen US-Städten Trainingseinheiten abhält. Die Spezialkräfte der USA werden für die zunehmende Militarisierung der amerikanischen Polizei verantwortlich gemacht.

Diese jährlich abgehaltenen Übungen mit dem Namen „Urban Shield“ beinhalten auch Kriegsspiele. Dazu kommt der Verkauf militärischer Waffen, die dann die Polizei verwendet. Das zieht auch Polizeiapparate aus Ländern an, die die Menschenrechte nicht immer achten, wie Bahrain und Israel.

Nach Meinung der Kritiker verstärkt „Urban Shield“ die Unterdrückung vieler Minderheiten in Amerika durch die Polizei.

Alex Ramirez von „Spare Change News“ hat hinter die Kulissen von Urban Shield geblickt. Der Artikel erschien auch im Straßenmagazin „Soziale Welt“ aus Frankfurt.
Hier können Sie ihn immer noch herunterladen.