Pupils sleep rough for homeless charity
3 May 2017
The Perse pupils have raised over four and a half thousand pounds for homeless charity Emmaus.
The seventh annual sleep-out, which took place at the School on Friday, aimed to give pupils an insight the realities of living on the streets.
The pupils started the evening with various games and team-building activities, aiming to earn ‘money’ (gold coins), blankets and cardboard to sleep on. As the students participated in the night’s activities, they kept their belongings – a water bottle and a torch – in a bin bag alongside their sleeping bag, in an effort to demonstrate the difficulties of having to keep your belongings with you at all times. Teachers played the role of members of the public, giving coins to the pupils who performed on the street or sold newspapers, or the teachers ignored them completely, demonstrating some peoples’ attitudes towards the homeless community in society.
The evening, importantly, involved the Emmaus community fully. The students had the opportunity to speak with Emmaus companions, who spoke to the pupils about their experiences of homelessness, and also helped the pupils face the challenges of sleeping outside – giving them tips on where best to get shelter and how to keep warm.
Geography teacher and Head of Charities and Fundraising Emma Kenzie says the structure of the evening is very well thought out, “The objective of the Emmaus Sleep-out is to bring the issue of homelessness, that has been learnt about in the classroom, to life. The reality of sleeping outside, without any luxuries such as a mat or a tent to keep warm and comfortable allows pupils to really think about what life might be like if they had to sleep rough. Above all, the most rewarding experience for pupils is to meet Emmaus companions, who come to give them food and blankets, as they would give help to homeless people in Cambridge. The conversations that our pupils have with the companions help them to understand homelessness in a different way: as something that could happen to anyone who runs into some bad luck and is lacking a support network to help them.”
On Saturday, two of the students who took part in the sleep-out busked in Cambridge. Ailsa Barr and Maeve Hannigan sought to raise even more money for Emmaus through their performance in the busy city centre.
To view the childrens’ fundraising page and donate to Emmaus, click here:
To listen to an interview with one of the Emmaus companions, Shawn, on his experiences with homelessness, listen below: