The Homeless Experience

Participants of the Homeless Experiential Trail are given a first-hand overnight experience of being homeless. This trail is segmented into three parts: Sharing, Interaction and Rest, with thoughtful reflections facilitated by the facilitators. Starting with a sharing by members from the organisation, Homeless Hearts, we are given some background and context of the homeless in Singapore along with sharing of their personal experiences. After the sharing, we will then set out in our groups of four including a facilitator to shape our own experiences.

With the freedom of exploring around the area of Chinatown, participants are encouraged to kindly approach the homeless in the vicinity to gain a better understanding of their situation. We will then end the night from 12-1 am by finding a place to wash up and rest. Amidst the exhaustion, participants would then get a chance to sleep in areas like void decks, playgrounds, they have chosen with their safety ensured by their assigned facilitators. The overnight experience is crucial as participants will go through a mixture of feelings and varying thoughts which contributes to creating empathy for the homeless. The trail then concludes with a final discussion accompanied with an optional breakfast(if their budget of $5 permits) before heading back to CAPT.

"Reflections from participants"
The homeless recce trip is the epitome of experiential learning experience. Though the experience did not have much activities and fixed structure to it, the sense of aimlessness but with a purpose of understanding the homeless community made it more impactful and enriching for me. Feeling slightly unwell, it gave me greater insight as to how a homeless individual could cope in their situation. Surprisingly, The most impactful segment of the trail would be the part where we settle down to rest and sleep. We found an empty spot on the rooftop beside a playground and we lay there on the cold, hard ground. We were all exhausted and I managed to get 2 hours of sleep but got woken up by the cold that Singapore's all round Hot climate would provide. For the next 2 hours, I laid there facing a grand looking hotel which I  could not take shelter in, taking in  the aroma of freshly cooked food that I could not partake in, those were the precious 2 hours I put myself in the shoes of the homeless. ~ a participant