Homeless help those with money

Rail passengers in Slovakia get a helping hand from unexpected quarter

Bratislava, Dec. 8 (ČTK) A group of Slovak homeless people has joined a project at the main railway station in Bratislava started today, within which they carry passengers’ luggage between the building and the platforms.

The homeless porters are there to help the elderly and any other individuals who require assistance with lifting luggage, as passengers must go up and down a staircase between the ticket office and most platforms.

The project was launched by the Proti proudu (Against the Stream) civic group that helps the homeless and publishes the Nota Bene paper that is distributed by the homeless.

At first, seven uniformed homeless porters will be helping the passengers for free for four hours three days a week.

“At the beginning, we have chosen less frequented times, so that the porters get used to the new work,” Sandra Tordová, director of the group that will pay to the porters for their service, has told the Czech News Agency (ČTK).

“They are facing an uneasy task: to set a new service in motion and gain people’s trust,” she added.

The project is later to expand to the rush hours. The homeless have a chance to prove they can provide help to others as much as they themselves receive help, Tordová said.

The main railway building and the adjacent compound have been waiting in vain for modernization for decades. They have come under criticism by passengers over what they call drunken and smelly persons hanging around there.

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