Free Wi-Fi charity project is meant to help homeless people in Prague
Prague, Sept 21 (ČTK) — People in Prague can connect to the Internet or recharge their phone or tablet battery in the street within the “live Wi-Fi network” project, which employs a homeless man who should gradually be followed by others, weekly Týden out today writes.
The project is being tested by 56-year-old Radim, who has been earning his living selling flowers at a metro station exit during the past five years.
“A few people have made use of it, but it has not yet been widespread,” Radim, wearing a T-shirt with an inscription reading “FREE WI-FI CHARITY,” told Týden.
Radim may soon be followed by other people in a difficult life situation.
“They will be equipped with a pocket router with a range of 20 metres,” Luboš Boleček, chairman of the WiFi 4 Life NGO chairman, said.
“We want to pay for them [the people providing the free service] to have accommodation in a dormitory, clothing and food or give them some pocket money,” Boleček said.
The participating homeless people will have to be standing in a pre-determined part of Prague, on Wenceslas Square or Old Town Square, for instance, for eight hours a day.
The organizing NGO hopes that its project will return order and regular working habits to its employees’ lives, Týdenwrites.
It writes that sociologist Libor Prudký who has been participating in work on a concept of dealing with homelessness on Prague as well as national levels, said “every initiative that aims to help homeless people is good,” but he added that he is skeptical about this particular project.
He told Týden that in working with the homeless, it is necessary to go more deeply and to help them seek ways out of their situation.
“It is work as any other,” Radim, who has been homeless for 35 years, said.
He said for those who are in the street, every job or crown is good. “Who will employ me at my age and with arthrosis?” he asked.
“Everything needs its time and homeless people would be interested in the project,” Radim said.
Bolecek said his organization will not stop at the Wi-Fi project.
“We will try to find them (the homeless) other jobs, depending on their education or previous work experience. We definitively do not want them to get stuck in our project for many years,” he said.
The NGO has for the time being been financing its project from its own pockets. It collects money within a crowdfunding project for its further activities, Týden writes.
The NGO is not the sole organization trying to help homeless people. One of the well known is the charity organization Nadeje (Hope).
“In Prague alone, four to six thousands of people live in the street,” sociologist Prudký said, adding that further tens of thousands of people are threatened with becoming homeless over accommodation debts or low incomes.
Prague has more than one million inhabitants.