Homeless Hotel in Gothenburg

Faktum Hotels
Despite having a highly developed economy, the world’s eighth highest per capita income, ranking 7th in the United Nation’s Human Develoment Index and being the second most competitive country according to the World Economic Forum, homeless figures are increasing across Sweden. It is not only drug addicts who end up in the streets, now there are also people who lost their homes when their businesses collapsed during the economic crisis. Nationally, the figure is estimated to be approximately 34,000. It’s a problem no one really likes to aknowledge, especially in cities like Gothenburg, Sweden’s second city, where there are more than 3,000 homeless. In Malmö, more than half of the people without a home are women and children.
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Faktum Hotels offers a unique experience. Guests get to be homeless for a night to get an idea of what it is to sleep with fear, out in the open and in the cold. The options include sleeping on a filthy mattress under a bridge by the junction of the Säve and Göta rivers, a sleeping bag in the park, or simply lying down on some cardboard boxes and newspapers at an abandoned paper mill. Each site, or “room”, has been chosen by a member of the homeless population that collaborates with Faktum, but of course there is no way to guarantee the availability of the rooms. They could actually disappear with no prior notice.

Many people have tried the idea, 1000 rooms so far have already been booked, but most can only stand a few hours.You can also book for a friend. The concept, which is part social commentary and part installation, helps fund Faktum’s non-profit organization and has the objective of raising awareness of the plight and situation of homeless people.

It is always difficult for non-profits to get people to donate money to causes, so they have to be increasingly creative to get the message across to a population desensitised, accustomed to watching the news as entertainment. Faktum has found a way of provoking thought using a format not too different from an artist’s. Below, a picture of an exhibition on Faktum in Gothemburg.

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Faktum started as a street newspaper, it was founded in 2001 and is sold by people who are homeless in Gothemburg.

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To visit the sites, environmental sound included, go to their website Faktum Hotels.

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The 14-year-old who stood up for the rights of girls and was shot for it

The United Nations today marked the first International Day of the Girl Child. This International Day was designated by a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2011 to recognize girls’s rights, draw attention to the challenges they face around the world, and help advance their lives and opportunities.

Although this year’s theme was “Ending Child Marriage”, it was marked by the Taliban attack on Tuesday against a group of girls in Pakistan who were heading home after school. 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai -who remains in critical condition after receiving a shot to the neck- was the target, because she had enraged the Taliban speaking openly in a blog against the militants, who regularly use terror, in this region of Swat to encourage girls to stay at home instead of going to school. The militias stopped the van that was taking Malala and other girls home, they asked which one was Malala, and then opened fire. The attack has shocked the world and many politicians and artists everywhere have openly spoken against the Taliban. Madonna had the name “Malala” written on her back during a concert in Los Angeles and dedicated a song to her.

Malala, who last year won Pakistan’s first National Peace Prize for her online writing, with her courage is inspiring young people in Pakistan to stand up against the Taliban. Her fight for girls’ rights has now become a fight for her life, but her example is sure to remain forever.

More about this story:

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/09/14311107-peace-prize-winning-girl-shot-by-taliban-to-be-sent-abroad-for-treatment-pakistani-president-says?lite
To see an interview with Malala last year:

http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2012/10/11/sayah-pakistan-school-reax.cnn

This is a short documentary by The New York Times about Malala Yousufzai, when she was just 11 years old, and was already a firm defender of her right to an education, despite the hardships and constant threats from the Taliban.