To tackle homelessness we have to listen – listen to those who have experience of rough sleeping, living in slums, or being a refugee. One of the best ways to achieve this is to tell a story: a story of homelessness, or of a homelessness project, or of a volunteer.
Oscar Romero famously encouraged us to be the ‘voice of the voiceless’.
Check out some of the stories we have already uploaded to our website, to get an idea of how you can write your story. And ask us any questions you may have if you want any help! Good luck!
The International Vincentian Family has raised nearly $250,000 on behalf of the Lebanese Vincentian Family to support the victims of the blast in Beirut last August. The money is managed by the local Vincentian Family and helps those affected by the explosion to...
Peter’s eyes, milky with cataracts, searched my face for recognition. His toothless grin, widened when he saw Sr Rosemary emerge from the car. Having had a “safari massage” in the 4x4 car, jiggling from side to side, down the rutted sloping Rift Valley in Kenya, I was...
At the end of March this year we were told, all of a sudden, that we - Sr. Lucia, Sr. Dorothea, Sr. Zeituni and I - had to leave Kenya as soon as possible. The Corona Pandemic had spread unexpectedly quickly. The news took the four of us by surprise. Sr. Zeituni, Sr....
The Vincentian Family has launched the appeal “From our hearts to the heart of Lebanon” to support the work of Vincentians in Beirut. The Lebanese Vincentian Family sprang into action right after the blast that devastated the city on August 4th, sheltering some of the...
On the 4th of August 2020, two major explosions rocked Beirut port, killing more than 150 people and injuring over 6,000. More than 60 people went missing. What happened on Tuesday is greater than the size of Lebanon in its current situation, adding to the economic...
Mary searched my face for judgement. She really wanted to tell me her story of homelessness without feeling a gaze of disapproval. Visiting Sundial House some years ago, my mind was full of nostalgia for my home city, and pride in what Depaul International had...
In 2015, I had the chance to spend Easter with a Vincentian youth group in the community of Palmas del Río, in El Roble parish, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Each day we would walk twenty to thirty minutes from the church hall into the village, and from there, we would...
A diary reveals much about its writer; especially read in retrospect some time later. It’s not your diary I am thinking of – it’s mine! The hand-eye-brain co-ordination creates a muscular memory of events that is both cathartic and illuminating. A strong...
I knew him as Rocco, his nickname. Every week, we’d chat. His ‘patch’ was outside Sainsbury’s, the main supermarket in Cambridge. He sat unimposing, legs crossed, greying beard. He always wore a woollen hat, even when the sun was shining. Rocco was up early and stayed...
And suddenly I felt her little hand in mine. She had stood next to me for a while; staring up at me with her curious eyes; her bright smile framed by dusty, tangled hair. We were in the middle of a small square; surrounded by little houses; a buzzing community on the...
Five Top Tips on Writing a Case Story
Here are five tips on how to be that voice and engage your reader in your writing:
- what can you see?
- what are the sounds
- what are the smells?
- what is someone wearing?
- what is the weather like?
- what day is it?
The Personal Picture
If you are writing about a person, it is best to get direct quotations from them. Write down what they actually say, and write how they actually say it. Obtain some information about their life – where have they come from, what are their likes/dislikes, what are their aspirations? This will connect the reader to the individual.
The Big Picture
Connect the personal stories you tell with the big picture.
- How widespread is homelessness in the area you write about?
- How many people does the project you write about help each day?
This means the reader can understand the scale of the issues you describe.
A picture can tell a thousand words! Good quality photographs are really important to complement any story you write. Try and use a camera but a smartphone is also OK! When taking the photo, are people are looking at the camera? Make sure to take lots of photographs so you can pick from the best, and take them from different angles. And when you send them to us – make sure you select the size over 1mb, otherwise, they will be grainy.