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!

Vincentians raise almost $250,000 for Beirut

Vincentians raise almost $250,000 for Beirut

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...

read more
Kenya – Diaries of a Vincentian

Kenya – Diaries of a Vincentian

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...

read more
Our return from Kenya to Germany – Diaries of a Vincentian

Our return from Kenya to Germany – Diaries of a Vincentian

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....

read more
From Beirut – Diaries of a Vincentian

From Beirut – Diaries of a Vincentian

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...

read more
The Voice of the Survivors – Diaries of a Vincentian

The Voice of the Survivors – Diaries of a Vincentian

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...

read more
The Passage – Diaries of a Vincentian

The Passage – Diaries of a Vincentian

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...

read more
Rocco – Diaries of a Vincentian

Rocco – Diaries of a Vincentian

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...

read more
On top of the World – Diaries of a Vincentian

On top of the World – Diaries of a Vincentian

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...

read more

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:

The Scene
You need to be engaging, and that means taking your reader to where you are. You need to set the scene:

  • what can you see?
  • what are the sounds
  • what are the smells?
Details Matter
Small details are what captures the reader’s imagination. Don’t just summarise – drop in some small details to engage your reader.
For example,

  • 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.
For example,

  • 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.

Photographs

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.

9 + 12 =