I feel that volunteering with Rise challenges me on multiple levels and makes me feel “uncomfortable”, but in a good way: in particular, it forces me to think about the prejudices I have and to try and overturn them. Before Rise, I thought that people living on the streets in “rich” countries, like Germany or Italy, were homeless mostly by choice and that made me angry; so I chose on purpose an organisation supporting the homeless, because I thought I could not judge without knowing.
What I discovered during each and every session with Rise is a totally different reality: homeless people have often had a very tough life, much tougher than you and I can imagine! They were or still are victims of abuse, they lost their family, their job, their house. They have serious health issues and cannot get treatment, they depend on passers-by to get money or food and they are often ignored of not disrespected: no one can possibly choose all of this!
Despite this harsh situation, many of them still have hope, still smile and are kind with everyone-no matter who s/he is or looks like - they are still resilient and still willing to fight and get back on their feet: they just need help and a more inclusive and less judgmental society.
That’s exactly what Rise does and teaches to us volunteers: sharing the food, our time, helping a little as we can and respecting the person in front of us, her/his struggle and her/his courage.