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Free wi-fi charity project helps homeless people in Prague

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Prague, Sept 21 (CTK) – 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 that employs a homeless man who should gradually be followed by others, weekly Tyden out Monday writes.

The project is tested by the 56-year-old Radim who has been earning his living selling flowers at a metro (underground) 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 Tyden.

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,” Lubos Bolecek, chairman of the WiFi 4 Life NGO chairman, said.

“We want to pay for them [the people providing the free service] accommodation in a dormitory, clothing and food or give them some pocket money,” Bolecek said.

The participating homeless people will have to be standing in a beforehand determined part of Prague, on Wenceslas Square or Old Town Square, for instance, for eight hours a day.

The organising NGO hopes that its project will return order and regular working habits to its employees’ lives, Tyden writes.

It writes that sociologist Libor Prudky 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 sceptical about this particular project.

He told Tyden 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 work 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 organisation 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, Tyden writes.

The NGO is not the sole organisation trying to help homeless people. One of the well known is the charity organisation Nadeje (Hope).

“In Prague alone, four to six thousands of people live in the street,” sociologist Prudky 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.

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