Could you face the cold of an autumn night with nothing but a sleeping bag and a cardboard mat?
For homeless women the choice is often to return to a violent partner or sleep on the street – where women face a high risk of abuse and harassment.
I swapped my bed for a sleeping bag and cardboard mat on 6th October 2017, for one night in support of some of the 83,000 people that experience homelessness in the UK every year.
I found it impossible to sleep with bright lights and so much noise. It turned really cold at midnight, my feet were getting cold, I was feeling lonely and sad, but I knew I will be going home in the morning – homeless people sleeping rough everyday don’t have a choice.
I was surprised to see many young children taking part in #SleepOut with their families and dogs. It was a great way to experience and understand homeless people. Amazing evening raising much needed awareness about homelessness.
I have been working with homeless women in London for three yrs, supporting and distributing Dignity Kits, a bag packet with feminine hygiene products for girls & women, Billion Women, a charity campaigns for every women’s right to safety, dignity and equality.
Homeless migrant or refugee women are some of the most vulnerable – facing a risk of trafficking and language barriers as an obstacle to exiting homelessness.
The average life expectancy for homeless women is just 43 years. women on the streets are often escaping abuse.
Mani Kaur Bajwa