Invisible People: a project and an opportunity to bring the topic of homelessness forward*

Hara Stefanidi is an English Language and Literature Graduate with a keen interest in Art, Women Studies and Communication. She has participated in significant projects, on the internalization of self hatred and the act of resistance and on visual cultural representations, among others. She has worked as a Communications Team member, writing and editing content for NGOs in social platforms. She is currently into Public Relations for social advocacy and ethical responsibility.

Here she reports on the "Famous People's Day", a social project ran by the Greek street paper, Shedia For her feature article she interviews people involved in the project and the psychologist and social entrepreneur Mrs. Despoina Limniotaki.

It was around 12:00 pm on a typical Saturday morning when Mr. Mamalakis would become invisible, even though he was not yet aware of it.

Upon wearing the red vest, people not only stopped recognizing him as the famous Greek cook that he is, but they stopped looking at him altogether. He was startled. Mr. Mihalis Samolis burst and dissolved into laughter; “It was really engaging to see Mr. Mamalakis disappear. He could not comprehend the reason behind his newborn invisibility, despite my previous advice and warnings.” Locking his gaze into my eyes, Mr. Mihalis continued with a heavy voice, “The people who really wish to see you, will see you.  Those who refuse to see you, simply won’t and will just pass you by; most people do not see me.”

Mr. Mamalakis was part of “Famous People’s Day”, a social project run by the first and single Greek street paper, Shedia. During the project, famous people wear the characteristic red vest -or the “invisibility cloak”- of the vendors and pursue in selling the street paper, like homeless people working as vendors at the paper do on a daily basis.

Mr. Mihalis is a homeless person that works in Shedia as a vendor and as a guide to the “Invisible Tours”- yet another social project Shedia organizes. Through these social initiatives, Shedia’s aim is to initiate a wider discussion around invisibility and the devastating psychological implications for homeless people, in order to help them escape from it.

Read the article and more from Hara's blog here