#Streetsleep for April 12th, International Day of the Street Child : the build-up
So what do you do if the 5th International Day of the Street Child approaches and you've already set-up fun events in the past to increase the awareness of street children in the past? And if this time April 12th falls on a Sunday?
Well, then you want to do something bigger than the previous years, right?
After a test streetsleep with some of the volunteers of Mobile School previous year, we set ourselves the goal to sleep with minimum 150 people on the big square in front of the Leuven train station: hoping that this would be sufficient critical mass to attract the attention of the people in the area and some press.
But we only had 2 months to prepare and it was hard to find the right balance between sleeping on the street and offering some support/comfort that would encourage enough people to join. After a while, the designer of the mobile schools had the brilliant simple idea to fold a 2x2 cardboard into a little triangle tenthouse. And if we truly needed a plan for predicted rain, we could give everyone an additional 2x2 (little bigger) plastic to tape their cardboard.
And then the volunteers could start phoning: cardboard producers to sponsor, artists to come and entertain a bit, a copywriter to write an engaging invitation, supermarkets to donate some food, .... and plenty of negotiations with the city services & police to get all permits & materials. I thought we were too ambitious and would never be able to pull it off and end up in some chaotic flop.
The start of April with pouring pouring rain made me very very nervous. I really didn't want to spend a night outside in the pouring rain.
But these guys rock and while I felt guilty for always leaving the meetings early to put the little one in bed, they actually pulled it off quite well without much stress and all.
The subscriptions came in rather slow and for a long time it looked as if we'd only sleep there with a good group of volunteers on the square. We finally hit the 100 a few days before the event. Pheww, at least that seemed like a number you could announce to the press. And then the last days the weather improved and the number went up further. With a last interview on Friday evening on national radio, we all of a sudden jumped above our target of 150 . Yihaa.
And so on Saturday a few trucks arrived on the square, delivering screens, pallets, toilets, cardboard, ...When we were almost ready, a last big shower washed the square clean and then the radar promised us a dry night and we were ready and waiting for our sleeping guests.....