Helping at Sant’Egidio

On Tuesday the 23th of January Bandro and I went to Sant’Egidio at Waterlooplein in Amsterdam. Sant’Egidio is a global Christian community that is engaged in various charity work.

Every Tuesday a group of volunteers serves a three-course meal to homeless people, very poor people, refugees and others. In principle, anyone can join without identifying themselves. This organized dinner is usually attended by a group between 60 and 80 people.

This offered a great experience to get in touch with the target group of our research. Our supervisor Anna Bon put us in contact with the people who organize this dinner. Thus, we could both assist the volunteers in serving food and also gain insights into the lives of people in need.

We could ascertain that there definitely is a necessity for a digital place for diverse information for these people. Most of these people seemed to have a mobile phone. A user-friendly place to find information about:

  • the type of food facilities such as Sant’Egidio
  • where computers can be used
  • where to obtain handy things such as gloves and blankets for free
  • legal help
  • where to get coffee or tea
  • where to find shelter during winter

are among other things items that came up frequently. These are all facilities that are available, but hard to find sometimes.

Altogether the people faced us with receptiveness and gratitude which corroborated the belief of future collaboration. We assume that Sant’Egidio can function as an important contact point where we can approach our target group and delineate the focal requirements our research ought to cover.

It was a very interesting introduction that has taken us one step further; we expect to return to Sant’Egidio soon.

Sant'Egidio Amsterdam where the food is served
Dining room in the Huis van Sant’Egidio at Waterlooplein in Amsterdam

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