Five things we learned from Zakia Moulaoui
Zakia Moulaoui’s talk Invisible People was one of the most moving moments of the afternoon. Zaria formerly worked for the Edinburgh-based Homeless World Cup Foundation, which uses the power of football to help people without a home around the world.
She is the founder of Invisible Edinburgh, which helps homeless people become tour guides of their own city. Today, they have four guides in Edinburgh, all of whom have a tailored tour. Zakia has also volunteered on Lesbos island for the refugee crisis, and she spoke movingly of her experiences and the connections she has made.
Here are 5 things we learned from Zakia today.
- “People are the best thing that can happen to anyone,” she said. “I know this to be true because they are the best thing that ever happened to me.”
- Volunteering on Lesbos is the experience that has made Zakia the most angry in her life.
- Zakia asked us, why don’t we connect with homeless people on a daily basis? She thinks part of the reason is because we never go beyond the surface.
- According to a recent survey, a third of Scottish people think homelessness happens because of drug or alcohol addictions. But actually 43% of people in Salvation Army shelters are there because of a relationship breakdown. Only 10% because of drug or alcohol addiction.
- Zakia’s experience has made her understand homelessness can happen to anyone. Her overall message is simple. “If someone says hi, try to say hi back. It might not change the world, but it will make a difference.”