Donning dapper navy blue uniforms and traditional caps, complete with pristine white gloves, a few of Bratislava’s homeless have revived the role of the traditional baggage porter.
Bratislava Railway Station is a dowdy, yet charming old building with scarce facilities and no modern equipment, making it less accessible to elderly people, families traveling with children, and people carrying heavy luggage. Getting to the train with heavy bags and baby strollers is a real challenge. Meanwhile, outside the train station approximately four to five thousand homeless people face harsh conditions with little chance of find work. A local NGO called Proti Prudu (Against the Stream) works with the homeless, providing them with a street paper called Nota Bene, that they offer to passers by in exchange for spare change. Now, they have launched an ingenious project offering part-time jobs to seven of the homeless they work with to attack both issues. They pay the porters for part-time work helping people with their bags, free of charge. These men who once depended completely on the help of others are finding a bit of much needed economic stability and a new sense of social pride by offering a much appreciated hand to others.
- 00:00 M/S: Porter Dodo watches the timetable of trains.
- 00:09 W/S: Porters, homeless people who are now employed by a Slovak NGO Proti Prudu
- 00:16 SOT: Sandra Tordova, Director of Proti Prudu
- 01:13 W/S: Uniformed porters in Bratislava Railway Station
- 01:21 SOT: Jozef Dorusak, homeless client of Proti Prudu and porter
- 01:37 W/S: Uniformed porter in front of a departing train
- 01:39 W/S: Uniformed porters in Bratislava Railway Station
- 01:47 W/S: Porters are helping with luggage free of charge. They are paid from social project of Proti Prudu NGO.
Sandra Tordova, Director, Proti Prudu: Nota Bene is a street paper which is sold by homeless people. They sell it in the street to earn some income. We were thinking about [providing] our vendors, homeless people, another extra possibility of decent work, and we came up with an idea to give them jobs as luggage carriers in Bratislava Railway Station. We were very excited about this idea because it gives solutions to two problems: First, it gives support and help to the travelers who come to the Bratislava Station, helps them to overcome the stairs. Another thing is that homeless people usually have a problem finding a decent job, and the job of a luggage carrier gives them an opportunity to help to other people.
Jozef Dorusak, Baggage Porter: I took this job because I have financial problems, debt. I cannot earn my living just by selling the Nota Bene newspapers. I need a stable job. In the past, I didn't have take responsibility for my civic duties. Now I have a chance.