We see them every day, squatting on the sidewalks, idling by the roadsides, resting on the pavements - the homeless are such an ever-present entity that somewhere along the line, the rest of us, the more economically privileged, disengaged from looking at them as equals. To imagine yourself in the sole-less shoes of a homeless person would require the kind of empathy few of us possess. That's why it's so important that we try to to understand as well as teach others just how difficult life on the other side is.

To that end, Delhi-based NGO Marham has invited city residents to spend the night of October 8 congregated on a footpath on Shaheed Marg on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg near ITO for an event called 'Feel the Footpath'. 

While speaking to The Wire, the organisers of the event said - 

"The real idea behind ‘Feel the Footpath’ event is not only to help people get a taste of life led by over 1.7 lakh homeless residents of the country’s capital city, but also to engage them in various issues linked to homelessness.”

The vice president of Marham, Mohammad Naem told The Wire, “The venue for the event is a footpath on Shaheed Marg on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. We plan to meet there at 8 pm and everyone is welcome. Those willing to spend the night there will, however, not have any durries, carpets or mattresses to sleep on, only what the homeless use – old plastic sheets and sacks.”

"Our stress will be more on the ‘feel’ part of it. How is it to be a homeless, how does it feel lying down on a footpath and watch the people and vehicles go by, how does it feel when stones constantly pinch your body parts while you lie down, how does it feel sleeping in the open with mosquitoes and other insects all around [and] how does it feel sleeping with the fear of getting abused or run over by cars,"

This seems like a great initiative that might really help foster an understanding of the kind of hardships the homeless go through, and in turn get people to help out those who really need it. After all, we can never really know someone else's pain until we've experienced some of it ourselves. To read more about the event, as well as about the NGO Marham, go here