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Greece: homeless people lead tours of Athens' back streets and alleys


Greece

Greece: homeless people lead tours of Athens' back streets and alleys

A handful of homeless people in the Greek capital have been offered paid jobs giving tourists a glimpse into their lives on the back streets and alleys of Athens.

Labros Moustakis, one of the tour guides, had his dreams destroyed by the economic crisis.

The 52-year-old Greek from Brazil lives in the Ionis Hotel which has been converted by the city into a shelter for the homeless.

It’s perhaps ironic given that he used to be a hotel employee before he lost his job in 2011 and could not pay his rent. His wife and teenage children left him and he was suddenly alone in Greece.

“My first fear was whether I was going to be able to speak to other people,” he said about being a guide.

“But from the first moment I felt like a new door was opening for me, a new opportunity in my life. I am homeless, I live in a shelter, the crisis was a slap in the face and it made me fall to my knees. But I said, damn it, I have to fight,” he added.

The tour groups visit shelters and listen to real-life stories about life on the streets.

The “Invisible Roots” tour is an initiative from Shedia, Greece’s version of the international street paper organisation for the homeless.

Each guest pays six euros for the tour, half of which goes to the guide as a wage.

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