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Field trip to understand the living experiences of homelessness

Vaibhav Sharma

13 Dec 2023

I'm thrilled to share an experience I recently had with my colleagues at Radboud Law Clinic. We organised and took part in a field trip in Nijmegen, aiming to deepen our understanding of homelessness. This excursion was not just an academic exercise; it was a vital endeavour to see the real-life impact of our work. By stepping out of the classroom and into the community, we could take an opportunity to learn from an entrepreneur with lived experience, a guide from the organisation Vagabond, and see the city from a different perspective.


These experiences are crucial. They remind us that behind every policy, every legal analysis, there are real people with real struggles. It's one thing to discuss homelessness in theory; it's quite another to meet the individuals living this reality every day. This connection brings a new depth to our work, helping us to transform our approach from theoretically sound to empathetically driven.


Moreover, I am proud to say that the funds raised through this trip were donated to Vagebond. This contribution will directly support their commendable work in showing living in the city from the perspective of some of the homeless community in Nijmegen (and other cities).


We learned that there are many situations of homelessness. For, instance this is not only when are people are ‘living rough’, which is the popular image of a ‘homeless’ person, but also when they have no formal address, move from one friend’s or family’s home to another, or when they live in insecure or inadequate housing and in emergency accommodations. We also learned that gender is only one of the factors that play a role in the types of situations of homelessness and the additional risks involved.   


As legal professionals and academics, it's essential to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Field trips like these are a poignant reminder of why we do what we do – to make a tangible difference in people's lives. I am grateful for this eye-opening experience and excited to continue contributing to meaningful change through our work at the Radboud Law Clinic.

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