A night without a roof

Do you know something about the life in Peru, Lima?

How do you think is it to live in a slum house?

How is it in your opinion to live in a low life-standard?

This project is about one simple night without a roof, without money and without any fridges for food.

All about the Project


A night without a roof is an outdoor activity, where young boys and girls are building their own carton houses and sleeping in them for one night. Round about the carton, we were cooking and selling cakes as well.


With this action, we want to show the world (and experience ourselves), how the people in slums in Peru have to live every day. We want to open their eyes and let them think about what they can do to save Peru, to save the world.


This Project was in Pfäffikon ZH, right before the Migros.


07.04.2018 – 08.04.2018.


This Project was organised by an OK-team (I am involved) of the evangelic church of Pfäffikon and  supported by Tearfund . But it wasn’t a Christian activity, our main reason to do this was the Attention to help the People in Peru.


It took a few Meetings to fix the whole Program. Our Team was made of about five volunteers and two leaders. We had the Advantage, that this was not our first night without a Roof, the last one has been two years ago.


Our biggest Problem was to find hundreds of cartons to build our houses. It would have been a shame if there wasn’t enough. We had to phone some Enterprises and ask them for some carton. Most of the Enterprises were really critical – last but not least we did it!


When the coaches and the teens met first, we didn’t know, how we’ll fit together. To introduce ourselves, we first played a game with coal to make us look like poor people. Two strangers asked me if I had an accident! After the game we started to collect money for our mission in Lima and sold cake in front of the Migros. The price wasn’t a fix one, so everybody could choose a price and the money he or she wanted to spend in this project him-/herself. For our teens this step wasn’t an easy step because they didn’t have contact with costumers in their daily life.

The next thing they had to collect was rice, which we cooked with water and few salt in the afternoon. Before we were able to cook, we played another game near the lake of Pfäffikon ZH.

After our really poor meal, we listened to an interesting presentation of one of the members of Tearfund. Furthermore, I asked her one important question after the presentation:

What can we here in Switzerland do to help the people in the slums except spending money?

“One option is to use your mobile as long as you can and don’t always buy a new one. If you buy one, try to search for an occasion and not a brand new. In addition, you can try to eat less meat. Because meat needs very much of the world’s food resources, which we as humans could eat or use! If you buy some food, search for fair trade Food (banana, chocolate). And search for seasonal Food, don’t buy any strawberries in winter! With these little things you can change a lot!”

The night began and it got really cold. Our teens have been freezing and tried to get warm beside the fire. They realizes what kind of luck they have to live in Switzerland with that good conditions and a roof above their heads. Unless the troubles, they were happy. This showed us that a poor life doesn’t have to be an unhappy life.

Nobody slept very well and for a long time but all in all, it was a perfect experience to all of us.

Background Information


Tearfund (tearfund.ch) is a Christian organisation, its foundation was in 1984.  The Name Comes from “The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund”. Their aim is to help poor people with education and social acting.

Nacht ohne Dach

Nacht ohne Dach” (nachtohnedach.ch) is one of the programs of Tearfund.

Life in the slums in Peru and how Tearfund helps

Because living in Peru isn’t easy many of the kids were left alone by their families and they have to look for themselves on their own. Mostly, they become criminals to survive and didn’t visit any School. Tearfund builds up schools and courses, as well for parents to learn how to accept each other (woman often get hit by their men!!!)



Final Question:
Would you try a night like this?

Chantal Despont
M15a, 31.05.2018

“Live simply so that others may simply live” – Tearfund

☷ See the project teams here »
☵ Some words about the contributions »

8 thoughts on “A night without a roof

  1. Hi there

    Thank you for your article.

    This article showed authenticly the actual situation of people whitout a roof.

    The main experience that you did was hard, but showed well the real life of homeless people, the cruditiy of their days and the problems between couples.

    The informations you gave to helping these people in Chile and other homeless people were helpful.

    The only thing missing are some pictures of the night.
    Neverthless, thank you very much for having choosen a difficult and bad known topic in.

    Kind regards,

  2. Hey! I like your topic and I think a lot of people in Switzerland forget about how poor other countries are. So it’s good to become more aware of it. Most of all I like your tips: What can we here in Switzerland do to help the people in the slums except spending money?. It’s very important to reduce all these things!

    The only thing missing for me is pictures at night. It would be nice to see more impressions.

    It’s a good project and I like your text.


  3. Hi to all!

    I think your chosen topic is very interesting and should reach more people. The excercise you did with a few other people is a good message in my eyes.

    As I read this article I was a little disappointed and negatively surprised because of the critical reactions of the entreprises.

    In my opinion it’s great that you pointed out to use the mobile phone as long as possible and buy occasions, to eat less meat, buy fair trade food and search for seasonal food. Here I would recommend to list also doing the grocery shopping regional. This would have a direct impact on the imports (it is sustainable) and we would support the stores in our neighborhoods.

    Another point what attracted my attention was that it is mentioned in the article that the teens realised what kind of luck they have but unless the troubles they were happy. Although I understand this kind of thought, I think it is quite hard to compare these two totally different worlds. Perhaps there were some problems but everyone was able to go home after one night.

    I would have pointed out a little bit more that we aren’t able to see through the eyes of the concerned persons. We can only roughly imagine what these people have to go through day by day.

    All in all I think it’s a good way to shake up the people and give a little food for the thoughts.

    Best regards

  4. Hey!

    First of all, I think you have choosen a very interesting topic! I think many people in switzerland often forget about poorer countries and therefore it is important to speak up for those who maybe cant.

    Maybe it would have been interesting if you recorded the whole project or took a little more pictures.

    But anyway, I think you did a great job and im impressed of your courage!


  5. Hello,

    Your project is really interesting and now I’m more aware about the life in Peru, especially how to live in a low life-standard. I believe that for people who live in Switzerland is is quite unimaginable how to live in poverty. The organisation Tearfund was something I’ve never heard before but after reading some articles about it I really find it a very useful organisation and a great idea!

    Kind regards,

  6. Hi,

    I haven’t read the article yet but I want to answer your questions at the beginning of your writing..

    To be honest I have no idea about Peru as a country, I had to google where it is just now. I believe that people in Switzerland, especially young people including myself, don’t truly realise how great our lives are and how high our standard of living is. So I can only imagine how it feels like to live in poor conditions.

    I read your article and I really like the fact that you want to raise awarness for this issue which concerns a lot of countries.
    The project “Nacht ohne Dach” seems to be a really clever way to get other people’s attention. I worked as a donation collector for some days and I know how difficult it is to draw people in so that you can talk to them about our world’s problems.

    I’ve never heard about the organisation Tearfund but after browsing through their homepage I’m glad they exist. Its really interesting to see what kind of jobs the people have who represent the organisation.

    I honestly enjoyed reading your article. It was easy to follow and I didn’t lose interest at any point. It’s important that we know how we can help the situation you described, so the quote of the Tearfund member who you’ve interviewed is a very nice addition to your article.

    After doing some research about Peru myself, I found out that the Amazon River actually flows through parts of the country. I care a lot about animals and saving the Amazon Rainforest would mean saving the natural habitat of a lot of endangered species. So here’s a link on what we can do, to save the Amazon Rainforest:

    I may not 100% agree with you when you say that a poor life doesn’t have to be an unhappy one, because I’m not sure if we as swiss people actually know what poverty feels like.

    In the end, I think you wrote a great article and I hope that it can motivate more people to fight for a good cause.


  7. Hi,
    Thank you for your informative contribution. It moves me that this project wanted to deal with the living conditions of poorer people in Peru. I would immediately try one night without a roof, but I already had enough during my time in the army. ;-)!

    What would certainly have been very impressive would have been video recordings of the project team or the living conditions in Peru.

    Thank you very much!

    Best regards,

  8. Hi there!

    I find your project very exciting. Not many would have the courage to actually carry out the project. The contribution is very clearly arranged and well to read by the different paragraphs. You reported well what you did before the night, but maybe you could have reported a little more about the night itself.

    All in all I find this a very cool project and the article worth reading.


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