Malala and Social Bite launch World's Big Sleep Out

  • Published
Ms Yousafzai pictured in a close-up headshot at an event in Norway in late 2017Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Ms Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban when she was 14

A Scottish homelessness charity has teamed up with Malala Yousafzai to support thousands of homeless and displaced people around the world.

They hope 50 international towns and cities will host mass fundraising sleep outs, following the success of the Sleep in the Park events in Scotland.

Social Bite will work with Malala, the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner, on the project.

It was announced as she visited Vesta, a Social Bite venue in Edinburgh.

The charity distributes free food to the homeless through its restaurants.

Image source, Social Bite
Image caption,
Malala attended a lunch at Social Bite in Edinburgh

Celebrities including George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, have visited the social enterprise in previous years.

Social Bite's Josh Littlejohn plans to work with the Malala Fund, UNICEF USA and the Institute for Global Homelessness (IGH) to help international homeless and displaced people.

He and Malala will launch a campaign introducing the World's Big Sleep Out, an event which could see 50 international towns and cities take part in an event to raise awareness.

It follows the success of Social Bite's mass sleep-outs in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dundee last December, where more than 10,000 people took part and raised £3.6m.

Image source, Stewart Attwood
Image caption,
Up to 10,000 people slept outside at events in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee

Artists including Amy Macdonald and KT Tunstall performed for participants who slept outside in sleeping bags.

It is estimated that around 50,000 people will join the World's Big Sleep Out in December this year.

Mr Littlejohn hopes the event will raise millions which will be shared among homelessness and refugee charities throughout the world.

Image source, Stewart Attwood
Image caption,
Organisers of Scotland's mass sleepout raised £3.6million for homeless people

Making the announcement during a private lunch at Vesta, Malala said: "Educated girls have the power to transform our world. But without a home or access to education, millions of refugee and displaced girls are unable to fulfil their potential.

"I am excited to partner with Social Bite and have their support for Malala Fund's work to get refugee girls get back in school."

Malala will be a key partner and beneficiary in the partnership, Mr Littlejohn said.

He continued: "It was such an honour for Social Bite to host Malala's visit to Scotland. Malala's fight for girls' education and the work her foundation does in supporting refugees and creating social justice is an inspiration.

"We have seen the power of the events in Scotland in terms of raising significant funds to make a difference to homeless people and to shine the political spotlight on this issue.

"I hope we can make a big difference to many people who don't have a safe place to call home across the world."