Alcoholics given beer to clear litter
A group of alcoholics in Amsterdam are being paid five cans of beer a day in return for cleaning the city's streets.
The private, but government-funded Rainbow Group Foundation employs two groups of 10 men who work three days a week picking up litter.
Each day they get paid ?10 (£8) and are given one hot meal, half a packet of cigarettes and five cans of beer.
Karel Slinger, 50, said he used to spend his days in a nearby park getting drunk.
"Yes, of course in the park it is nice weather and you just drink a lot of beer," he explained.
"Now you come here and you have something to do. I can't just sit still. I want to do something."
Programme director Gerri Holterman, from the Rainbow Group Foundation, said: "I think we are already successful, when we get them to drink less during the day.
"This is a start to go towards other projects and get maybe another kind of job."
There is a waiting list for those alcoholics who want to join the programme.
Fatima Elatik, district mayor of eastern Amsterdam, where the project takes place, said: "For a lot of politicians it was really difficult to accept, 'So you are giving alcohol?' No, I am giving people a sense of perspective, even a sense of belonging.
"We don't ostracise our people, because these are people that live in our districts."
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