Andrew Faris - Founder & CEO
A former rough sleeper himself, Andrew knows only too well the struggles many of London’s rough sleepers face today.
Born and raised in London, Andrew ran a successful estate management firm in the 1990s. But tough economic times meant that the business hit financial difficulties and Andrew soon found himself homeless.
Andrew hoped that he would soon get back on his feet in a matter of months, but life on the street was challenging, and Andrew began to suffer from the mental toll of rough sleeping. At night Andrew was constantly on edge, sleeping with one eye open to avoid being robbed or attacked. During the day, Andrew would seek refuge in Victoria Library. Sheltering from the cold he would spend hours reading and learning, but the days were long, and Andrew soon found himself suffering from intense loneliness. The services that were available were limited, interactions were short, and they just didn’t seem to understand his situations or needs, and as a result Andrew felt alone in his battle to get off the streets.
Determined to succeed, Andrew started to rebuild his life. He began by selling magazines on the street, where one of his customers, impressed with his selling skills, offered him a job working on the market stalls in Bethnal Green Road and Petticoat Lane. Eventually Andrew saved up enough money to buy a Camera, turning his passion for photography into a source of income. With perseverance and initiative, Andrew managed to become a successful freelance fashion photographer, using London’s iconic landmarks as his backdrop. Over time, Andrew built up an impressive portfolio and career, which allowed him to finally move off the streets and into rented accommodation.
During his time as a freelance photographer, Andrew spent time in Kashmir, following the 2005 earthquake, a catastrophic event that killed over 86,000 people and left many more homeless. He was deeply moved by the devastation and returned many times over the following years, installing water pumps, determined to help local communities.
His experiences in Kashmir made him realise his ability to make a difference. Andrew had always known that he wanted to give back and ensure that the homeless community were provided with the services he had been desperate for when he had been on the street.
After three years of freelance photography, Andrew had saved up enough money to start Rhythms of Life. He would go to local markets, asking stall holders to put their surplus food into bags which he would collect at the end of the day and turn into meals to hand out to the homeless. During his time rough sleeping, Andrew has grown to understand the true needs of London’s homeless, and hopes that he can give back to them in a way he felt was never there for him; by making fresh food and providing them basic necessities such as toiletries and sleeping bags. He believes that with more care, more time, and more giving we can truly understand the needs of the homeless and ensure that they are well met with kindness and compassion.
Today, Rhythms of life has served over one million meals and saved over 438 tonnes of food going to waste. Our charity not only caters for rough sleepers in their basic needs, but also encourages and supports them in taking an active role in rebuilding their lives, and Andrew leads by example.