INSP News Service
News posts by INSP News Service:
Vibrant flowers bloom: Writing about climate change for Megaphone’s Voices of the Street literary anthology
Megaphone storytellers and vendors of all street papers, including the writers featured in the pages of this Vancouver and Victoria street paper’s Voices of the Street literary anthology, regularly face a host of challenges, all linked to the inequities that come from living in poverty. When Megaphone hosted a series of writing workshops earlier this year, it became clear what was of great importance to participants: our environmentally distressed planet. As a result, the pages of the new edition of Voices of the Street (Stealing Looks at the Sun: Writing About Climate Change in 2022), which is on sale now, are packed full of prose driven by the growing impacts of climate change.
Big Issue Taiwan vendor Yu-fu Hsieh: “I’ll continue supporting the street paper, and I hope that we will spend another decade together”
Yu-fu Hsieh is a veteran Big Issue Taiwan vendor who started selling the magazine in April 2010, after he retired from his sales rep job, from his pitch at Exit 2 of Gonguan metro station in central Taipei. He has never moved pitch since then. Hsieh delights in his work, crediting it with bringing enjoyment and happiness to his retirement, and he looks forward to many more years of working with The Big Issue Taiwan.
Big Issue vendor Oprea Ruducan: “Each person who buys the magazine from me helps me get everything I need”
It’s all happening for Big Issue vendor Oprea, 48. Originally from Romania, he has just moved to a new selling point – at Bristol’s Temple Meads train station as part of a partnership with Network Rail – where he is perfecting his sales technique, and he has a new card reader to offer digital payments. He is studying a business course at university too.
Ljilja Plackovic sells Ulične Svjetiljke in the Croatian city of Zagreb. She has experienced loss and hurt unlike many people. And yet, even with meagre means, she gives back to the people she sees on the streets of the city, reminding her of how things changed around for her.
Perceptions of people on the streets with pets are often uncaring and narrow-minded. Bodo vendors Ralf and Mario, who sell the street paper in the German city of Bochum, are prime examples of the mental health and social benefits of having a pet on the streets can be. Their dogs – Maja, Tyson and Cassey – are their pride and joys.
Anita Rinkovec’s life has been a journey through many forms of darkness. She is a survivor of sexual and psychological abuse, addiction and numerous suicide attempts and has outlived three of her four children. Now, aged 79, she has found meaning and enjoyment in life and thrives on her work as a Faktum vendor. Here, she talks about moving through the darkness and about the light she has discovered in the twilight of her life.
Serbian street paper Liceulice’s vendor Mirjana Vasić escaped from Kosovo twenty years ago and came to the northern Serbian city Novi Sad. It wasn’t easy for her to get used to a different environment and way of life but, thanks to the magazine, she made friends again and got the support she needed.
“I have a job, I have food, I have an apartment, I have my passport.” This is Friday Akpan’s response when asked how he’s doing. Friday, a migrant from Nigeria, arrived in Austria in late 2014 and has worked hard to build a life in Austria. He is thrilled to call Salzburg home. Now, the 33-year-old Apropos vendor, who always has a friendly smile on his face, is working hard to secure the right to remain for his youngest son.
Paul A. and Vicky B., who both sell the street paper The Contributor in Nashville, write about the “great injustice” that is the recent Tennessee Senate Bill 1610, which makes rough sleeping and homelessness camps on public land a criminal act. The bill has since passed into law without the signature of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.
Brian Augustine, who sells Colorado street paper the Denver VOICE, writes for the latest in INSP’s Housing for the People series about how happenstance, and events outside his control, led to him losing the place he called home. Now, he counts the street paper as his home, and the people who come by his place of work as his family.
Alejandro Peña left his beloved home country of Venezuela with a heavy heart. Living in a country mired in crisis was a nightmare; it was impossible to have hopes and dreams for the future. Faced with uncertainty about what the future would hold, Peña felt his only option was to flee and seek refuge elsewhere. This is his story.
For Vicky Batcher, a regular face with and in Nashville street paper The Contributor, simply liking a Facebook page set her on a road toward a roof of her own over her head. For the latest in INSP’s ‘Housing for the People’ column, she writes about the rush of emotions that experiencing safety and security for the first time in years brought her.