Mi Valedor, Mexico’s first street paper, launched earlier this year in Mexico City in an effort to address the cycle of poverty trapping thousands of homeless people living on the streets.
The photography-based publication offers an inclusive portrayal of daily life on the streets of Mexico City, and is a place for its homeless vendors to collaborate artistically and tell their own stories, as well as earn an income.
One such vendor is Horacio, who reflects on his experiences of homelessness and explains how the street paper is helping him get back on his feet.
By Horacio, Mi Valedor vendor
Because of health issues, I don’t have a job. I walked out of my house in Ciudad Azteca at the age of 10 because of domestic abuse.
When I arrived in Garibaldi, I hid with other people living on the streets, and took drugs there by Las Conchitas. At age 15, I was sleeping rough in the Alameda Central, a public park in downtown Mexico City. At night, the street vendors gave me the job of cleaning and taking care of their spots. In the evenings, I prostituted myself. I looked after my own health based on having such a poor life, and as a consequence: I am terminally ill.
I had nothing to do. Without having something to do, you withdraw. This is why I feel that the magazine will do me a lot of good. It is a push forward and is my own business. I would like to have a room for rent, have somewhere to wash, and to cover the costs of the crafts that I make with my own hands.
I am happy to have a corner. I’d like there to be more respect toward vulnerable people at the district level. It is an offense to make a living on public roads. This magazine is a reason to quit, even with an illness. It is a way of proving to yourself that even though they have destroyed you since you were a child, you have to have the courage to move forward.
Translated from Spanish into English by Alison Walker
INSP publishes an international vendor story every week. Come back next Wednesday to read another story from one of the thousands of inspirational men and women who sell street papers.