Surprise

Basel, Switzerland
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Surprise vendors on life during the coronavirus crisis

Two Surprise vendors – Sandra and Ghide – speak about how the coronavirus lockdown has affected their way of life. For both, not being able to sell the magazine has been a disruption. But it also picks at other parts – the ability to stay to routine, and the manageability of employing coping mechanisms for health issues that are difficult to deal with at the best of times. Since these interviews, Surprise vendors, like many street papers in Europe, have gradually begun to return to work.

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Street papers provide global update on how the world’s homeless population is facing the coronavirus

The Big Issue took stock of how coronavirus is affecting the world’s homeless community, providing another update on just how severely the spread of the virus is impacting street papers and the people for which they provide an income.

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Our vendors: Jela (Surprise, Zurich, Switzerland)

68-year-old Jela Veraguth sells Surprise at Limmatplatz in the Swiss city of Zurich. She talks about creating a home in the country after having to flee Serbia, and the health issues her family has had to endure. Jela has been selling Surprise for 20 years.

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#VendorWeek 2020: Surprise’s pitch perfect poster campaign

Swiss street paper Surprise teamed up with a lucrative local ad agency for #VendorWeek transforming pitch locations into bold, eye-catching billboards to draw more attention to vendors out selling street papers.

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Vendor City Guide: Basel

The Big Issue has been reaching out to vendors across the street paper network to get the inside scoop on the cities they know best. This instalment features Surprise vendor Danica talking about Basel in Switzerland.

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Our vendors: Radomir (Surprise, Basel, Switzerland)

Radomir, 28, sells Surprise at Basel train station in Switzerland. He’s always grappled with life and has stood out since childhood as a result of being different to others. This spirit continues in his adult life and even extends into his work as a Surprise vendor, where he delights customers with his unconventional sales methods that include juggling and dancing.

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Our vendors: Karin Pacozzi (Surprise, Zurich, Switzerland)

Karin Pacozzi, 52, is a Surprise vendor who sells copies of the street paper on local trains. After suffering a breakdown in her early twenties, memories of her traumatic childhood re-emerged. This, combined with poor treatment from her psychiatrist and family during her recovery, made her turn to drugs. Now in control of her addiction, living independently and working as a Surprise vendor, Karin is proud of the financial freedom she attains through her work and of her daughter’s achievements.

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Our vendors: Nikola Babic (Surprise, Langenthal, Switzerland)

Nikola Babic, 50, sells Surprise in the centre of Langenthal, Switzerland. He moved to Switzerland from Serbia five years ago and has remained in Switzerland because of political problems in his home country. He contacted Surprise while struggling to find work and is grateful to have been given the opportunity to become a vendor. He is looking forward to spending his remaining years before retirement doing the very best he can at his work.

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Covers Galore: Rounding-up August’s street paper front pages

Fiction, food, festivals and fun – here’s our round-up of street papers covers this month.

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Our vendors: Alunita Nicola (Surprise, Winterthur, Switzerland)

Alunita Nicola is from Romania and she now works as a Surprise vendor in Winterthur, Switzerland. The thing that motivates Alunita is her desire to provide a better life for her son than the one that she has had: Alunita experienced a challenging upbringing in Romania before first travelling to Germany at the age of 19. Now living in Switzerland, Alunita is working hard to support herself and her son and is optimistic about what she can achieve through hard work.

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Soccer and street papers: Players from Surprise’s street soccer project are Switzerland’s representatives at the 2019 Homeless World Cup

Not everyone knows that street paper organisations have myriad social projects that go alongside the creation and sale of the publication itself. Sport programmes are increasingly popular and at the 2019 Homeless World Cup several of the competing nation teams were chosen from such projects. INSP caught up with Axel Woltmann, one of the players on the Swiss team, which stems from the country’s street paper organisation, Surprise.

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Summer Front Pages: A round-up of July’s street paper covers

Here’s our round-up of the bold, bright and beautiful covers being sold on the streets this July.

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INSP Awards: Presenting the 2019 Best Cultural Feature Finalists

As the 2019 INSP Awards draws closer, we’re bringing you the Finalists in each category over this week and next, and we’re continuing today by announcing the Top 5 Entries for Best Cultural Feature.

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INSP Awards: The 2019 Best News Feature Finalists are here

As the excitement continues to build for the 2019 INSP Awards, we will be announcing the Finalists in each category over the next fortnight – starting today with the Top 5 Entries for Best News Feature.

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INSP Awards: The 2019 Best Cultural Feature Nominees Revealed

We’re continuing with our 2019 INSP Awards announcements, and today it’s the Top 10 Entries for Best Cultural Feature.

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INSP Awards: Announcing the 2019 Best News Feature Nominees

We’re delighted to reveal the first set of nominees for the INSP Awards 2019 today, and we’re kicking off with the Top 10 Entries for Best News Feature.

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The “hidden homelessness” of women on the streets

This International Women’s Day, INSP is sharing stories from street papers that highlight the experiences of homeless women. Women are less likely to end up sleeping rough than men. They are more likely to receive help, and may have better support networks. But they are also more vulnerable on the streets. Swizz street paper Surprise looks at some of the reasons why women are less likely to be expected to end up on the streets.

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Our vendors: Marlies Dietiker (Surprise, Olten, Switzerland)

Marlies Dietiker worked as a Surprise vendor for over ten years from her pitch at Olten station, a railway hub that links Switzerland’s major cities. She sadly hasn’t been able to return to work after undergoing two major surgeries in the last three years. Although no longer working as a Surprise vendor, Marlies has many fond memories of her work as a vendor. Here, she explains why working for Surprise was the perfect thing for her.

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INSP Vendor Playlist: Seven Surprise vendors on their song choices

This year we asked vendors: if you could give a song as a present this Christmas, what would you choose? The result was the INSP Vendor Playlist, which is now available for your listening pleasure. Seven Surprise vendors chipped in with their choices.

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A round-up of November’s street paper covers

As the festive season approaches and we prepare to open the first door of our advent calendars, time to take a look back at the street paper covers that have been sold by our vendors in 34 countries around the world during November.

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Surprise tour guide’s unique perspective of his city

Roger Meier’s vision of Bern, Switzerland, is different to that of a Federal Council member or that of Japanese tourists visiting the city. It is also profoundly different from the perspective of an average Bernese. In his work as a Surprise tour guide in Bern, Roger Meier is sharing his experiences of living on the streets for 20 years.

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Our vendors: Ali Nur Mohammed (Surprise, Basel, Switzerland)

Surprise vendor Ali Nur Mohammed was badly injured in an attack carried out by Al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia. He lost his right leg in the attack and the prosthetic limb that he has worn ever since causes him chronic pain. After reading about him in an issue of Surprise, Ronnie Schenkein set up a fund for Mohammed. This is what happened when the two met for the first time.

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IN PICTURES: INSP Awards 2018 Winners

Our picture gallery of the 2018 INSP Awards. Relive the highlights!

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Read Surprise’s award-winning cultural feature: ‘An odyssey with a dog and a cat’

After a 10-year journey through Europe, the artist Slavcho Slavov has found a home in Switzerland. Now living in Bern, he has added writing to his artistic repertoire and has written a book about his former life on the street. Last night at the 2018 INSP Awards, this piece won Best Cultural Feature. Now, you can read it in full.

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INSP Awards: 2018 Winners Announced!

The winners of the 2018 INSP Awards have been revealed at the official Awards Ceremony, as part of the Global Street Paper Summit in Glasgow.

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INSP Awards: Here are the 2018 Best Photograph Finalists

We’re kicking off our second week of INSP Awards announcements by bringing you the Top 5 entries who’ve each snapped a place as Best Photograph Finalist 2018.

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INSP Awards: The 2018 Best Cultural Feature Finalists are here

The INSP Awards are fast approaching, so it’s time to find out the Finalists up for Best Cultural Feature.

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INSP Awards: Announcing the 2018 Nominees in Best Design

This award acknowledges excellence in street paper design – find out who’s made the Top 10.

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INSP Awards: Hold the front page! Here’s the 2018 Best Cover Nominees

Our most hotly contested INSP Award this year was for Best Cover – with a whopping 63 entries from street papers around the world! Find out who’s made the Top 10…

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INSP Awards: Say cheese! It’s the 2018 Best Photograph Nominees

Strike a pose and get ready to smile…it’s time for us to announce the Best Photograph nominees for the INSP Awards 2018!

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INSP Awards: Introducing the 2018 Best Cultural Feature Nominees

We’re continuing with our 2018 INSP Awards announcements, and today we’re revealing the Top 10 Entries for Best Cultural Feature.

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INSP Awards: 2018 Best News Feature Nominees Revealed

We’re delighted to announce the first set of nominees for the INSP Awards 2018 today, and we’re kicking off with the Top 10 Entries for Best News Feature.

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Our vendors: Tareq Islami (Surprise, Basel, Switzerland)

What would you do if you had lived in a country for over a decade and were then given the order to leave? For ¬Tareq Islami, this situation became a reality in late 2018 when he received a removal order from the Swiss authorities. Here, Tareq talks about the life he has built in Switzerland, and how the uncertainty of living with the threat of deportation has been lessened by the support that they have received from friends and colleagues in Basel.

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A Shower of April Covers: INSP’s latest front page round-up

April has showered us with a flow of fantastic front pages, and we’ve splattered the very best onto this month’s covers round-up!

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Christmas Covers: we unwrap December’s street paper front pages

With Christmas just around the corner, street papers around the world have been getting into the Yuletide spirit and emblazoning their front covers with all things festive!

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INSP Awards: 2017 Winners Announced!

Find out who took home the 12 coveted awards at the 2017 INSP Awards, held in Manchester, UK.

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INSP Awards: Best Campaign Finalists for 2017

Six impressive campaigns from our street papers have made it as finalists – time to find out all about them.

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INSP Awards: Discover the 2017 Best News Feature Finalists

Our top five have been chosen – see if your favourite nominee has made the cut to become a finalist!

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Summer cover-lovin’: our round-up of July’s covers

We’ve been having a blast looking at the highlights from July of what our network has been producing.

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Our round-up of June’s street paper covers

June has been and gone in a flash – but we’ve taken time to stop and look back on a superb month of street paper covers.

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INSP Awards: Discover our Best News Feature Nominees for 2017

This year’s nominees for Best News Feature are in – take a look at the stories that have captured our imagination and made the longlist.

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INSP Awards: Best Cultural Feature Nominees for 2017

What do Game of Thrones, Jon Bon Jovi and a street cat named Bob have in common? They’re all topics of our Best Cultural Feature nominees in this year’s INSP Awards!

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Refugee couple fight to be reunited for their wedding

In December 2015 Laila, a refugee from Yemen, and Toufik, a Moroccan looking for a better life, went to the immigration office to get papers for their wedding. Instead he was arrested and deported. Surprise tells the story of their fight to be reunited.

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Our vendors: Heiko Schmitz (Surprise, Basel, Switzerland)

In 2013, Heiko lost his job, his marriage and his apartment. He lived under a bridge for two years. Just as he was getting help, his daughter died and he turned to drink, but he has managed to turn things around again. Now he is a Surprise vendor, and a city tour guide.

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Invisible People: artist documents where Greek homeless people sleep

Swiss photographer Eva Borner reveals the sleeping places of homeless people in Athens – with a little help from Shedia vendor Michalis.

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Our vendors: Roger Meier (Surprise, Bern, Switzerland)

Roger Meier used to work in construction: he helped renovate the concrete walls of the Mühleberg nuclear power plant and once plastered a concrete dam. Now he sells Surprise at the Bärenplatz in Bern.

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#VendorWeek road trip: Surprise’s Swiss tour to promote vendors

This week, Surprise staff will pile into the back of an old VW van for a #VendorWeek promotional tour of Switzerland. The travelling exhibition will feature vendors’ stories, choral performances, alternative city tours – and free tea and cake.

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Vendor wishes: “My only wish is to be with my two kids and grandson”

In the last of our vendor wishes series, Surprise vendor Tatjana tells us she hopes to be reunited with her family in Switzerland in the coming year.

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October global street paper covers get scary

Between Halloween and Trump, there’s a frighteneing vibe on this month’s international street paper covers. Thank god for Street Cat Bob…

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Our vendors: Andreas Hossmann (Surprise, Basel, Switzerland)

Andreas has worked in the stock exchange and even transported works of art with a revolver at his side. He shares his life lessons from the top to hitting rock bottom.

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Olympic fever gripped world’s street papers this August

August’s street paper covers have the Olympic spirit, featuring ‘cuddly lawnmowers’, a homeless wedding, Steven Spielberg, and a cheeky little bit of rickrolling.

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Our vendors: Ruedi Kälin (Surprise, Zurich, Switzerland)

Homeless World Cup special! Ahead of this year’s tournament – which kicks off in Glasgow this Sunday – INSP caught up with Surprise vendor Ruedi Kälin, who has been selected for the Swiss team.

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Hard-hitting, striking… phizz-whizzing: it’s June’s street paper covers

A gloriumptious look at the world of Roald Dahl, a red-haired mischief-maker, a mafia flower plot and Yanis Varoufakis at the INSP Summit… explore June’s street paper covers.

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Street paper vendors among hundreds of Homeless World Cup players heading to Glasgow

The Homeless World Cup kicks off in Glasgow on Sunday – we caught up with some of the players who are also street paper vendors.