Lee: austria

As the refugee crisis worsens, street papers offer a path to stability and a hopeful future

Street papers have found themselves increasingly to be at the centre of the refugee crisis. Higher numbers of people selling street papers across different parts of the world have fled from their home countries due to poverty, persecution and conflict. Not only do street papers have the ability to platform their voices and stories, but they also offer a stable income when a place in the mainstream job market may seem out of reach. Their support beyond simply selling the magazine – assisting in applying for documentation and permits, looking for a new place to live, and language classes – means a pathway to integration into what is sometimes a new and unfamiliar society. Ahead of World Refugee Day on 20 June, INSP and its member street papers are helping some refugees – who now work selling street papers – to tell their story.

Apropos vendor Friday Akpan: “I’m living life day by day”

“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.

Apropos’s Ion Firescu: Living between two worlds

Ion has called Salzburg home for over ten years, but what is home for him is not what is home for us. Ion sleeps on the streets because his circumstances make it impossible to be officially registered in the city. There is another reason, too: he provides for his family in Romania through his work as an Apropos vendor and values his wife and children’s comfort above his own.

Our vendors: Thi Nhin (Apropos, Salzburg, Austria)

Thi Nhin Nguyen arrived in Germany from Vietnam in 1995 and later moved to Salzburg, Austria, where she works as an Apropos vendor. She has built a life for herself in Salzburg and is happy in her work as a vendor, as it enables her to earn an income and to interact with her customers. Her life is one filled with hard work, caring for others and song.

“I will miss him”: As Nigerian street paper vendor prepares to leave Austria, he leaves behind his adopted grandmother

His name is Somadina Ifesinachi Okoye, but everyone calls him Kenneth. When he came to Austria in 2015 and began working as a vendor for the street paper marie, Kenneth quickly befriended Elsbeth Gaisbauer, who became like an adopted grandmother to him. Now, Kenneth is preparing to return to his home country of Nigeria, leaving behind Elsbeth, now 89. marie met the two for one last interview together.

Vendor City Guide: Salzburg

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 married Apropos vendors Georg and Evelyne talking about Salzburg in Austria.

Our vendors: Elena and Fagaras (Apropos, Salzburg, Austria)

Elena Onice and Fagaras Banu are originally from Romania and are building a life for their family in Salzburg, Austria. But one family member is missing: their six-month-old daughter, Sara-Elena, is in hospital in Romania as she is disabled and needs additional support. Here, the couple talk about their hopes for the future, what happiness means to them and their hope that they will soon be able to visit their young daughter in Romania.

#VendorLetters: Apropos vendors transformed by the street paper

To mark the end of INSP’s 25th anniversary year, we have been asking vendors across the street paper network to write a letter to their 25-year-old self. Apropos vendors Luise and Andrea talk about being able to gain independence in the years since turning 25.

Kupfermuckn vendor Bertl: “When I was 25, the whole world was my oyster”

To mark the end of INSP’s 25th anniversary year, we have been asking vendors across the street paper network to write a letter to their 25-year-old self. Kupfermuckn’s Bertl has lived a storied life at sea and around the world. Now 69, he sells the street paper at a weekly market in Linz.

Our vendors: Jan (Augustin, Vienna, Austria)

Jan became homeless in 2000 and moved to Vienna from the Czech Republic seven years ago. He has struggled to secure long-term employment as a result of his visual impairment and returned to his work as an Augstin vendor earlier this year. Here, he talks about the importance of community and the experiences that led him back to Augustin.

Our vendors: Sonja Stockhammer (Apropos, Salzburg, Austria)

Sonja Stockhammer isn’t a woman to beat around the bush; nor is she a chatterbox. But through her judicious choice of words she paints a vivid picture of her life and loves. When she met Christina Repolust for an interview, Sonja talked quickly and eloquently about her love for her horses, dogs and cats, her experiences as a street paper vendor and her feeling that anything is possible.

Growing up together: Apropos editor celebrates 20 years at the street paper

2019 marks INSP’s 25th anniversary, as well as equally remarkable milestones for a number of street papers across the world. Michaela Gründler, the editor-in-chief of Apropos, is also celebrating a landmark: she started working at the Salzburg street paper on 1 February 1999. In this interview, she looks back on the last 20 years and talks about how the image of Apropos has changed, the work that she and her team do behind the scenes and why she loves fairy tales so much.

Our vendors: Gerri (Augustin, Vienna, Austria)

Gerri has been an Augustin vendor for two decades and is a familiar face in Vienna. He sells the magazine in the Gürtel bar district, where he’s known for his friendly demeanour, is on first-name terms with the local bar owners and fields endless questions – with a certain level of bemusement – from people about the fact that he is nearly always barefoot.

Our vendors: Magdalena (Augustin, Baden, Austria)

Magdalena moved to Austria from her home in Romania to sell Augustin. Her employment prospects back in her home country are slim. She spoke to the street paper about the obstacles keeping her from staying in Pitești with her family, as well as acclimating to Austrian food.

INSP Vendor Playlist: Stephen Uruwah (Megaphon, Graz, Austria)

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. Megaphon vendor Stephen is a musician himself, and believes that his songs are perfect for Christmas.

INSP Vendor Playlist: Freedom Odaro (Marie, Kennelbach, Austria)

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. For Freedom, a Marie vendor, “an African beat makes me forget my worries”.

INSP Vendor Playlist: Eduard Binder (Apropos, Salzburg, Austria)

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. Apropos vendor Eduard wants to give the gift of Bavarian yodelling this Christmas.

Our vendors: Boban Pajkovic (Augustin, Vienna, Austria)

Boban Pajkovic has been living in Vienna for over 50 years, after moving to Austria from Serbia in 1967. Here, the talks about his work as an Augustin vendor, the kindness of a man called Mr D and the tells story of how he lost the little toe on his right foot.

Our vendors: Klara Khanova Iqbal (Augustin, Vienna, Austria)

Klara has been selling Augustin in Vienna for seven years. She tells us about her life as a street paper vendor, her sadness at being separated from her children and the companionship that she enjoys with her dog, Rocky.

Part of Apropos for 20 years: An Interview with vendor Luise Slamanig

Apropos, the street paper of Salzburg, Austria, recently its 20th anniversary. To mark that, one of its longest serving vendors, Luise Slamanug, sat down with the publication’s chief editor, Michaela Gründler, for an interview about what life has been like at Apropos over the last 20 years.

Vendor moments 2017: “This year was like heaven and hell”

As 2017 draws to a close, we asked vendors across the global street paper network to look back on the highs and lows of their year. Helmut sells Austrian street paper Kupfermuckn and, for him, 2017 has been a year of extreme highs and lows.

Our vendors: Gernot (Augustin, Vienna, Austria)

Gernot Holzinger is an Augustin vendor who lives in Vienna. Here, he talks candidly about his past and problems with addiction, and talks about his involvement with the paper.

Our vendors: Ernö Horvath (Augustin, Perchtoldsdorf, Austria)

Retired plumber Ernö is originally from Hungary, and has been selling the Augustin for nine years now – with a little help from a supermarket manager and a local pastor. He sends what money he can back home to his wife, who is ill, and his three daughters.

Our vendors: Frances (Augustin, Vienna, Austria)

Frances wanted to become a university lecturer in her home country of Nigeria, but she was forced to leave. After arriving in Austria, she began selling Augustin to support herself. Now in the second year of her Master’s degree in Sociology, she sells the paper as often as her studies allow.

Our vendors: Martin Gruber (Augustin, Vienna, Austria)

Martin has been selling Augustin since nearly the very beginning. Now, 20 years later, he talks about money troubles, about getting older and being free.

Vendor wishes: “I almost died in 2016, I’m wishing for better health in 2017”

It’s been a rough year for Hans, but his customers have kept him going through his health problems. One of them even gave him a very special present.

Vendor wishes: “In 2017, I wish for a second child and good health”

As 2016 comes to a close, vendors tell INSP about their hopes for the new year. Today, Apropos vendor Elena says she wants a better life for her son David.

Our vendors: Zoran (Kupfermuckn, Linz, Austria)

Zoran’s mum fled to Austria from Serbia when he was just six. It wasn’t always easy to fit in, but now he thinks of his colleagues at Kupfermuckn as family.