Lee: ourvendors

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.

Big Issue Taiwan vendor Chu-fang Chuang: “Selling the magazine is my responsibility”

Those shopping in the area between Taipei City Hall Station and VieShow Cinemas pass Chu-fang Chuang as she sells copes of The Big Issue Taiwan outside a Chunghwa Telecom shop. Chuang volunteers for multiple organisations in addition to her work as a vendor and thrives on self-reliance and keeping busy.

Liceulice’s David Jankovic: The street paper was the wind at my back

David Jankovic has been working as a Liceulice vendor for 10 years. During that time, he has won the hearts of readers with his cheerful spirit and friendly manner. Here, he reflects on his childhood, his work as a Liceulice vendor and the happiness he has found in life.

Real Change’s Debbie Nichols: “I am the oddball because I am out there!”

In 1999, Debbie Nichols held a prominent job and was an active member in her community, but an abusive relationship and a drug addiction set her down a troubling path. Luckily, Nichols found street paper Real Change, which she said made a positive impact in helping her find her way back to her normal routines.

Big Issue Japan’s Nakanishi Hitoshi: “Customers have been supporting us for nearly nine years. It’s easy not to quit”

Nakanishi Hitoshi currently sells The Big Issue Japan in Kumamoto City, on the Japanese island of Kyushu, a pitch that has existed for almost nine years. He credits the public’s support with keeping him going. Although life can be emotionally tough, it is vital to keep overcoming hardships and finding a way through.

Surprise’s Taoufik Narati: “When I grew up, I knew I would have barely any chance of getting a job and living a good life in Tunisia with my disability”

Taoufik Narati, 59, came to Europe from Tunisia many years ago. He contracted polio asa young child and underwent many operations to ease his condition; however, as a young man, he realised that there would be few opportunities in Tunisia for someone with his condition. He has built himself a happy life in Switzerland and feels thankful for his work, selling the national street paper Surprise, and loving family life.

Surprise’s Zeynab Ahmed – from Somalia to Switzerland

Thirteen years ago, Zeynab Ahmed, 31, fled Somalia after living in fear under the threat of the terrorist militia al-Shabaab. She has since built a life for herself: she lives with her husband and children in Münchenstein, Switzerland and sells Surprise. She sees her future as being in Switzerland but would dearly love to see her mother in Somalia one last time.

As the Olympics come to Tokyo, Big Issue Japan vendors share their thoughts on the event and sporting memories

This year’s Olympics arrives in Tokyo despite an ongoing pandemic and outrage from some of the city’s residents. Often those at the fringes of society are forgotten about when mammoth sporting events like this begin. The Big Issue Japan asked some of its vendors to share their thoughts on the approaching games and also their own personal sporting memories and achievements.

Street Roots vendor Chris Drake: “Treat me like any other man”

Portland street paper vendor Chris Drake discusses misconceptions about trans people and what visibility means to him.

Nový Prostor vendor Dagmar: “I’m proud to still be self-sufficient”

Nový Prostor has a recurring feature where vendors talk about their pitch allows readers to discover the hidden stories of the places you pass by every day. Here, vendor Dagmar shares her experience of selling between the Lužiny and Luka metro stations in Prague and her life as a woman on the street.

“Better for vendors, as well as for customers”: Washington DC’s Street Sense goes weekly

Despite the uncertainty caused by pandemic lockdowns, Street Sense has made progress and is now going weekly. Located in the US capital, Street Sense Media will start publishing street papers every week starting today (14 April). This increase in frequency is also predicted to attract more vendors and increase their weekly earnings. Testimonials from vendors and INSP show excitement and anticipation for this growth in the street paper.

“Nobody should go without the shot”: Dispatches from vaccinated street paper vendors

With Covid vaccines being rolled out differently across the world, that means marginalised and vulnerable communities in different parts of the world are receiving immunisation at different rates. But it does mean some good news: street paper vendors are beginning to receive the jab, and with the world opening up again, that’s more than welcome.

Songs we love: Curbside Chronicle vendors shout out the tunes they hold close alongside top-tier musicians

Who doesn’t have a song that’s made a special impact on their life? The Curbside Chronicle reached out to musicians from across the US, as well as a few of their own street paper vendors, to weigh in on the tracks that have changed the way they look at the world.

Big Issue Australia vendors write letters to their younger selves

Vendors from The Big Issue Australia were tasked with writing letters of advice and wisdom to their younger selves in a twist on the long-running street paper feature.

Surprise’s new short film tells stories of vendors

Jamie Hӓnni, 23, collaborated with Swiss street paper Surprise for a one-shot five-minute film that showcases the unique stories of four individuals who sell the magazine.

Washington DC street paper vendors on disruption caused by Trump loyalists at Capitol riot

Trump’s rallies and actions in general have caused havoc to those living on the streets of Washington DC, whether it’s setting police and national guard troops on peaceful protestors last summer, or inciting riots at a rally last week as the US Senate moved to validate the election of Joe Biden as the next President. Vendors reflect on the chaos caused.

“I’ll always be able to put food on the table”: Hecho en Bs As vendor Ricardo Blanco reflects on street paper’s role in his life

39-year-old Ricardo Blanco has been an on-and-off vendor for Hecho en Bs As (HBA) since 2003. He reflects on his life so far, and how working for HBA has helped him feel more confident in being able to provide for his family. Blanco is most proud of his family that includes his wife and his four children and grandchild, and the home that he’s been able to build.

“I hope the whole community will rise again”: Street paper vendors look beyond the pandemic

For society’s most vulnerable and marginalised, 2020 – and the pandemic that has defined it – has exacerbated problems already familiar to them: food security, unstable housing, social isolation, income, and access to social services as they are weakened at a time they’re needed most. Street papers, which exist to alleviate that strain, have been impacted too. It’s been hard, but the effects they’ve felt have not been uniform. As the new year approaches, INSP checked in with street paper vendors of differing circumstances across the world to reflect on these past months and to look forward with some hope.

Big Issue Taiwan vendor Kuen-hua Shiu has been with the street paper since the beginning

The Big Issue Taiwan is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. It hasn’t exactly been the most ideal celebration. But Kuen-hua Shiu (Hua for short) first became a magazine vendor back in March 2010, returned to his work with the magazine in November 2019, and is still going even as COVID-19 has affected sales. You’ll find him in the pedestrian arcade at Dingxi Station in New Taipei City sitting on his mobility scooter, wearing his orange vendor’s vest and waiting to greet his customers.

“I have this urge to help others” – Liceulice vendors stick together during COVID-19

Vendors in Kikinda, Serbia have taken a hit to their ability to sell the street paper Liceulice due to the COVID-19 restrictions in their city. Svetlana Kalinov shone during the height of the lockdown restrictions by selflessly encouraging a cohort of her vendor colleagues to donate their savings from selling the magazine to those struggling in the town of Novi Sad. She has also found herself helping out at a local day care centre. Liceulice, she says, makes her feel useful in a world where that connection has often evaded her.

Two Megaphone vendors on very different pandemic experiences

Teresa Ng has been a Megaphone vendor for around eight years and usually sells the magazine from her pitch near East Hastings and Nanaimo Streets in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. She has kept herself busy during the pandemic but has been distressed by the racial abuse she has suffered as a result of her ethnicity. She is looking forward to returning to her work as a vendor. Dennis Chernyk has been a vendor for nearly two years and his pitch is near West Hastings and Granville Streets. In addition to his work with the street paper, Dennis enjoys writing, drawing, gardening, cooking, and spending time with his black short-haired cat Co-co. But, as Dennis tells us, not everyone is as enamoured with cats as he is.

Paused by a pandemic: A STREETZine vendor’s story

Vietnam veteran and STREETZine vendor Gary Keeton recalls his experiences of being forced to halt selling the Dallas street paper due to the COVID-19 outbreak and how his association with the magazine has dramatically improved his life.

“He’s in my phone as ‘God sent’”: Big Issue North vendor’s life-saving friendship with a customer

Will, a Big Issue North vendor in Doncaster, writes lyrically about how a customer and now friend of his, photographer Andy Lynch, was there for him at his lowest ebb.

Me, myself and isolation: Big Issue Australia vendor Mark’s lockdown diary

The lives of millions of people around the world were transformed when countries shut down in an attempt to halt the spread of coronavirus. For Big Issue vendor Mark, who is based in Adelaide, Australia, lockdown was spent fending off boredom, watching TV, talking to friends and family on the phone and dealing with… pigeons.

Real Change vendors were caught at the outset of the pandemic. Now they’re back

King County, home to Seattle’s Real Change, was a key area in the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Now, some normality is returning for its street paper vendors. Here are some of their stories.

Stand and deliver: Big Issue North vendors gradually return to the streets

The UK was a little behind the rest of Europe in seeing street paper vendors return to their pitches. Equipped with full PPE and contactless payment systems, those in northern England selling Big Issue North were both nervous and excited.

Tales from quarantine from Nashville street paper vendors

In this article, The Contributor catches up with several of its street paper vendors to find out how their lives and sales have been affected since COVID-19 hit. Although The Contributor has been able to continue printing physical copies of the paper during the pandemic, its vendors have had to adapt in order to maintain both their sales and their relationships with customers in a way that is safe for everyone.

Hinz&Kunzt vendor Thomas on the joy of returning to his pitch

After the coronavirus lockdown eased, Hinz&Kunzt vendors were looking forward to the restart, but also feeling slightly uneasy. They’ll need help – from Hinz&Kunzt, but also from the people working in the shops outside which they have their pitches. The Hamburg street paper accompanied vendor Thomas to his pitch.