The Bear Whisperer is a vendor who sells Megaphone, the Hope in Shadows calendar and Voices of the Street literary anthology in downtown Vancouver. This is a story of his travelling days, hard work and journey to British Columbia – the province where he found the opportunities that changed his life.
Richard Gerrard has been selling street papers in Victoria since 2007 and became a Megaphone vendor in 2014. As well as enjoying his Saturday shifts selling the paper from his pitch outside the Bay Centre on Douglas Street, Victoria, Gerrard enjoys creating things, history and the occasional sweet treat.
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. In the midst of the worldwide renowned Edinburgh Festival, otherwise known as the Fringe, vendor George Whyte talks about the Scottish capital.
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.
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.
Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. Some Street Roots vendors welcome added security; others say private guards – who are not police – overstep their bounds.
Linda Pelletier is a L’Itinéraire vendor who sells the paper from her pitch at Marché Maisonneuve in Montréal. She has faced many challenges in her life and now considers herself as one of the many “beautiful feathers” at L’Itinéraire. Here, we learn more about her experiences earlier in life and her journey through trauma to self-acceptance. Now, aged 64, she can appreciate the beauty within herself.
Pauli is one of Zeitschrift der Strasse’s original vendors and is recognisable thanks to his trademark FC St. Pauli baseball cap. Here, he looks back on the challenges of his early life and talks candidly about his experience of homelessness. He is feeling hopeful about the future thanks to the companionship of his beloved pet dog, Laika, who inspired him to confront his addictions.
In this letter, Liceulice vendor Vesna Avramović tells a very personal story. She describes the personal changes that working as a vendor have brought into her life. She used to lack the confidence to communicate, was prone to anxiety attacks and was also afraid of all sorts of rejection. In time, these tensions lessened, and she started to find joy in her life and work.
Janko is a Nový Prostor vendor currently based in Prague, Czech Republic. He has over eight years’ experience of being a magazine vendor and he has worked in various European countries during this time. Here, he talks about what his life as a vendor is like and explains why striving for good fortune and having hopes for the future are important in life.
In a twist on the long-running vendor profile feature, Claire McKenna tells us more about Toledo Streets vendor Rooster Tinch. Claire is a Toledo Streets vendor and program manager who has become close to Rooster since he started working as a vendor in early 2018. Here, she talks about how Rooster has become part of the Toledo Streets family and a valued and successful team member – and shares the maxims that he lives by.
After news of his death broke early last week, tributes began to pour in for popular Big Issue vendor Paul Kelly. Today at his pitch, outside Sainsbury’s supermarket on the city’s main shopping street Buchanan Street, where flowers, messages and mementos had sprung up in his absence, a crowd of people joined friends, colleagues, and others who had been touched by his character and presence, for a vigil in his memory.
All of us experience some degree of stress in our everyday lives. For those who are homeless, however, stress can be a debilitating and chronic issue. Street Roots talked to a number of individuals about their experiences of life on the streets and about the impact that stress has had on their lives. This is especially pertinent as delegates at this year’s ongoing Global Street Paper Summit talk about dealing with conflict and vendor welfare.
Asphalt vendor Sascha talks about his struggles with his mental health, his childhood, his love of movies and his penchant for creating movie themed podcasts. Asphalt is based in Hannover, the city hosting this year’s Global Street Paper Summit.
At the end of January, when there was still snow in Cologne, Draussenseiter vendor Lothar was equipped with an analogue camera and asked to record a day in his life. He liked the idea and started documenting straight away. Here you can see the selection of photos Lothar captured, along with his comments.
Originally from Romania, Reghina (55) is now an Asphalt vendor in Hannover, the host of this year’s Global Street Paper Summit. Here she speaks about being the subject of discrimination in her home country, moving with her kids to the Czech Republic, and then herself to Germany, and finding a kind of friendship with her customers.
A group of #INSP2019 delegates were lucky enough to learn about Hannover’s homelessness situation from host street paper, Asphalt, and one of its vendors, Thomas. Delegates visited the Asphalt office, learning about its processes and were given a tour of social spots important to those living on the streets of Hannover.
Bojana Ivanov Ljubomirov and Petar Jugovic are Liceulice vendors who have found happiness together. They were already working as magazine vendors when they met each other, and they have gone from strength to strength since joining forces to sell the magazine together. Not only are they growing in confidence; they are also building a life together and sharing their joy with others.
Isabelle Raymond, a L’itinéraire vendor based in Montréal, has always been sensitive to the differences between people. As a child, she recalls trying to educate her classmates when they made fun of students at a nearby school for children with special needs. When her sister was born with several health needs, and later diagnosed with intellectual disabilities, Isabelle gained privileged insights into what life is like for someone with special needs.