Lee: ourvendors

Our vendors: Peter Thompson (Megaphone, Vancouver, Canada)

In a piece written for the fall edition of Megaphone’s Community Journalism 101 workshop, Peter Thompson discusses his love of food. In particular, he writes about bannock – his personal favourite – and shares an anecdote about how, during his childhood, he learned how to smoke fish.

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.

Our vendors: Norma Gastelum (Real Change, Seattle, USA)

Norma has been living in Seattle since 2010 and was introduced to Real Change by her current partner in late 2016. Here, she looks back on her life before moving to Seattle, praises the freedom that she has found by being a vendor and celebrates the resilience that has served her well since childhood.

Our vendors: Marcello (Scarp de’ tenis, Milan, Italy)

“Thanks to Scarp de’ tenis, I am able to smile today,” says Marcello, who sells the magazine in Milan. Here, he talks about this past, the circumstances that led to him becoming homeless and his hope that, in the future, he will be able to repay the kindness that he received while homeless by helping others in need.

Our vendors: Holger (Hinz&Kunzt, Hamburg, Germany)

Holger (53) sells Hinz&Kunzt at the Isemarket in Hamburg Eppendorf. Here, he looks back on his earlier life, which was turned upside down in the 1980s when he worked at a shop selling stolen goods and was blackmailed by his physically abusive boss. The support of friends on the street led him to Hinz&Kunst 20 years ago; now, his life is full of hope – and love.

Our vendors: V.W. (Streetwise, Chicago, USA)

V.W. found StreetWise after attending a homeless luncheon in 2010, during which she learned about the magazine and met other vendors. She has now been selling StreetWise for nearly three years. Here, she talks about her life as a vendor and about the sense of hope that she has regained thanks to her work.

“Who knows anything about how women on the streets suffer? They’re mostly invisible, just like I was”

Cologne-born Linda, a Draussenseiter vendor, was homeless for eleven years. Now, she runs her own self-help group for women on the streets and is passionately committed to ensuring that homeless women are properly supported. Here, she looks back on her life and discusses the positive legacy of her homelessness: those years endowed her with a sense of purpose that she has channelled into helping others.

Our vendors: Old lady Zhong (Big Issue Taiwan, Taoyuan, Taiwan)

Old lady Zhong, as she is known, has been a Big Issue Taiwan vendor for two years. Here, she tells her life story; from her days spent caring for her paraplegic father to her professional life and motherhood. She also reflects on the support that she has received from various benefactors throughout her life and speaks of her desire to carry out similar acts of kindness for others.

How does it feel? Big Issue Australia vendors share what it’s actually like to be homeless

When The Big Issue Australia published their first issue, 60,000 Australians were homeless. Now, that number is almost double. New census figures released this month show that there are more than 116,000 people who don’t have a place to call home. For their latest edition, The Big Issue decided to go beyond the statistics to hear from the very people these numbers represent – their vendors. Their stories are illuminating, devastating, and hopeful, and evidence that homelessness is more than not having a place to sleep.

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: Edin (Kralji Ulice, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Kralji Ulice vendor Edin first took up a pitch to sell street papers as part of his community service after having some trouble with the law. But now, he recognises that the chance to sell the magazine was a lucky opportunity to fall into.

Our vendors: John Birgen (Real Change, Seattle, USA)

John has spent the last 40 years working as a handyman all over Washington state. He has been homeless since the age of 18. Here, he talks about his family background, the challenges that he currently faces and the importance of appreciating how lucky you are.