Tell us about yourself.
I’m 25 and I came from Romania about three years ago. I now live in Liverpool with my children and my partner. He’s a very good man. We take it in turns to look after the kids whenever the other is at work. There’s no one else to help us. It’s just between us.
“I would like to be an interpreter. I speak four languages.”
How long have you sold Big Issue North?
Since May or June, and then I took a short break to look after my new baby. Selling the magazine is easier for me. If one of my kids is ill, I can go straight home. I don’t need to go to a boss or manager and explain what is happening. I’m also the type of person who likes to talk to people a lot and I enjoy selling the magazine.
What brought you from Romania to England?
It was very difficult in Romania. Things are expensive and you don’t get paid very much. My mum and dad separated about 12 years ago and after that I did not have a good life because nobody was there for me. I was the eldest and I had to leave school so that I could go out to work. I was about 13 or 14. I had to get up in the mornings and work until the night cleaning people’s houses so I could bring food for my brothers and me.
Do you miss Romania?
No, not really. I wish to stay in the UK forever. Here, I’m working, I have my job, I have my house. I feel much better here and I am treated better. My parents still live in Romania. I miss my mother very much. She is my life. Not so much my father. He wanted to separate from my mum. My mum, she was a wonderful woman, a very good mum – and still is. But because he decided to have another woman, my dad left my mum. He didn’t care about us.
Do you worry what will happen next year with Brexit?
I do because I have four kids and nowhere to live back in Romania. I’d have to sleep on the street if we were sent back there.
What connection do you have to your Roma upbringing?
A lot. Because of our religion, I have grown up wearing my long skirt and headscarf and I wouldn’t change myself to wear a pair of jeans like an English person. I feel like that wouldn’t be comfy for me. My children, however, they are growing up here, so it is up to them to do what they want.
What makes you happy?
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to be an interpreter. I speak four languages: Spanish, English, Romanian Gypsy, and Romanian. And for my kids, I just want all the best that I didn’t have. I wouldn’t want them to grow up without a mother and a father. I will do everything for my kids, I can’t survive without them.