Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 19 years old. I have only been selling Big Issue North for a few months but before that I sold The Big Issue in London. It’s not as busy on my new pitch as it was in London, but people are really friendly and they really care about me.
Where are you from?
I was born in Romania but I have lived in the UK for six or seven years. I used to live in London. I went to school for a while but then we had to leave and go back to Romania and then I came back to the UK again.
Why do you sell the magazine?
I don’t have a job. I don’t have anything. But I have my own kid – a little boy. He is only six months old. I really need money to buy nappies, food, clothes and things for him.
‘My dreams are here. I love this country and I don’t want to leave’
Where do you live now?
I have had a complicated life. I had a partner but he was using too much drugs and alcohol and he was beating me. I left him but then I found I was pregnant, and I went back to him and I thought he would stop because he was going to have a son. But he carried on doing the same, so I left him again. Then I met another man. He was lovely but his mum and his dad were very horrible to me. They were forcing me to make money and bring it back to them. I had to leave him as well and I went home to my mum and dad.
Is it difficult to be a single mother?
Yes, it is, especially in my culture. People will laugh at me and say no one wants me to be with me, especially because I have already had two relationships. They will say things like: “She is a prostitute.” I married when I was 18 and had my boy when I was 18. I know most English girls my age, they study, they work, they have their dreams. But this is not the same in our tradition. I don’t like my culture, these traditions, but I cannot disappoint my mum and my dad. It is a struggle. My son is everything to me. I will raise him differently. I want him to go to school and finish his studies. I don’t want him to live with me all his life, like many Romanian boys do.
What was your childhood like?
My parents, they struggled a lot so I could have things. I am a parent now and I know how hard it was for them. They did their best for me. They found it hard to find work in Romania. They didn’t go to school. They left their country to find a better life for me.
What do you wish for?
I wish I could study more. Being a translator is my dream. I can already speak French, English, Romanian and Romanian gypsy. Also I hope I find someone lovely one day. If I met a man in the future, I would like us to be equals and we can just love each other.
Do you worry about Brexit?
I really do. I grew up here. I went to school here. Here is where my dreams are. I love this country and I don’t want to leave. I can understand that some people might only hear about the bad things that people who come to this country do. But there are lots of good people who come to this country too – people who want to work and pay their taxes. I want people to see the good things that we do here.
Do you have a message for your customers?
I want to tell them thank you for buying the magazine. I don’t know what I would do without their help. I would especially like to thank one family who have helped me. I wish I could say to them so many things, but I say with a big open heart thank you very much.