Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 38 and I am originally from Romania but we have lived in the UK since 2007. I have been selling the magazine for eight or nine years now. I forget how long!
‘I enjoy selling the magazine but sometimes it is very hard’
How is life at the moment?
It’s OK. Good and bad. My husband has very severe diabetes and sometimes he is alright
and sometimes he is not. He has to take insulin four times every day and check his levels all the time. Sometimes it’s horrible. He has always had this problem. He was born with it. Being diabetic is no good. He cannot really work. He sells Big Issue North one day a week, but most of the time he stays at home.
Tell us about the rest of your family.
I have eight children. Four boys and four girls. The oldest boy is 22. Two of my sons no longer live with me but there are still six at home. We all live in Manchester.
What’s it like selling the magazine in Todmorden?
I enjoy selling the magazine, but sometimes it is very hard. There are very nice people here in Todmorden. Sometimes no one buys anything, but they come and speak very nicely to me. It’s a nice community. Sometimes I sell outside the new Lidl where there is some shelter from the rain, but I also sell near the newsagents and the markets when it is busy.
Would you ever move to a place like this?
I like it here but my children are at school in Manchester and my friends are there and my church is there.
Do you speak English at home?
My daughter doesn’t speak very good Romanian so we usually speak in English. She is nine and she was born in England. Last year, my mum died. We had to go back to Romania for the funeral. My daughter was speaking to people but they didn’t really understand her and she didn’t understand them.
Do you miss Romania?
I do miss Romania a bit. I have my dad there and my brother. I have friends here who are English who like going to Romania on holiday – they say how nice it is. But life in Romania is very hard if you do not have a lot of money. You cannot do anything. Hospitals, medication, doctors – it’s all expensive. We could not get my husband’s insulin there. It’s a very harsh place to live without money.
What are your thoughts about Brexit?
We have our paperwork sorted. That is important. But I think Brexit is no good for anyone.
What makes you happy?
Just when things are nice. My life, my children, my church.
Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you so much to all the people here.
What do you hope for in the future?
I don’t know. It’s hard. I didn’t go to school. I cannot write – only my name. I don’t understand the computer. I could only clean. I do not think there is anything else I could do and it would be difficult to go to school now. I do not have time. I have to look after children, I have to look after the house, my husband, and I come here to sell the magazine two or three days a week as well. Maybe my children will look after me when they all grow up!