Eugenia, Ilkley

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 34 years old and I am from Romania. I have recently changed to a pitch in Ilkley and so it is new for me and I am just getting to know people. I think people are looking at me and thinking if I am good or no good. 

How long have you sold Big Issue North for?
Maybe for about five years. I have lived here in England for five years. I came here because Romania is no good – no work, no benefits, no nothing. 

Tell us about your family.
I have a husband but I have no children. It is very sad that I do not have a big family. I love kids! But I do not have any of my own. I do not know why. I have a niece, the daughter of my sister, who I love very much. I help to look after her and buy her things that she needs like milk and nappies. I treat her like my own because she is my family. 

Why do you sell the magazine?
For work. I need to work. I need to pay rent, to buy food, to buy clothes and I send some money home to my mum in Romania because life is very hard over there. My mum has nothing there. She has no help. Also, because I do not have kids, I am always looking for ways to help other children instead. I give money to charities that help children who have nothing – children who are poor or who are homeless. This is because I love kids and because I love Jesus. I want to do something to help the poor children. I am crying for the children in Ukraine who are suffering, and for children in my own country, in Romania, who do not have food, who do not have clothes, who have nothing at all. Some children do not go to school in my country. Many Roma children do not go. They cannot. It is not possible.

Did you go to school?
No, I did not go to school because my dad died when I was very young, when I was just three years old. My childhood was very hard, very sad. 

Is life better now?
Yes, here in England people have good hearts and they help me. I love the English. They are my people. This is my country.

Is religion important to you?
Yes, very. Jesus is very good. I do not drink. I do not smoke cigarettes. This is a good life. 

Do you like selling the magazine?
Yes, very much. It is a good job. My husband also sells the magazine. Because we don’t have any benefits or anything, this is how we earn our money. 

What makes you happy?
When people come to buy the magazine from me, I am happy. When they do not come I am not happy! 

Do you have a message for your customers?
I want to say thank you very much to those people who help me and who buy the magazine from me. I love my customers. They are good people. 

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