Monica, Co-op, Ainsdale

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 24 years old and I will be 25 in August. I’ve sold Big Issue North for four years and I am originally from Romania. I am Gypsy Romanian – Roma. Being Gypsy Romanian is different to being Romanian. It is like I am from a different country. We are treated differently there and we have our own culture, which is important to me.

Why do you sell Big Issue North?
I need some help. I have three babies – two boys and one girl. They are six, three and nearly two. The youngest is my daughter. I do not have my boyfriend – my children’s father – with me anymore. So I am a single mum now. And that’s why I need to sell the magazine. 

Do you enjoy selling the magazine?
If I don’t like it, I need to do it anyway. But it’s okay. I like it. I really like my customers and they are very good people. I have some very good friends who help with things. 

Do you have any other family?
My mum is very sick and she lives in London. I do not see her very often. My dad is dead. My dad’s mum – my grandma – she died in Romania from Covid two years ago. I hadn’t seen her for five years before that but she was like my mum to me. She looked after me when I was little. I loved her like she was my mum because I grew up with her and she took care of me when my parents were away working in the UK. When she died I felt very very alone. I wasn’t able to go and see her because of Covid. It was so awful. Now it’s just me and my sister in law – my brother’s wife – here in Liverpool. My brother lives in France because he has work over there. I need to stay here in Liverpool because my children are in school and I don’t want to move them, and I have my job here. But it can feel lonely here sometimes.

Where is your children’s father?
My boyfriend left me for someone else. He just left me with my children. What can I do? I can’t change anything. He’s a stupid man.He’s moved to Germany. He doesn’t pay me any money for child support or anything. 

Are you happy?
I need to be happy for my children. I need to be grown up and take care of them. 

You speak good English. How did you learn it?
I went to English classes in the UK when I was a child. I came over when I was younger and so went to school here for the last few years. I can speak English, but I can’t write in it. I can’t really write in Romanian either. 

What do you hope for in the future?
For myself? I don’t know. But I have hopes for my children. I hope for them to be happy, for them to have what they want and need, for them to have a good life. My life is for my babies. That’s it. 

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you so much for everything you do for me, for taking care of me and my children. 

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