Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am originally from Romania and I am 21 years old. I’ve been selling Big Issue North for a little more than three months, so I am very new at this.
How’s it going?
It’s really hard. It’s a new pitch and not many people are buying the magazine at the moment. They sometimes just give me some money but I hope more people start buying the magazine soon. Sometimes it’s okay, sometimes it’s not good, but it’s all I can do at the moment.
Why do you sell the magazine?
I am working for my children so that they can have food, nappies, things like that. It’s hard for me to get another job and I do not get any benefits. I came to the UK about two years ago and I am trying to sort out my rights to work and stay here now.
Why did you come to the UK to live?
Life in Romania is very hard. You can’t find work there. I heard from friends that the UK is a good place to live, that you can find work here and that the people are very nice. So I came here for a better life for my children. At the moment I cannot really speak English. I understand some people when they talk to me, but I cannot speak back. I hope to learn more English over time. My friend Sara helps me with translations at the moment.
Tell us a bit about her.
Sara is a Big Issue North vendor in Southport.* She is like my sister. We are from the same town in Romania. We were playing together as children.
And tell us about your children.
I have two children. One is four, the other two. When I get home from selling the magazine, they are always coming to me and looking in my bag, hoping to find some chocolate or something and it’s really hard when I haven’t got anything at all to give them and they start to cry. I do not live with my children’s father. He is no good. But I live with my mother who looks after the children when I am at work.
What makes you happy?
The most important thing for me is when I come home and see my children and know that they are all right. Sometimes I struggle with money but when I do manage to sell some magazines and I can bring home food for my family, that makes me very happy.
Do you have a message for your customers?
I want to say thanks to them. Even the ones who do not yet buy the magazine but who still always smile at me, speak very kind to me and take care of me. God bless them!
Photo:Isabela (left) and Sara. The two friends are from the same town in Romania and used to play as children