Ioana, Leeds city centre

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 26. I am from Romania but I came to England about six years ago because here it’s very nice. In my country things are hard.

In what way?
Things are very expensive – food, clothes for children, that kind of thing. Here in England it is better. Schools are very good here, much better than in my country. 

Do you have children?
Yes, I have two. A six year old and a one year old. 

Did you go to school?
Me? No. I didn’t like school. 

Your English is good though. How did you learn that?
I had an English teacher for a long time as an adult. And now my six year old is learning English very quickly at school, which is good. 

How long have you sold Big Issue North for?
Before coming to Leeds, I was in Nottingham and I had been selling the Big Issue for six years. But I was struggling to find somewhere to stay in Nottingham. Now I have come to Leeds to sell Big Issue North and I am new here. At the moment I am selling in the city centre but I hope to have an out-of-town pitch soon. 

Why do you sell the magazine?
I like selling the magazine. I enjoy it. I like to speak to people. Some people are nice. Some people are horrible. They say: “Get to work!” and things like that. I say to them: “I am working.” It’s hard selling the magazine in the city centre though. 

What makes you happy?
My family. My mum. My kids. 

Do you have any other family?
I have brothers and sisters, but they all live in different places. My mum lives in Manchester and we speak on the phone a lot. I don’t have a husband. My friend who lives near my house looks after my children when I am working.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you for supporting me and buying the magazine. 

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