Around the World

27 January 2017 Amy Hetherington

Around the World

In the latest edition of The Big Issue, we're celebrating international Vendor Week by bringing you content from vendors around the country and the globe. In the magazine we feature photos and interviews with vendors from some of the 110 street papers in the world. Here are some extra interviews with vendors from Sydney, about what makes selling The Big Issue in Australia special. For more interviews and photos, grab a copy of the latest edition!

 

Howard

Location: Chatswood, Sydney

What has been your biggest achievement?

Four years ago I saw a man collapsing in a busy road in Chatswood, while I was working. I drove my wheelchair into the oncoming traffic to prevent the man from being run over. That day was very special to me and remains one of my greatest achievements, since I was able to help someone.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge is trying to get more wheelchair-accessible buses, or extra room for wheelchairs in the buses.

What are your hopes for the future?

I will need to move house by this time next year, since my care provider is going through a few changes to support us better. I hope, wherever I go, it is better.

What is special about your country?

I believe there is no better place to be.

If you were boss of the world for one day, what would you do?

If I was the boss of the world I would make it the Wonderful World – I would spread peace and abolish weapons.

How has selling the magazine changed your life?

Selling the magazine has changed my life a great deal, because I have met so many people who are now my friends. I’m much more independent now than I was when I first started on Melbourne Cup Day 16 years ago. I would like to say a special thanks to The Body Shop girls for the support they give me.

 

David S

Location: Sydney

What has been your biggest achievement?

My children would have to be my biggest achievement. I have seven children.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Getting rehoused/rehomed has been the biggest challenge.

What are your hopes for the future?

My hopes are that I can improve my life. I hope to make it better for me and everybody I know.

What is special about your country?

I’ve done a fair few miles around the country and it’s the people that make it special. We all seem to get on here and the sun shines. It’s the multiculturalness of the country that I love.

If you were boss of the world for one day, what would you do?

If I was in charge there would be no nuclear weapons, that would be the first thing I would do. Totally destroy all the nuclear weapons.

How has selling the magazine changed your life?

I’ve gone from being homeless to being stabilised, from being feral to being stable.

 

Rachel T

Location: Sydney

What has been your biggest achievement?

There are three, I can’t narrow it down to one. The first is getting the guts up and being a Big Issue vendor, because words cannot explain how it has changed my life. I believe it’s a major achievement that I get out every day and try to be happy.

The second one would be undertaking university and doing well in the first two semesters. The third is being okay with me. I’ve had so many mental health issues as an adult, but I can finally say that I’m happy 80 per cent of the time, which is pretty cool. That’s an achievement.

What has been your biggest challenge?

There are two major challenges I’ve faced. One was trying to bring children up without all the nasty judgements. Trying to raise them without the world on their shoulders and give them a fresh start. The second I suppose is my biggest challenge. It’s when I was in hospital and I was told that I couldn’t walk or talk. To naturally get the strength up to overcome that and go to university and do what I do. But most of all the biggest challenge has been living, because it’s so easy to die.

What are your hopes for the future?

That the world never gives up on hope and that one day we will understand the power that empathy has and that it is worth a lot more than money. People should be more understanding that we have bad days, but we don’t have to be grumpy with each other. It might suck but you’ve got a job, you’re lucky.

What is special about your country?

For me personally, growing up in a country town, it’s the understanding that we all come from a different place and we can do a little bit better that makes Australia special. It’s also the humour, Australian’s have a really good sense of humour I think, and I love that. You can have a bad day and go to bed all sad and depressed or you could have a little bit of a bad day, put a little spin on it and carry on.

If you were boss of the world for one day, what would you do?

There are three things that I would do. One, get rid of credit and I would make it illegal for anyone to sell houses for profit because I think that everyone deserves a good foundation to grow on. Without that foundation you are pretty much stuffed. Two, I’d make it illegal to go to war.  Wars never solve the problems, it just makes more. Three, before learning Maths, English or Sciences we need to go back to the very roots of human beings in general and learn empathy.

How has selling the magazine changed your life?

Before I started selling The Big Issue I was very different. I was very closed in, frightened and scared. I didn’t think I was a very good person and people really scared me because people can be really nasty with each other, because they don’t understand what their words can do to others. I just locked myself away.

The Big Issue, the staff and the lovely customers down at Pyrmont have shown me that there is unity in community; that gives me strength to carry on. I can’t really put it in words because The Big Issue is life to me.

 

For more interviews with vendors from around the world, grab a copy of the latest edition of The Big Issue

A Big thanks to Tiger Tribe for kindly providing all of the globes for this photo shoot (tigertribe.com.au)

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