5 June 2015

Our vendors: Cyril Mylambiso (The Big Issue South Africa, Cape Town)


When Cyril Mylambiso started selling The Big Issue South Africa in Cape Town four years ago, he had lost his job, separated from his girlfriend and felt like a failure because he couldn’t support his two children. 

Today, as he stands on the streets of Cape Town in his blue vendor bib, which states his main goal is to support his family, Cyril is proud proud to have held down a job for so long.

He explains how The Big Issue South Africa is helping him find better work opportunities and the confidence to rebuild his relationship with his children.

“I’ve been a Big Issue vendor for four years. It hasn’t been easy for me, because I could never hold down a job for too long. I don’t have many skills, so the jobs that I apply for are often contract positions, which eventually come to an end.

“When I lost my last gig, it really hit me hard. My girlfriend and I decided to part ways around the same time and I felt like a failure because I couldn’t support my two children, who were very young at the time. A friend from my neighbourhood told me about The Big Issue and I decided to give it a go.

“It feels good that I have been able to stay in one place for so long. Some people may think that selling the magazine is not a real job, but to me it is. 

“For the first time in my life I have been able to hold down a job. It has restored my confidence. I am dedicated to selling out each month. I make up to R250 a day – sometimes even more. I love selling the magazine and I am so happy to be the Vendor of the Month.

 “Right now I am not in a hurry to move on because I have been so happy, but I know that sooner or later I will have to move on to something better. The Big Issue is a hand up, not a hand out, so for my children I will have to seek employment where I can earn more.

“My advice to new vendors would be to make use of all the opportunities that The Big Issue offers. Right now, I am focused on improving sales but my goal for the year is to work on getting a new job.”

This is a summary of an article from The Big Issue South Africa made available to street papers in our network via the INSP News Service here.


4 June 2015

INSP Awards Shortlist Announced

The finalists for the INSP Awards 2015 have been revealed, ahead of the awards ceremony in Seattle on 25 June.

The INSP Awards have been recognising excellence in street papers since 2008.

For the first time this year, the awards feature five ‘Impact’ categories, which celebrate the range of additional work that street paper organisations do, beyond the papers themselves.

Judges agreed that the standard of work was exceptional, and all commented on how much they had enjoyed reading the entries for all categories.

After judging the Impact categories, writer, communications strategist & entrepreneur Candace Faber, said: “I'm so impressed by every effort represented here and inspired by what the street papers are doing in their communities around the world. What an honour.”

Richard Walker, editor of The National and The Sunday Herald, said of the stories: “Overall, a really high standard and some unexpected topics which made you look at some subjects in a whole new way.”

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Seattle on 25 June, as part of INSPired Together: Global Street Paper Summit. 

If you'd like to hear more about the work of street papers, sign up for the INSP news round up here.


INSP AWARDS 2015 FINALISTS

Best News Feature
  • The Contributor, USA
    Finding forgiveness on death row By Amanda Haggard
  • The Big Issue South Africa
    What’s wrong with crime scene investigation in South Africa? By Damien Schumann
  • Hinz&Kunzt, Germany
    Milano Centrale: a resting stop for refugees By Jonas Füllner
  • Sorgenfri, Norway
    The Heroines By Trond Ola Tilseth
  • Street Roots, USA
    American police arrest homeless woman for charging phone By Emily Green

Best Cultural Feature
  • Megaphone, Canada
    “The cure for blindness is telling it” By Austin Chisholm
  • The Curbside Chronicle, USA
    Wayne Coyne: Home is Weird You Are By T.O. Bowman
  • The Big Issue, UK
    Sir David Attenborough: 88 and still flying high By Sylvia Patterson
  • The Big Issue Australia
    Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker By Rebecca Harkins-Cross
  • Real Change, USA
    Cardboard canvas By Hart Hornor


Best Cover

  • The Big Issue South Africa
  • The Curbside Chronicle, USA
  • The Big Issue Taiwan
  • Megafon, Norway
  • LiceuLice, Serbia
  • Sorgenfri, Norway

Best Photo

  • Megafon, Norway
    Photo by Ingvild Festervoll Melien
  • Shedia, Greece
    Photo by Matina Paschalis
  • The Curbside Chronicle, USA
    Photo by Joshua Officer
  • =Norge, Norway
    Photo by Dimitri Koutsomytis
  • The Big Issue South Africa
    Photo by Juhan Kuus

Best Design

  • The Curbside Chronicle, USA
  • LiceuLice, Serbia
  • Mi Valedor, Mexico
  • Speak Up, USA
  • The Big Issue Taiwan

Best Vendor Contribution

  • The Big Issue Australia
    STUFFED By Wayne
  • Megafon
    “Dear Mum and Dad” By Ida
  • The Contributor
    Dinner with my Son By Jennifer Alexander
  • Denver Voice
    Random Life Particles By Barbara Bartlett
  • Speak Up
    Hope Dead Winter By Dustin LaPres


Best Non-Street Paper Project

  • Nota Bene, Slovakia
    Homeless Luggage Porters
  • CAIS, Portugal
    CAIS Recicla
  • Street Sense, USA
    Cinema from the Street
  • The Big Issue Australia
    The Big Issue Classroom
  • Apropos, Austria
    Yoga for Vendors and Readers


Best Online Presence

  • Megaphone, Canada
  • Street Roots, USA
  • The Big Issue, UK
  • The Big Issue Taiwan
  • Hinz&Kunzt, Germany

Best Technology Innovation

  • Shedia, Greece
  • Megaphone, Canada
  • The Big Issue South Africa

Best Breakthrough

  • Bodo, Germany
  • Street Roots, USA
  • The Contributor, USA
  • Hus Forbi, Denmark
  • Toledo Streets, USA

Best Campaign

  • Hinz&Kunzt, Germany
    Victory for Bottle Collectors
  • Megaphone, Canada
    Dying on the Streets: Homeless Deaths Report and Campaign
  • Real Change, USA
    OutsideIN
  • The Big Issue, UK
    The Vendorendum
  • The Contributor, USA
    #WrapUp2014


2 June 2015

Celebrating ten years of =Oslo


Norwegian street paper =Oslo is celebrating ten years in print this month with a very special birthday edition.

Norway's very first street paper went to press in the summer of 2005 and sold 70,000 copies. It now supports around 200 vendors in 15 different cities and towns across the country, including Oslo.

The latest, 100-page edition (on sale since Monday, 1 June) features all 113 =Olso covers from the past decade to visually explore its editorial evolution.

The issue also features the street paper's vendors and readers. This month's cover star is Mona, a grandmother and happy =Oslo customer, photographed by Haakon Hoseth in the street paper's very own studio.

So Happy Birthday =Oslo, here's to another incredible
ten years!

13 May 2015

Write on! Street paper vendors help promote literacy in Macedonia

Lice v lice vendors have been helping to promote Macedonian literature and improve reading habits by joining a special campaign run by electrical distribution company, EVN Macedonia.

On May 7, the street paper vendors attended the campaign's launch at the Skopje Book Fair to sell a special edition of the Lice v lice.

The issue was packed with feature articles, interviews and news reports that highlighted Macedonian writers and explored how literacy levels could be improved across the country.

Dressed in their Lice v lice uniforms, vendors also carried backpacks displaying large bookmarks emblazoned with the reading motto – “Create your habit" to promote the pleasure of reading.

The vendor team also handed out free books from several Macedonian publishers ("Tabernakul”, “Tri”, “Goten”, “Ars lamina”, “Magor”) to the first 100 readers that bought the magazine. A free anthology of work produced by young Macedonian authors was also given as a special freebie to every Lice v lice customer.





The event was hosted by Macedonian journalist, Ana Zafirova, and school pupil, Ana Stankovska. It also included poetry readings and several educational writing and drawing workshops for school children.

Famous Macedonian actress Verica Nedeska – Trajkova is the cover star of the latest Lice v lice magazine promoting literacy and literature.

Photos by Tomislav Georgiev.

(Cover pictured left - photography by Milena Viitman, design and illustration by Evgeny Viitman).


To learn more about promoting Macedonian literature and new authors, go to Raskazi.mk. For more Lice v lice news, click here.

8 May 2015

"They are fighting. Shedia's vendors never give up"


Shedia, Greece’s first street paper, launched two years ago in Athens. Today, the publication is still going strong, and supports around 160 vendors, 17 of whom are now in permanet housing. But one third of Greeks still live below the poverty line and the list of people looking to Shedia for help continues to grow. 

Editor Chris Alefantis speaks about the current situation in Greece, the vital work Shedia does and its incredible vendors.

Shedia came about from the desire to support those who had been most seriously affected by the economic and financial crisis. One could also say that Shedia is a result of the rage surrounding injustices which have happened to the vast majority of Greek workers and the middle class. We had to do something to help those affected. The same goes for the thousands of people across the country who have set up networks of solidarity and who are helping in every possible way. These are grass roots answers to a bigger problem.

If you look at the figures, it becomes clear that not much has changed over the past five years. The unemployment rate continues to be around about 26%, and the youth unemployment rate is 50%. People have been job seeking for years without success. We are especially concerned about those who are aged 45 and over. Their job prospects are particularly bad.

The queues outside soup kitchens are continuing to grow. Hundreds of thousands of people don't have health insurance anymore. How can we allow this to go on? The number of long-term unemployed people is so great, and that's dreadful. If you walk around Athens, you don't see many people smiling.

On the other hand, we support each other in everyday life. In an interview with us, the famous Greek author Vassilis Alexakis said, "We have no other option than to be optimistic." We should try that and continue to fight for a better future, both individually and collectively. This is also the stance taken in our street paper vendor meetings.

99% of our vendors are victims of the financial crisis. They had a job, a place to live, a family. They lost their jobs, then a few months later they lost their homes, and then they lost everything. Architects, former publishers, tradesmen or shop owners work at Shedia, as do people who have worked in unskilled labour. They were the first victims of the financial crisis. Their stories are those of completely normal people. On the one hand it's sad, and on the other their determination to get their old life back is impressive. They are fighting. Shedia's vendors never give up.

We also support our street paper vendors in their search for jobs and accommodation. Seventeen formerly homeless street paper vendors already have their own small flat paid for using the income that comes from selling street papers. We are delighted when it works. For us, this is a common victory. It's our readers who make this happen when they buy a street paper.

Our dream is that Shedia becomes superfluous, that all of our vendors find "regular" employment, through which they can earn their living. We also dream that we will reach the point where we will no longer need a street paper. We all look forward and work hard towards a better future. It's hard work, but we'll manage to do it. As Vassilis Alexakis says, "We have no other option than to be optimistic."

This post is based on an interview by Bastian Pütter originally published in German street paper Bodo. It was made available to INSP members in German and English via our News Service and has been republished widely across our network.