I’m talking about The Big Issue. A not-for-profit organisation that provides employment for homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people around the world.
I didn’t know much about The Big Issue until earlier this year when I had the opportunity to work at The Big Issue Street Soccer Festival in January. I got to meet some great people and hear some inspiring stories. The people you see on the streets aren’t just homeless people trying to flog you a crappy paper, they are people who are working a real job, just like you and I.
The organisation is brilliantly managed and does some incredible and inspiring things. As well as the magazine, they also have programs specifically designed for disadvantaged women and community sporting initiatives, amongst other programs. All of these programs have one main purpose, to help people help themselves. Vendors selling The Big Issue magazine for example earn half the profit of each sale. This helps them pay rent and be self sufficient.
I met some vendors that work for The Big Issue. Great guys, each of them with a killer sense of humour despite having experienced some awful situations. They have great attitudes and keep positive even though they’re often ignored by the general public on a daily basis.
What I learnt…
The vendors are amazing people who get a lot out of having their job and appreciate the opportunity to talk to you. You don’t know someones story just by looking at them so don’t be so quick to judge. And feel privileged if you’re in a job and have had the education and upbringing to get you there (I’m talking to myself here, too).
My challenge to you and I…
Instead of turning a blind eye, let’s aim to give them some of our time. Have a chat to the next vendor you see on the street and ask them how their day is going. Buy a magazine too, it’s a great read!
The bigger picture…
Volunteer, donate or say hi to a Big Issue vendor or anyone else you see. Smile to randoms. Say thank you to the guy at 7-Eleven. Ask your barista how they’re going. Who cares if they think you’re crazy, it might just make all the difference in the world.
Sending you peace, love & light x