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Big Issue vendor Rahela Bujor: ‘The Big Issue gives me confidence’

Bournemouth vendor Rahela Bujor is delighted to be back on her pitch and hopes vending can help her improve her English and her job prospects

Every week in The Big Issue magazine, a Big Issue vendor tells their story in our My Pitch column. This week 27-year-old Rahela Bujor, who sells the magazine in Southbourne, Bournemouth, explains why she is glad to be back on her pitch and how she hopes selling The Big Issue can help her with her English to find a new job.

I missed being on my pitch during lockdown. I missed the people, they’re nice with me and I missed talking to them every day. I missed selling my magazines too of course, I missed everything. I just spent the time with my children at home, trying to help them with their school work. I have four children; nine, eight, five and nearly four. I don’t know how to read a lot but I would just be behind them for when they needed me to help them with something.

I’ve sold The Big Issue for about six years now. Myself, I am from Romania but Bournemouth is my favourite place. I like it, it’s quiet and nice and I have been really welcomed here. I miss Romania a little bit, I’ve got some brothers who are here and some who are still there so it’s been hard not being able to see them during coronavirus.

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I love selling The Big Issue, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. I started it because I heard from a friend that it was a good thing to do so I gave it a try. At first it was difficult because people don’t know you and they don’t buy from you. But then I made some friends and I started to enjoy it. It was OK being away from my pitch during lockdown but I’m very happy to be back now. The best thing is that it gives me confidence. It makes me happy, that’s all.

It’s just me and my children. We have a flat with two bedrooms, it’s really nice but we don’t have a garden. So don’t talk to me about lockdown with four children and no garden! I’m looking for something else, but it’s really hard to find something. We just had to go to the park to get outside, but sometimes the children didn’t want to go because they had heard about Covid and they were scared. I wasn’t really scared myself and I feel safe on my pitch now. But I don’t like the face mask, I think when people see it they don’t want to come up to me in case I’m sick or something.

In the future I’d like to look for another job. My English is so much better these days but I can just read a little bit. So a cleaning job would be good. A nice job, not too hard. My daughter Alicia is only eight but she already knows that she wants to be a schoolteacher. That would make me happy, I would be so proud. We will stay in England, we live in a nice place and we have lots of friends. We’re very happy here.

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Support your local vendor

Give your vendor a hand up and buy the magazine. Big Issue vendors are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. But, at the same time, they are micro-entrepreneurs. By supporting their business, you can help them overcome homelessness, financial instability and other social disadvantages that hold them back.

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