Rebeca Stan, One Stop, Drakes Cross Parade, Hollywood, Birmingham

Aside from her regular pitch, Rebeca works in the Big Issue office once a week, helping other vendors to set up their smartphones to take card payments

I started selling The Big Issue three months before my daughter Izabela was born. I wanted to make a bit more money to help once she arrived. It was very hard because I had to stand all day, but lots of people were kind to me. There was Greggs by my old pitch and people would buy me sandwiches and cakes from there all the time, I ate so much food from Greggs!

One lady bought me clothes for Izabela before she was even born. Another lady gave me her number and sometimes we chat. I send her pictures of Izabela. She always buys the magazine and buys me a treat. Some vendors are loud and shout ‘Come buy The Big Issue!’ but I wait for my customers to come to me. 

I still sell The Big Issue now Izabela is here, she’s nine months old now. When my boyfriend is at work at McDonald’s I look after her, and when he’s off work and taking care of her, I come to my pitch. One of us is always working. It’s difficult but our rent is high and we’ve had a difficult time with money. 

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The landlord is charging us £850 each month – it’s too much. Sometimes our parents help us with rent but we try to pay it ourselves. I don’t want them to be sending money over from Romania.  

Mine and my boyfriend’s parents live in Romania now so it’s just the three of us here. I miss my family but we talk to each other all day. When I’m at my pitch sometimes we’ll have a quick call and I’ll tell them how the day is going. My parents brought me to the UK when I was four years old. It was very hard in Romania at that time, we didn’t even have a house to live in.

At first I went to school in Manchester and then we moved to Birmingham. I’m grateful I was able to grow up here. The UK is very helpful, people are very nice. They have respect for each other and they try to understand what you’re going through.  

When I was in Year 9 we went to Romania after my grandma died and I didn’t go back to school after that. Because of that it is difficult for me to get some jobs that need qualifications. But Georgie at The Big Issue has offered me a job working in the office one day a week helping other vendors from Romania. I’ll be helping to translate things to them, show them how to use a smartphone to take payments and teaching them how things work here. 

I’d like to thank Georgie for all her help, she’s helped me with everything, even with a pram for Izabela and with food vouchers.  

I’m happy that Izabela will grow up here. I want her to learn English and grow up nicely. We’ll go to Romania on holiday sometimes but then we’ll come back. Growing up in the UK helped me, so I want that for her too. My dreams for the future are to have a nice house and for Izabela to do well in school, and to be happy, and when she grows up I can get a good job.

Interview: Evie Breese 

One Stop, Drakes Cross Parade, Hollywood, Birmingham, UK