For Honey Thaljieh, football has always been more than a game. As a Palestinian woman living under occupation, she says football represents freedom and hope. Thaljieh speaks to INSP about smashing cultural, social and political barriers to co-found and captain Palestine’s first-ever women’s football team. She continues to inspire another generation of players as Manager of Corporate Communications for FIFA.
More women than ever before competed in the Homeless World Cup from 12-19 September. INSP’s Laura Smith was in Amsterdam meeting them and hearing their stories. “This is an amazing experience and I’m sure my life will change totally after this,” says Greek player Stella Kantzilidou.
Fronting Chvrches, ex-Big Issue writer Lauren Mayberry has become a worldwide star and a figurehead for the new feminism. She has used her platform to speak out against misogyny – and to support worldwide street papers. “Street papers are an incredibly powerful thing,” she says. “It’s a way of giving people back control and autonomy in their lives.”
For Slovakian street paper vendors in Bratislava, the city’s busiest railway station used to be a place of refuge while they slept rough. Now it’s also where they work. INSP reports on Nota Bene’s Luggage Porters project, which employs formerly homeless street paper vendors to carry people’s luggage in the train station, free of charge. The innovative scheme won the 2015 INSP Award for Best Non-Street Paper project.
We use our mobile phones to find the nearest train station, shop, bar or hotel – but what if you could also use it to find your nearest street paper vendor? In two cities, thousands of miles apart, you can now do just that. Rebekah Funk reveals the story behind this year’s INSP Award winner for Best Technology Innovation in Vancouver, as well as a Greek take on the ‘vendor finder’ app.
In July, 100 single-use cameras were handed out to homeless and formerly homeless Londoners. Their photos have sparked worldwide interest. INSP’s Laura Dunlop discovers what the global reach of the project has had on its homeless photographers.
Street Sense vendor Gerald Anderson has written a dramatic book about how he used the skills he learned in prison to rescue people during the aftermath of the hurricane, and his current situation sleeping on people’s floors in Washington. Journalist Susan Orlins met Gerald during a Street Sense writing workshop and helped him pen his memoirs. She introduces an extract from the book.
As the glamourous frontwoman of Scissor Sisters, Ana Matronic has travelled the world and topped charts with sexy disco pop. Her stage name reveals another obsession, though – since she was a little girl, she always wanted her own robot. Now, she’s channelled her life-long droid obsession into a witty and accessible book, Robot Takeover. She tells INSP that sci-fi is no longer a (white, straight) boy’s club.
“We’re trying to show that we are more than what people say and think homeless is,” explains the Street Sense vendor, artist and filmmaker, Sasha Williams. She is one of eight homeless and formerly homeless filmmakers in Washington DC who are telling their own stories of surviving homelessness by creating hard-hitting Cinema from the Street, a film project from Street Sense. INSP speaks to Sasha and project co-ordinator Bryan Bello.
Ahead of a new film about his life, in which he is played by Robert Redford, veteran US reporter Dan Rather reveals the true story of his controversial departure from CBS and blasts the US media for failing to speak truth to power. Increasingly, he says, news organizations are too concerned with the Kardashians to properly cover the stories that matter. “The sense of public service is what’s been drained out of a bunch of journalism of the last 25 to 30 years,” he tells INSP.
Seattle may be one of the fastest growing cities in America, but as steel and glass skyscrapers rise, so does its homeless population. An overnight count in January by the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness recorded 3,772 unsheltered homeless people across the area – the highest number since they started their counts in 2006. One temporary solution the city is embracing is homeless encampments, or tent cities. During the 2015 INSP Summit, we spoke to residents of Tent City 3, Seattle’s longest running homeless encampment, to discover how they have built a secure and close-knit community under canvas. Photos by Andreas Düllick and Laura Smith.
A photography project in New York aims to change public perceptions of LGBT homeless youths by giving them the power to control how they are portrayed. The collection of photos, known as SEE ME, was created in collaboration with Reciprocity Foundation and photographer Alex Fradkin, the nonprofit’s first-ever artist in residence. Rather than showing young people huddled on street corners, the colourful series shifts the focus to places of importance for homeless LGBT youths. Taz Tagore, co-founder of Reprocity, explains to INSP how SEE ME captures their qualities of tenacity, hope, creativity and inner strength that are so rarely seen.
Indian-American socio-political activist Arun Gandhi is the fifth grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. Aged 12, his parents sent him to live with his grandfather in India, where the elder Gandhi introduced Arun to his theory and daily practice of peace and nonviolence. The pair had just 18 months together before Mahatma was assassinated but this was enough to transform Arun into a persuasive advocate of Gandhian ideals. In a wide-ranging interview with Danielle Batist for INSP, he argues that we need more positive news, and gives his advice to young activists. At 81, he is in no mood to retire. Arun Ghandi has also written an exclusive article for street papers in which he discusses why our ‘culture of violence’ must end for the good of all. Includes photos by =Oslo photographer Dimitri Koutsomytis.
An innovative project in Barcelona has been turning homeless people’s handwriting into sellable typefaces, with all profits going towards local non-profit, Arrels Foundation, which supports half of the city’s 3,000 homeless population. Homeless Fonts have been used to market products, displayed on websites and were even featured on the front cover of The Big Issue, Australia. INSP speaks to the project’s creator and participants about how their writing has gone from being on cardboard signs to household brands, and is now bringing in more than a bit of spare change for the homeless in the Catalan capital.
Cave dwelling isn’t just a way of life favoured by our prehistoric ancestors. Whether it’s to get spiritually closer to Mother Earth, for economic reasons, as an escape from violence and persecution or simply a way of life that goes back generations, millions of people across the world live in homes carved from rock. This Reuters photo series introduces the cave dwellers of Afghanistan, China, Mexico, Honduras and Palestine.
Almost a decade after they went on “indefinite hiatus”, Sleater-Kinney is back. “Look out world!” exclaims singer Corin Tucker, as she sits down for a wide ranging chat with INSP, taking in the international economic crisis, the impact of the internet on the music biz and why it’s the right time for the return of riot grrrl. The photocopied DIY fanzines are history, but with the release of caustic new album No Cities To Love, Sleater-Kinney are bigger than ever.
A charity football tournament for disadvantaged children around the world will take place in Cairo, Egypt in August. Under the patronage of some of the Middle East's biggest soccer stars, the summer event held at the Cairo Indoor Stadium will bring together eight teams of boys aged 14-15. SATUC, the charity behind the event, believe it will open up new opportunities and new hope in the lives of kids from some of the world's toughest urban environments. Colin Donald reports for INSP.
Using an old city bus retrofitted with showers and toilets and manned by a handful of volunteers, US non-profit Lava Mae provides hundreds of showers for homeless people in San Francisco every week. But the project’s founder Doniece Sandoval says that Lava Mae doesn’t just offer people showers and sanitation services. Being clean restores their dignity and the confidence to apply for jobs and help change their situations. Lava Mae has already had a huge impact in a city where approximately 7000 people are homeless. The innovative project now aims to provide dignity to homeless people on a global scale, one hot shower at a time.
For the women who live in the Uganda’s city slums, every day can be a fight for survival. Boxing is now a way of life for a number of women living in the poorest areas of Uganda's capital Kampala. For them, learning to box isn’t just a pastime - it is a way to protect themselves in the Katanga slum, where crime is rife and attacks are common. Some also hope that one day the sport could help them earn an income. In November 2014, members of the local women’s boxing club made history when they took part in the Women's World Boxing Championships South Korea for the very first time.
Famous musicians, comedians, journalists, politicians, and religious leaders paid tribute to the hard work of street paper vendors when more than 70 of them took on the challenge of selling The Big Issue across the UK for INSP’s #VendorWeek. Lauren Mayberry, singer with Scottish band Chvrches, was among the guest vendors who took an hour out of her busy schedule to sell the street paper in central Glasgow. Having previously worked for the magazine, she was delighted to find out more about the 114 members of INSP: “It’s been great to learn more about INSP and how the network works. I think it’s a really positive thing and I’m happy to be to supporting it.”