Zelda La Grange, Nelson Mandela's former private assistant, writes for The Big Issue South Africa about her memoir ‘Good Morning, Mr Mandela’, the lessons she learned from Madiba and the responses her book has evoked. Her memoirs, published in June 2014, trace the 43-year-old's upbringing in an Afrikaans family that considered Mandela a terrorist. It goes on to describe her improbable appointment to his office when he became president in 1994, and her close relationship with him until his death last year.
“One night on the streets was just the beginning of a huge realisation,” says Dominique Harrison-Bentzen. Last December, the student from Preston in the UK, started fundraising for a homeless man who offered her £3 – all the money he had in the world – so she could pay for a taxi to get her safely home. Their story quickly caught the attention of the world media and the public. Now, as she is left with £45,000 raised via a crowdfunding site to distribute, Dominique reflects on the experience for Manchester’s The Big Issue in the North.
Ellish Danzy was introduced to the street soccer movement thanks to a chance encounter with Chandrima Chatterjee, the director of Street Soccer Philly, who was at Ellish’s new shelter recruiting players. Since his first practice, Danzy has had perfect attendance at weekly games and practices. He’s also represented his country on the international stage at the 2014 Homeless World Cup in Santiago, Chile. The goalie speaks to Philadelphia street paper One step Away about how taking part in Street Soccer has helped him set new goals for the future and the connection he still has with his teammates who “make my day feel better.”
There’s big money to be made from America’s jails and prisons. Outsourced companies, such as Texas-based prison-industry giant Securus Technologies Inc., make a profit every time a deposit is paid into an inmate’s account and from the use of video visiting systems, which are threatening to eliminate in-person visiting. “These companies have figured out a way to monetize both human contact and the only way a prisoner’s family can help them out,” says Carrie Wilkinson, of the Human Rights Defense Center. Portland street paper Street Roots investigates the money being squeezed from captive consumers.
The international measure of wealth inequality is known as the Gini Coefficient. In many countries like South Africa, the rich poor divide is ever present, and is encountered every day by Ferial Haffajee, Editor of South African Sunday newspaper, City Press. She writes a special piece for the street paper about why she simply can’t ignore those who frequent the traffic light stops around Johannesburg begging for money.
Cuba has met the United Nations goal of reducing hunger. But anemia caused by malnutrition is still a problem among infants, small children and pregnant women in this Caribbean island nation, which has been in the grip of an economic crisis for over two decades. A lack of access to healthy, fresh rood that is rich in iron is a key factor, especially for children and pregnant women. An estimated two billion people worldwide suffer micronutrient deficiencies
As a wave of outrage, crossing Pakistan’s national borders, continues a month after the December 16 attack on a school in the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, some citizens are turning away from collective expressions of anger, and beginning the hard work of building grassroots alternatives to terrorism and militancy. The Citizens Foundation (TFC), a local non-profit, has pledged to build 141 Schools for Peace, one in the name of each person killed in the attack. Since 1995, the charity, has completed 1,000 school ‘units’ capable of accommodating up to 180 pupils, all built from scratch in the most impoverished areas of some 100 towns and cities across Pakistan.
An Israeli beauty queen's selfie has caused a stir in Lebanon, with some Lebanese saying their country's contestant at the Miss Universe pageant should be stripped of her title for consorting with the enemy. Miss Israel Doron Matalon posted a photo of herself and Miss Lebanon Saly Greige smiling together at pageant preparations in Miami. Greige defended herself on the photo-sharing service Instagram on January 17, saying Matalon had pestered her for a picture together and finally photobombed her.
Fifty-four years after nine young black men became the first U.S. civil rights protesters to serve jail time for sitting at an all-white lunch counter, surviving members of the 'Friendship Nine' will return to a South Carolina courtroom to be exonerated of their crimes. Their "jail, no bail" strategy helped galvanize the fight against racial inequality in the South and became a model for other protesters. The convictions are among a number of decades-old cases that have been revisited across the South in recent years as courts acknowledge racial injustice in the criminal justice system.
Two friends from Brisbane have launched Australia’s first mobile laundry service for the homeless. In August 2014, Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi set out to improve the hygiene standards of local homeless people by kitting out a van with two 10kg washers and dryers. They now park next to food vans and shelters around the city five days a week. The founders say Orange Sky Laundry, which runs purely on public donations, also helps them connect with homeless people and point them towards services that could eventually get them off the streets for good. “This isn’t just about washing clothes, it’s a catalyst for conversation,” co-founder Lucas Patchett tells INSP.
Since legalizing marijuana in 2012, the US state of Colorado has seen a huge boost to tourism and the local economy. The Marijuana Industry Group estimates that over 10,000 workers in Colorado are involved in the marijuana market. By July 2014, Colorado had collected $25,307,067 from marijuana taxes, while experts project this number will increase to $60-70 million by July 2015. While the new ‘green rush’ has had no real effect on crime, homeless levels are on the rise. Colarado street paper Denver Voice reports on the highs and possible lows of this new budding pioneer movement.
Fed up with Vancouver’s unaffordable rental rates, a group of local residents have eked out an alternative to condo life: the live-in van. “It makes life possible,” says Conrad, who chose to reduce his living space and costs by staying in a modified cube van. “Rent is expensive here. Six hundred dollars a month or more? I could eat for a month on less than that. That's definitely one of the things that keeps me in the van.” Megaphone writer Jesse Donaldson visits the “Van City” encampment in East Vancouver to learn what it means to live off the grid.
In Switzerland and the rest of Europe, border control has become the basis for a business worth billions for organised crime. Human trafficking and people smuggling are – ahead of even weapons and drugs – the most lucrative branch of the global black economy. Swiss street paper surprise speaks to a number of people who have been forced to use fake passports in the hope of securing a better life. All have the same story to tell; the story of invisible barriers surrounding Switzerland and Europe which, whether legally or illegally, can only be overcome with one thing: money.
British actor Andy Serkis, has certain taken on some unusual roles during his film career – he’s played King Kong, an intergalactic ape and is best known for his portrayal of Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy. He speaks to The Big Issue about finding his inner ape, the role of CGI technology in modern films, and also gives a tantalising taste of filming Stars Wars Episode VII.
Almost 1 billion more people will face a life of extreme poverty unless world leaders make progress on poverty and climate change at two crucial summits this year, according to a campaign backed by public figures such as Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu . The "action/2015" campaign was recently launched by 1,000 groups to put pressure on governments ahead of a U.N. summit in September. An open letter signed by Yousafzai and a host of celebrities, warned governments that there were millions of voices they could not afford to ignore.
Lithuania is publishing a manual to advise its citizens on how to survive a war on its soil as concerns grow that Russia's intervention in Ukraine heralds increased assertiveness in its tiny Baltic neighbors. "Keep a sound mind, don't panic and don't lose clear thinking," the manual explains. "Gunshots just outside your window are not the end of the world." The manual, which the Defence Ministry will send to libraries next week and distribute at army events, also says Lithuanians should resist foreign occupation with demonstrations and strikes, "or at least doing your job worse than usual".
Switzerland's frugal pizza lovers have had their hopes dashed for a special rule that would have allowed them to keep ordering cheaper pizza delivery from neighboring Germany. Around a year ago the Swiss customs administration scrapped an exception that potentially allowed food delivery like pizza into Switzerland without having to pass through customs. Despite lobbying for an exception in the case of pizza delivery, the Swiss customs administration has decided against such a move for the time being.
On 14 November 2014, the night that a St. Louis County grand jury announced it would not indict the police officer who fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, rioting broke out along the main streets of Ferguson and the South Grand neighbourhood. It left the storefronts of Saint Louis shattered. But a unique art project quickly sprung up to restore hope, pride and commerce to Ferguson businesses. Paint For Peace called on artists to use boarded up buildings as their blank canvas, using art supplies donated by the public. Exploring Ferguson away from the headlines, Reuters photographer Jim Young has documented the creativity and colour of Ferguson’s shop fronts.
Canada —it’s called “the most beautiful place on earth,” but for whom? British Columbia has recently become the only Canadian province with no poverty reduction plan, despite the pact that poverty rates in the area have been among the highest in Canada for over a decade. Katie Hyslop, news editor for Canadian street paper Megaphone, reports.
“People get used to war. During the last battle, children were still coming to play. Can you imagine, a seven-year-old boy running through the bullets just to play video games,” says Mohammad Darwish, owner of a cybercafé in the Bab Al-Tabbaneh neighbourhood in in Tripoli, Northern Lebanon where clashes between the army and local Sunni gunmen are now common. Tabbaneh is probably the hardest neighbourhood to grow up in the whole of Tripoli, its residents suffering from alarming poverty, unemployment and social exclusion. IPS reports.