In 1964, inhabitants of Globocica, located 20km from Struga, near Debar, in the west of the Balkan state of Macedonia, were forced to leave their homes when their village was submerged to make way for a new hydro power station. Fifty years on, the village is writing a new story. On the water that hides the old village you can now see the reflection of new houses built on the hill above. Macedonian street paper Lice v lice visited the beautiful village and met with residents to learn how the new Globocica was built on friendship and solidarity.
Micro-bakeries are rising in popularity across South Africa’s townships as a valuable source of income for entrepreneurial bakers and a healthy, affordable alternative to supermarket bread. Bread plays a prominent role in the lives of South Africans. According to the African Centre for Biosafety, the nation consumes almost 2.8 billion loaves of bread annually. At around R10 a loaf, bread is a big industry. The Big Issue South Africa’s Nicky Wilton meets the township entrepreneurial bakers using small rocket ovens to feed their communities, to find out why more funding could help them become true agents for change.
Daniel Brühl is a Spanish-German actor known for his roles in Good bye, Lenin! Inglourious Basterds, The Bourne Ultimatum and The Fifth State. He also received widespread critical acclaim for his portrayal of former Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda in the Ron Howard biographical film Rush and will soon join the Marvel franchise as the villain in Captain America: Civil War. He talks to The Big Issue’s Steven MacKenzie about his role in The Face of an Angel, based on the Meredith Kercher murder case, starring alongside Helen Mirren in Woman in Gold, and what he learned from Niki Lauda.
Celebrated Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov is the author of 13 novels, including the bestselling Death and the Penguin. In July 2014 he published Ukrainian Diaries, his first-hand account of the ongoing crisis in his country. Going beyond the headlines, his diaries give vivid insight into what it’s like to live through – and try to make sense of – times of intense political unrest during the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In an exclusive article for The Big Issue, he writes about what life is like now in Kiev and the rest of his country: “Russia continues to pump Donbas full of arms, staking everything on the economic collapse of Ukraine.”
A homeless mother gives a bleak insight into what life is like at DC General - the largest family shelter in Washington DC, from where an 8-year-old girl disappeared last year. The 254 families living at DC General daily put up with mice, cold water and little heat, while drug use, violence and prostitution are also rife. “DC General is not a shelter, it’s a prison. We got no safety,” says LeDawn Garris who worries for the safety of her four teenage daughters. A 2014 report revealed more than 25 percent of all homeless people in the nation’s capital are children, and half are people in families. Street Sense reports.
Oklahoma City’s Wayne Coyne is the wild-haired 53-year-old frontman of The Flaming Lips, one of the world's biggest psychedelic rock acts. The band formed in 1983 and is still going strong, having recently released With a Little Help From My Fwends – a psychedelic reimagining of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Coyne sat down with The Curbside Chronicle to discuss growing up in the only city he’s ever called home, homeless animals and The Flaming Lips. He also provided never before seen pictures from his childhood to compliment the story.
For individuals and families affected by the financial crisis and anti-austerity measures across Greece, football has become an unlikely source of relief by uniting communities, encouraging solidarity, rejecting racism and social exclusion and helping the poorest members of society through pitch-side food and medicine drives. Shedia speaks to the players and coaches across Greece using football for hope. “If our government focused on this and made use of the sports and football in particular, it could easily integrate many outsiders into society,” says one coach.
“Mum’s sleeping now”. So why doesn’t she wake up? Though confusing to a child, this is one of the euphemisms commonly used by adults to talk about death. Bodo speaks to German grief councillors working with children and adolescents to find out how specialised counselling can help them cope with the death of a loved one. “When a death is not processed, it leaves scars on the soul - and can scar future generations too. The brain takes pictures. And keeps every single one.”
Columbia Heights is one of the fastest gentrifying areas of Washington D.C. in America. It boasts multiple frozen yogurt shops and fast food joints but parts of the neighborhood are still designated “food deserts” due to the lack of supermarkets that offer fresh fruit and vegetables. As a solution, low income, long term residents are cultivating community and public gardens as a way to improve their access to healthy and affordable organic foods. Street Sense digs into whether community gardens are a potential quick fix or long term solution to food insecurity in the state’s poorest areas.
Civil rights attorney and Harvard professor Lani Guinier believes the admissions process for America’s university system is creating an elite, exclusive and individualist society. She speaks to Street Roots’ Jared Paben about the failure of America’s higher education system and the need for a more democratic learning community. In the interview she discusses the pros of President Obama’s proposal for free community college and the education rights of students with regards to high-stakes testing.
Boystown in Chicago, Illinois is the common nickname for the eclectic East Lakeview neighborhood that is home to Chicago's gay and lesbian community. Its resource Center on Halsted and rainbow archways provide a safe space for those still seeking acceptance. But there is also a pervasive feeling that America’s first gay neighborhood, which holds significant historical and cultural context for the LGBTQ community, is at risk of gentrification and being “filled with more strollers pushed by straight couples who are drawn to the neighborhood's proximity to the lakefront.” Is the gentrification of Boystown an issue that needs addressing? StreetWise investigates.
To counteract terrorism, military force and policing is a default tactic – and talking to terrorists, by contrast, may feel counter-intuitive. But a recent debate organised by a UK university between a former terrorist, the daughter of terrorist attack victim and experts on extreme violence has found that creating a dialogue with terrorists can bring their violence to an end. It means understanding terrorism, and the individual motivations behind their actions, in an entirely new way. “Talking to terrorists does not imply blind acceptance of their motivations or methods … [it] allows individuals who use violence … to see the consequences of their actions on a human scale, not a political one.”
As the Kremlin ramped up its involvement in eastern Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has become an increasingly unwanted guest at international gatherings marking the 70th anniversary of the end of WW2. “2015 was meant to be a year of remembrance and celebration of how far Europeans had come in seven decades. Instead, it has degenerated into a clash that says more about the present than the past, especially in Eastern Europe,” writes Lucian Kim in an opinion piece for Reuters that examines how Vladimir Putin’s skewed view of World War Two threatens Russia’s relations with both its neighbors and the West.
With figures indicating that nearly one in three young adults aged 17 to 24 is too heavy to serve in the military, an ex-army general has said that childhood obesity is now a serious national security issue. In an opinion piece for Reuters, Samuel E. Ebbeson argues that while obesity is a complex problem that has no single solution, school-nutrition is one obvious place to begin changing American’s eating habits. More nutritious school lunches already have proven success rates amongst pupils but more must be done to help schools struggling to source healthy ingredients, says Ebbeson.
Nepal is leading the way on numerous conservation fronts. With 20 protected zones covering 23 percent of Nepal’s total landmass –it ranks among the world’s top 20 nations with the highest percentage of protected land. It also employs innovative tools and strategies to monitor critically endangered species, like the one-horned rhinoceros whose numbers are steadily increasing in the country, and poaching has virtually been eradicated. Experts say collaborating with local communities who depend on biodiversity conservation for their livelihoods is also key, such as a leasehold forestry programme that provides a livelihood to over 7,400 poor households by involving them in sustainably managing over 42,000 hectares of forested land. IPS reports.
An expose recently published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has found that over the last decade, projects funded by the World Bank have physically or economically displaced an estimated 3.4 million people, forcing them from their homes, taking their land or damaging their livelihoods. Over 50 journalists around the world reviewed World Bank records, interviewed scores of people including former Bank employees and carefully documented over 10 years of lapses in the financial institution’s practices, which have rendered poor farmers, urban slum-dwellers, indigenous communities and destitute fisherfolk landless, homeless or jobless. IPS reports.
Long before she was Elsa, Queen of Arendelle in Disney’s mega hit feature film, Frozen, Idina Menzel was Queen of Broadway. At 25 she starred in the original production of Rent, before donning green face paint to play Elphaba, the much-misunderstood Witch of the West in Wicked, picking up a Tony Award for Best Actress along the way. During a cabride to the New York theatre where she’s performing her latest show If/Then, Idina Menzel speaks to The Big Issue about being part of the Frozen phenomenon, her upcoming world tour and letting go...
In 2008, a series of xenophobic attacks ripped through South Africa, leaving foreigners brutally murdered, injured and displaced. Today, there remains lingering stigmatisation held by South Africans towards foreigners and refugees, even though they may be the continent’s greatest heroes both socially and economically, sending more money home than western aid donors contribute. Kim Harrisberg speaks with academics, researchers and African refugees to paint a picture of the liminal state of living for foreigners in the rainbow nation.
British actor, director and screenwriter Kenneth Branagh has embodied Shakespeare’s greatest characters onstage and directed 17 films, including Marvel blockbuster Thor. He speaks to The Big Issue in the North about making Disney's new live-action version of Cinderella, which stars Lily James, Cate Blanchett and James Madden, while at the same time performing in the altogether darker tale Hamlet.
City libraries are increasingly becoming seen as day shelters for people experiencing poverty and homelessness in the U.S. As the gateway to the Internet, libraries frequently welcome homeless customers seeking information on food, shelters, housing advice and job opportunities. To address this need, Denver Public Library is one of several across the country that has hired a full-time social worker. “This is where they are, we need to meet them where they are,” Denver librarian Groene-Nieto tells Denver VOICE. Vendor Dwayne Pride also explains the importance of his local library.