For girls living in northern Pakistan’s sprawling tribal regions, the struggle for education began long before that fateful day when members of the Taliban shot a 15-year-old schoolgirl in the head. Still, the news that Malala Yousafzai – a former resident of the Swat Valley – won the Nobel Peace Prize brought hope to those battling the Taliban. “It will be a motivational force for parents to send their daughters back to school,” said Muhammad Shafique, a professor at the University of Peshawar.
Since the mid-90’s, Ireland has been an attractive destination for people from all over the world, in particular Eastern Europeans and West Africans. But many children have arrived without their parents while some were trafficked. These children are known as ‘separated children’ and some have lived an existence of neglect and sexual abuse. Indeed, around 6000 children are thought to have arrived in Ireland since 1999 and at least 440 remain unaccounted for. Ireland’s Big Issue reports.
“We put ourselves between the harpoon and the whale in inflatable boats,” says Greenpeace's Maite Mompó. She spoke to The Big Issue UK about being a deckhand on the Greenpeace vessel, Rainbow Warrior, and perilous attempts at sea in Antarctica to stop whales being harpooned.
During World War II, thousands of people fled their homes in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to escape approaching Soviet forces. The plight of the Baltic refugees in 1944, and their time spent in makeshift camps where food and proper accommodation was scarce or non-existent, gave rise to the first wave of postwar homelessness. Suzanna Hanney of StreetWise reports on a new exhibition that documents the lives of refugees who came to Chicago, Illinois, USA, to escape violence.
Ewan McGregor is a Scottish actor who shot to fame in the 1990s playing drug addict, Renton, in the hugely successful film, Trainspotting. Since then he has starred in a string of Hollywood hits including Moulin Rouge, Black Hawk Down and all three episodes of the new Star Wars trilogy. He speaks to Rebecca Harkins-Cross of The Big Issue Australia about his new film, Son of a Gun, in which he plays a villain for the first time.
A phone-hacking scandal in the UK where journalists at one of the country’s biggest-selling newspapers illegally tapped hundreds of people’s phones caused outrage in Britain. Celebrities, politicians and a murdered schoolgirl were targeted by the News of The World resulting in calls for restrictions on press freedom, prison sentences and questions for the British Prime Minister. It was Nick Davies, an investigative journalist with The Guardian, who exposed illegal activities and a toxic culture of corruption and exploitation at the now-defunct tabloid owned by media magnate, Rupert Murdoch. Davies speaks to The Big Issue in the North about his book, Hack Attack, which is being adapted for film by George Clooney.
Sean Morgan had been homeless several times by the year 2000. By then he was renting an apartment in Portland, Oregon, USA, working all hours just to pay the bills. However, an injury from working hard labor jobs left him struggling financially and he was looking at another stretch of homelessness. It was then Morgan came up with a unique idea and he bought three boats, lashed them together and set sail. He now lives a good life on the Willamette River in a makeshift houseboat. He speaks to Emily Green of Street Roots.
There are over 120 street papers supported by INSP across the world that help homeless people lift themselves out of poverty by providing them with a job. Vendors buy the magazine for half the cover price, sell them at full price and pocket the difference. The street paper movement itself started in New York, USA, in the 1980s. Amanda Haggard of Nashville’s street paper, The Contributor, charts the history of the street paper movement in America, not just pioneering creative ways to deal with homelessness but also fearless journalism focused on social justice and human rights. She urges customers not just to buy the paper, but to read it too.
Over the last two decades or so, The Big Issue UK has made a huge difference to many people’s lives but like any great British institution a few myths have grown up around the street paper along the way. So, to celebrate its 23rd birthday, The Big Issue UK set about busting some of the myths mistakenly held about street paper vendors. Pass it on and #celebrateyourvendor.
There are many reports about the thousands of young men from Western Europe travelling to the Middle East to fight for Islamic State but governments are also becoming concerned by the smaller but steady flow of teenage girls leaving home to join the ranks. According to parents, relatives and radicalization experts, the girls are lured by the promise of humanitarian work but when they arrive they discover their true fate: forced marriage to a fighter, strict adherence to Islamic law and a life under surveillance and little hope of returning home.
Instances of child-abuse related to witchcraft are on the rise in the UK, police have warned. There were 27 allegations reported in the past year whereby children were abused by people who believed them to be possessed by demonic spirits. Some of the children were raped, beaten and forced to drink unknown substances in exorcism ceremonies. The police said this form of abuse is rarely reported because the crime is kept hidden by families and faith communities, meaning the true scale of the issue is unknown.
The UN has estimated that 1.3 billion tonnes of food goes to waste globally every year while at the same time 805 million people go hungry. A recent forum in Italy organised by environmental group Greenaccord saw experts, journalists and policy makers come together to try and tackle the issue. Critics pointed out that about one-third of food produced in the world goes to waste costing roughly $680 billion in industrialised countries and $310 billion in developing countries.
Fracking in Argentina has come under fire from locals living near wells who claim they’re ill and their drinking water has been contaminated. Fracking is the process of pumping water and chemicals – a cocktail of some 500 substances that remains a trade secret – into the ground to extract shale gas, a new and highly contentious issue around the world. Indeed, protests have taken place in the UK and US while Germany has put an eight-year moratorium on the practise while effects on the environment are studied. Meanwhile, this controversial drilling has brought many new job opportunities to Argentina.
Ten death row inmates due to be executed in Tennessee, USA, are suing the state over secrecy surrounding its execution methods. The prisoners have asked for answers to a number of questions including who will carry out the executions and what drugs will be used, the latter a highly contentious issue that saw pharmaceutical companies around the world recently attempt to prevent drugs for lethal injections from reaching America. Amanda Haggard reports for The Contributor.
Owen Jones is an award-winning English journalist and author best known for his left-wing commentary in a column he writes for the Guardian newspaper. In his latest book, The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It, Jones explores how those at the heart of government in the UK enjoy close friendships with those they are supposed to be regulating, and how a political career is often seen as a revolving door to lucrative contracts, jobs and posts. He speaks to Gary Ryan of The Big Issue in the North about modern day inequality in Britain and his continuing support of the Labour Party.
Toby Jones is an English actor who shot to fame playing Truman Capote in the film, Infamous, an adaption of Capote’s famous crime novel, In Cold Blood. Since then Jones has starred in several Hollywood blockbusters including Frost/Nixon, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Hunger Games. He also provided the voice of house elf, Dobby, in the Harry Potter films. In a letter to his younger self, Jones recalls spending a summer living in France and meeting Bruce Springsteen. He also reflects on giving up his political ambitions.
In British Columbia, Canada, almost half of all foster children who leave care at 19 years old end up on the streets and with some 1000 children currently in care in British Colombia alone, critics warn that Canada’s young people are being failed. However, a charity called Aunt Leah’s aims to address this by providing a place for those who can no longer stay in government foster homes. Stefania Seccia investigates what can be done to improve outcomes for foster children while examining the debate on whether to raise the age limit for care to 24.
Erika Moen is a Portland based illustrator and cartoonist who also happens to be fascinated by sex. Indeed, Moen is famous for erotic cartoons including the acclaimed web comic, ‘Oh Joy Sex Toy’. She’s also worked for some of the largest and most successful publishers in the business including Marvel and Dark Horse. Moen speaks to Sue Zalokar of Street Roots about the need for better sex education in US schools. Included in this article is a cartoon strip drawn by Moen following the recent suicide of American actor and comedian, Robin Williams.
Glen Hansard is an Irish musician famous for playing in bands, The Swell Season and The Frames. The Dubliner has also won an Academy Award for the song “Falling Slowly” from the 2007 film, Once, which he also starred in. He speaks to Samantha Bailie of Ireland’s Big Issue about his music, busking with Bono, and homelessness.
British musician David Bowie is arguably one of the most famous and revered rock stars of the past 50 years, having sold some 140 million albums worldwide including the remarkable The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Now, a new exhibition at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art in Illinois, USA, brings together some of the most famous Bowie artefacts from around the world including his ‘Space Oddity’ spacesuit. Suzanne Hanney takes a tour for StreetWise.