Many of our vendors sell The Big Issue not only to make an honest living and improve their lives, but also to give their children access to better opportunities than those available to their parents.
Nicky Asher-Pedro, The Big Issue’s social worker, noted that the
vendors need all the help that they can get when it comes to extras like school clothes and stationery, as their main goal is usually to cover the necessities.
“Their basic need is to provide for their families the best way they know how. Some of [the vendors] are skilled, educated and have work experience, but jobs are scarce, so we still appeal to the public to support the vendors in any way,” she says.
After publicising the drive, the call for school supplies was met with an
overwhelmingly positive response. Big Issue readers donated pens, pencils, books, crayons and other stationery items.
Penny Ndingi from The Big Issue describes the reaction the vendors
had when they received the stationery, saying that they were “blown out of the water”.
“It came as a surprise and a huge relief, as this meant that the vendors
don’t have to spend the little they make on stationery, but can use that money for other needs. They can’t stop expressing their gratitude for what their customers did for them,” she adds.
The generosity didn’t end with our readers. Old Mutual’s Solution Delivery IT leadership team caught wind of the initiative and asked whether there was any way they could help out.
On hearing that many of our vendor’s children were in desperate need
of proper school shoes, the Old Mutual team purchased and donated 100 pairs of school shoes, valued at R18 000.
“Our team chose to fund-raise for The Big Issue at a recent leadership
event as we love the concept of a developmental employment programme. The outreach aligns with Old Mutual’s strong sense of responsibility, rooted in uplifting communities and supporting entrepreneurs,” says Conrad Blignaut, Solution Delivery Executive.