Beauty and Martha
Making their way to Arcades shopping mall right in surburbia from Misisi Compound (in the outskirt of Lusaka), Beauty and Martha sell their copies of the magazines to Zambians and tourists alike during the weekends. Beauty and Martha sell The Big Issue only during weekends, not because they are lazy; but simply because vending is their second job. The duo teach in the community school of a close compound without having an income since they are volunteers. And in order to support themselves and their families, they became The Big Issue vendors in their spare time.
“With the money we earn selling the magazine we can at least survive: mainly, we buy food and pay the rent – says Martha.” Beauty who like her collegue, is an orphan adds: When my father died, I could afford the funeral bill thanks to The Big Issue.” Both of them are also single mothers: Martha, who is 24 years old, has a girl whereas 25-year old Beauty raises two children on her own. “We discovered The Big Issue through Ernest Banda, the vendors coordinator. He had then been working for an ngo ‘Right to play’ and we sometimes volunteer with them for sports camps through our community schools,” recalls Martha.
Beauty and Martha enjoy their vending positions and always to sell as many magazines as possible: as they did one staurday at the handcrafts market in the residential area of Kabulonga where they sold more than 20 magazines. For Beauty, in fact, working as a vendor is not only a way to feed her children, but also a chance to meet new people. “The Big Issue is too expensive for individuals that live in compounds like us, –she says– but for the middle class Zambians, it offers a good chance for them to help local community that are not in the same class as they are.
Both hope to improve their future through the marketing and sales skills that are being offered to The Big Issue vendors under the Vendor Programme designed to empower vendors with an education and training. And while, Martha dreams of earning enough capital to start up her own business, Beauty plans to remain under the Vendor Programme with The Big Issue Zambia for a while.