Mexican street paper puts people homeless people to work

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Mexican street paper puts people homeless people to work

A group of female journalists are fighting homelessness by recruiting Mexico’s homeless population to work and distribute the Mexico City street paper Mi Valedor.

CGTN’s Martin Markovits reports.
Follow Martin Markovits on Twitter @MartinMarkovits

Mexican street paper puts people homeless people to work

Mexican street paper puts people homeless people to work

A group of female journalists are fighting homelessness by recruiting Mexico’s homeless population to work and distribute the Mexico City street paper “Mi Valedor.” CGTN’s Martin Markovits reports.
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After being homeless for two years on the streets of Mexico City, Jose Santilian was losing hope. Once a proud homeowner, he had spent his days looking for shelter and panhandling for food.

Thanks to Mi Valedor, Santilian is now a newspaper vendor.

After six months on the job, he has saved up enough money to rent his own room and he has his self-esteem back.

“Being able to work and interact with people, it has given me my own sense of security and confidence. Now I don’t have to worry all the time on finding a place to stay. Selling this magazine generates enough money for my basic needs,” Santilian said.

Founded two years ago Mi Valedor is Mexico’s first street paper and is part of a growing number of global publications that are distributed by homeless people.

The work model is simple – vendors buys the paper for five pesos and sell it for twenty, making a 15 peso (73 cent) profit. The paper aims to provide income and job skills to Mexico’s growing homeless and low-income population.

Mi Valedor General Director, Maria Portilla, said she was inspired by the UK newspaper The Big Issue, one of the first publications to use this method.

“We go out find them them on the streets and in the shelters of the city. Once they come to our offices, we give them a kit, a permit to sell on the street and a jacket. And this empowers them, they sell it in different places around the city and allows them to make a legitimate living,” Portilla said.