Czech 'Big Issue' celebrates first birthday

15-12-2000

Those of you who've visited London will have heard of 'the Big Issue', a magazine sold by homeless people. The Big Issue has proved highly successful, and has sparked a number of similar schemes in various cities throughout the world. One of them is the Czech Republic, which recently celebrated the anniversary of Patron magazine, also known as Novy Prostor. This counter-culture magazine is unique because it's run as a non-profit organization intent on providing an income to the unemployed and homeless. Pavla Navratilova brings this report:

Novy Prostor has given the opportunity for many people living on the margins of mainstream society a chance to provide for themselves. This magazine is sold at half the cover price to the unemployed and homeless to be in turn resold to the public at a profit, providing a source of income. The magazine celebrated its first anniversary this week, and I caught up with two Novy Prostor vendors at Muzeum Metro Station.

"Every day we sell about 25 to 30 copies each, from which we earn about 300kc a day; that pays just enough for food and rent. Currently, where we live it costs about 110kc per day for rent... but since there aren't many people around over the weekend, we have to make sure we have enough for Saturday and Sunday, or else we'll end up on the streets. I'm still waiting for the construction company that I used to work for to pay me... they owe me money and that's how I ended up on the streets...."

Jaroslava Fricova is the editor-in-chief of Novy Prostor. She explained to me how the idea had come about:

15-12-2000