Rahela Bujor, Southbourne, Bournemouth

Rahela likes to help people and has hopes for a future career as a support worker

I’m volunteering in The Big Issue office at the moment helping another vendor get the right benefits. I also sell the magazine and I’ve been doing that for while now. I started it because I heard from a friend that it was a good thing to do so I gave it a try. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not so busy, it depends on my customers coming to buy it. I love my customers and I would like to have more of them to come and buy the magazine.

I do have a few regular customers and some of them know me very well. Sometimes they help me just by saying something nice and I like to talk to them, and some of them will tell you their story as well as buying the magazine. They are very kind and one of the reasons I like it in Southbourne. I’ve not had any troubles since I got here and that’s the way I like it.

Sometimes I like to go to Costa Coffee to buy a coffee. It’s the best coffee. From all the coffees around, I only like it from Costa. Sometimes I don’t have the money so it is a bit of a treat for me when I can afford it.

I do enjoy selling The Big Issue, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t. I’ve met only nice people doing it and I like that you can do it any time you want. If you have trouble picking your children up from school you can leave at any time you need. It’s flexible and that is really important. 

My kids are doing really well. They are going to school and they’re learning so we are a happy family. I really want my kids to have a good job and be independent.

The Big Issue has helped me a lot. When I had a big energy bill to pay they connected me with Citizens Advice and gave me support. They helped me apply for my settled status in the UK and they helped me with child benefit, they have been with me at appointments so they have done amazing things for me. I appreciate what The Big Issue office has done for me. 

It’s very hard at the moment with bills and everything like that but I am trying to manage myself and I am keeping up with rent. The Big Issue’s help is welcome. I don’t think I would have been able to do all this without The Big Issue.

I’m originally from Romania and I do miss it sometimes. My parents still live there and I don’t get to see them very often, so I miss them. Sometimes my mum can come to visit me here.

I’ve been working on my English and now if there are hard words I understand them. When I started selling the magazine I didn’t really know any English but my customers have been speaking with me so I’ve quickly learned by myself. 

Religion is a big part of my life and I go to church most Sundays. I am Pentecostal, and even when I listen to music it’s religious music I listen to. 

In the future I would like to work in The Big Issue office because I want to help people who do not speak English. I’d like to help people. I’d like to be able to interpret for people who need it. This is my dream. I want to give the help I’ve received back to other people. I like to be helpful so I’d like to be a support worker. I am hoping to get a nice job in the future.

Interview: Liam Geraghty

Southbourne, Bournemouth, UK