THE BIG ISSUE is a non-profit, non-governmental job creation & development organisation established in 1996 that publishes a quality general interest magazine sold by a vendor force of unemployed, homeless and socially excluded adults.
This is backed-up by a social development programme of vendor support, vocational, life and business skills training and guidance counselling, which aids vendors to move back into mainstream society. Critical to its job creation function is THE BIG ISSUE philosophy that actively encourages and equips vendors to “move on” from the project and into the formal job sector.
THE BIG ISSUE launched THE BIG ISSUE magazine in Cape Town 1996 with four vendors and now, in 2014 engages between 250 and 350 vendors who sell up to 14 000 copies of the magazine every month. Vendors buy magazines upfront, sell them on to the public, and earn half of the cover price of every sale. THE BIG ISSUE believes that by earning an income, homeless, unemployed and socially marginalised people are taking their future into their own hands. Ours is “a hand up, not a handout” developmental ethos.
THE BIG ISSUE has provided employment and social support for over 17 000 people, who have earned over R19-million since its inception.
Our core business model is that all profits from sales of the magazine and advertising should be used to produce a better magazine and to provide jobs and social support for poor and homeless people.
THE BIG ISSUE South Africa is a member of the International Network of Street Papers (INSP), which unites over 140 street papers sold by people living in poverty across the globe. [For additional information visit www.street-papers.org]