Gabi’s Story

I came to the UK last year with my family from Romania. Soon after we arrived, I heard about The Big Issue through my church. Because I always wanted to do something useful for me and for the people around me, the opportunity seemed perfect and I asked if they need a volunteer. Soon after, I was offered a volunteer position as an interpreter and English teacher for Roma vendors. I jumped at the chance to get involved, and accepted the position immediately.

Everyone at The Big Issue Birmingham were so welcoming and enthusiastic. Within a few weeks I was involved in running an English school for Roma Vendors- we have been very busy with nearly 100 people having visited us! The school helps those who are in many ways the most vulnerable in society, ensuring they can be heard and providing them with skills to help them find employment.

It has been a very exciting experience to volunteer for The Big Issue. The team is doing incredible things, like helping the poor to fight against poverty and encourage them to take control of their lives. It is an amazing thing to witness people finding their way back into society. I have a heart for people, especially for those in need and I believe in a better world, a world with “a hand up not a hand out”. I’m happy to see that The Big Issue is really doing a great job for this.

By volunteering for The Big Issue I have realised how fortunate we are. We have a lot of things that we take for granted like a home where to live, a job to provide for our needs, health to be able to carry on and a family that loves and supports us unconditionally. Around us are lots of people that need our help to regain their hope and self-esteem. I would definitely recommend volunteering at the big issue, it is a great way to make a difference and meet some wonderful people.

Gabi’s amazing work for The Big Issue Birmingham has seen her recognised at the Birmingham Voluntary Service Council awards last week, where she won Rising Star Volunteer of the Year.

On the contribution made by Gabi, Service Broker Team Leader for the west and East Midlands Susannah Wilson said:

“It is impossible to underestimate the difference Gabi has had on our work with Big Issue vendors. Before she was with us, we were trying to communicate using google translate, which always led to confusion and inaccurate information being conveyed. Our vendors can feel much more comfortable with us, knowing that they have someone they can feel confident speaking to.”

Posted in Staff, Volunteers, Volunteers’ Voices.