Mi Valedor is Mexico's first street paper generating a legitimate income for homeless and at-risk populations, following in the footsteps of the UK's 'The Big Issue'. The magazine works as a social tool to facilitate access to opportunities. At the Creative Center, we offer a variety of workshops for the vendors, which focus on recovering the self esteem and social skills that are often a symptom of social exclusion. Through these workshops, the vendors contribute to the editorial content.
Social organizations working with homelessness estimate that 30,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Mexico City. The life expectancy among this sector is only 25 years, and yet, homeless individuals are subject to wide discrimination: 50% of deaths on the street are due to the denial of basic health services. Our system fails to respond to this problem: most homeless services are based on immediate assistance rather than long-term opportunities, and adult men are especially invisible.
Mi Valedor foments self-employment among homeless and at-risk sectors and provides them with personalized accompaniment. We offer sales training and creative workshops in order to prepare vendors for more formal employment, as well as the information they need to freely exercise their human rights. The magazine provides socially excluded and invisible sectors with a legitimate income and the opportunity to interact with the rest of society, while serving as a platform for free speech.
In the last year, over 100 vendors have received training: there are currently 65 vendors in different stages of the program. Through therapy and creative workshops, they are acquiring the skills and confidence they need to aspire towards more formal employment. Several vendors are no longer sleeping on the streets and now pay for their own independent accommodation. With more resources, we can attend many more vulnerable sectors and bridge the wage gap and widespread inequality in Mexico.