The importance of being political

The 35. issue of LICEULICE reminds the readers that politics is not only dirty and corrupt, but also crucial for changing the world around us. And it does not mean just voting in the elections, but more important: you are being political if you experience injustice or hate speech and choose not to remain silent, if you actively contribute to your local community, if you don’t give your money to large corporations but to the initiatives that help the people in need, if you buy our magazine and stop to talk to the vendors, and not turn your head away from them.

In the year 2017, we are continuing with the same mission – to be a stronghold for those most vulnerable in the Serbian society. Our approach in the magazine is still unique in the whole region, educating and motivating citizens for every day activism, while the LICEULICE media platform is further spreading with new elements: our own radio-show, and soon a brand new website.

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In the new issue, Liceulice is primarily interested in one problem – if the politics affects all aspects of our lives, why are so few people interested in it, and how come the “apolitical” position is so popular? We have prepared a large number of texts that explain why it is important to notice all the different and often unexpected ways politics determines our lives, but also to realize that we can make changes in the society in which we live. The provocative cover by Miladin Miletić and the effective photographs by the Group Kamerades, make a strong visual response to the main theme.

How art can be political we have practically demonstrated also through the recent exhibition Artist for the good reasons, honoring the international End Racism Day, which was organized together with the Belgrade Center for Human Rights. Young artists from around the region were asked to give their reflection upon the topic “Migrations”, combining statistics and the stories of the migrants who have passed through Serbia.

The position of LICEULICE on the media scene in Serbia is completely unique, since we are using the model of constructive journalism, which offers high quality, but still user-friendly and solution-focused journalistic material. Through the magazine and other multi-media channels we are constantly fighting all forms of social exclusion, while  informing and sensitizing the citizens on the issues such as anti-discrimination, equality, the meaning of public good, the importance of sustainable development and green politics, etc.

The story of a vendor: Milutin Savić Milutko

For seven years now, Liceulice is successfully implementing the programs of direct support for socially disadvantaged groups: our vendors, who earn 50% of every sold copy. Aside from the steady job, we provide them with logistical and psycho-social support, and when possible also with material aid. Meet one of our vendors, Milutin Savić Milutko, the star of our 35. issue. With the money from selling Liceulice, this long-time disability support pensioner now manages to live independently and pay the bills.

Milutin is an old rocker; it is his image since the young days – leather jacket, faded jeans, and rugged shoes. He wanted to be a journalist once, and write about music. But instead he worked in a factory “Ivo Lola Ribar” for nine years, as a “horizontal metal-punch-gnawer”, an anachronistic occupation today.

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Milutin, who also has a diagnosis of schizophrenia, is receiving the disability pension for over twenty years now. Since his income is low (14,000 dinars, plus occasional social assistance), he had to find another employment. He was lucky to run into Boris Pirkovic from Creative-educational center KEC, and after a while became a vendor of our magazine. Money is not the main reason, but it is still necessary, which in his case means around 700 dinars per day: for the cigarettes, something to snack, and pay the bills, with some small change left aside for the beggars. They are not to be missed, even when he breaks the budget. Occasionally he gets another business engagement – a couple of times he was invited to be a DJ in the cafe “Zaokret” in Cetinjska, his usual selling spot.

The organization “Liceulice” operates on the principle of fund for economic, social and cultural inclusion of members of marginalized groups. We apply the “hand up, not a handout” approach, meaning we are trying to create conditions in which people with less opportunities can achieve financial independence by themselves. Our vendors are the homeless, people with physical and mental disabilities, psychiatric patients, Roma, people living in extreme poverty, who earn 50% of each sold copy. In the previous period we secured a job for more than 300 vendors, who have so far earned a total of about 67,000 euros. The distribution network is constantly expanding, and currently consists of about 100 vendors, who sell about 7,000 copies per issue. You can help them with donations, subscription, purchasing one of the socially engaged Liceulice products, or inviting them for the organized sales in your company.

Many faces of vendor support

Every day, we are striving to develop new and better methods for vendor support. We are glad our efforts are publicly recognized, and many sponsors and donors have seen their money or donations go to the right hands. Lately, our vendors were gifted with the new raincoats, hats and T-shirts that arrived via Telekom; they have been invited to Eurobank and Hyatt, and finally returned to Delta City! We have also introduced new support programs for female vendors, please read about them in the text that follows.

Telekom is one of the companies that supported us from the very beginning, financially and in other ways. This time they came forward with a desire to donate 40 brand new raincoats, 80 caps and 80 T-shirts for our vendors, for which they are very grateful.

In the recent years, our vendors were invited for the organized visits to Hyatt, Eurobank and Metro, where they sold a total of over a hundred copies. Aside from the sales and meetings with employees, Hyatt included one of the most famous LICEULICE saleswomen, Nataša Naca Bojanić, in the jury for the selection of the most beautiful Christmas tree.

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We are also very happy that the sales are enabled in Delta City again, where we were not present since 2015. Every first weekend of the month is reserved for the LICEULICE vendors, and the weekends when you can buy our magazine in this popular mall are announced each time a few days earlier, through special posters. Our vendors are present on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays afternoon, on the first weekend of the month – bear that in mind if you plan to go shopping in the direction of New Belgrade. While there, you will have the opportunity to provide direct aid and encouragement to people who are struggling for daily survival.

Since we have noticed that the female vendors often earn less than men, we have come out with a new strategy for additional support. The idea came from The Big Issue Australia, who employs women vendors through subscription for many years now. The first time was an experiment, and our vendor Svetlana Petrovic was thrilled both with the work, and with the extra daily allowance: “Nothing was difficult, it was an easy and interesting job”, said Svetlana. For the next subscription I plan to include more women and thus strengthen their economic position”, stresses Milica Martinovic, our team member who works with vendors and subscribers.

LICEULICE has also been highlighted as a good example of inclusion through activism in the well known TV show about people with disabilities “Place for us”, which is broadcast for years on RTS. Its 142.edition is opened by an extensive report on our magazine, with the participation of two of our vendors, Mirko Ondrik and Goran Petkovic. If you missed it on TV, you can watch the show online here.

LICEULICE visiting Big Issue in UK!

Street papers from different countries around the Globe, including LICEULICE, will come together for INSP’s brand new Intensive Learning Programme (ILP). It allows street paper leaders to undertake a week long placement at a well-established street paper, observing and learning about key areas of street paper operations and development. We have been given an amazing opportunity to visit Big Issue North in Manchester!

The programme was announced late last year, and 20 street papers in 13 countries expressed an interest. Six papers are taking part in the first round of placements. Marko Tomasevic, Liceulice’s Coordinator of Distribution and Vendor Support, will travel to Manchester in May, to spend a week with the team of Big Issue North, and bring a lot of fresh ideas on his return, which will help us to become even more successful in creating job opportunities for the people from the marginalized groups.

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“I expect to become conversant with the functioning of the world’s largest street newspapers and figure out what it makes them the largest in the world”, says Marko. “I also hope to learn more about the sustainability of the social enterprises of this kind. There will be much to learn about the development and implementation of the programs for vendors, as well. I suppose I will be present during the entire working time with them, to observe their work, and I hope to participate in some of the activities”.

“The exchange of ideas and best practice is at the core of what we do and we hope this new programme will continue to build the capacity and effectiveness of street papers”, said Zoe Greenfield from the International Network of Street Papers (INSP).

INSP has really provided us with an amazing opportunity to get inspiration and practical advice from the very best, since we can learn so much from Big Issue about the relationship with the vendors, the methods for reaching larger audiences, and building stronger and financially sustainable social enterprise. The common goal of all of us is to assist those who are the most disadvantaged in society.

Zašto čitam Liceulice: pismo pretplatnika

Postoje razne mogućnosti na koje možete da podržite Fond Liceulice, a pretplata je jedan od najvažnijih, jer osigurava siguran prihod prodavcima. Nedavno smo dostigli okrugli broj od 300 pretplatnika, dok se magazin ukupno šalje na oko 600 adresa, pošto mnogi čitaoci pretplatu poklanjaju i dragim osobama. Pročitajte pismo koje su nam poslala dva redovna pretplatnika iz Novog Sada, Filip Kulić i njegova ćerka Sofija.

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Naš prvi susret sa časopisom je bio na sajmu knjiga 2010. ili 2011. godine. Pri prolasku kroz halu pažnju nam je privukla simpatična ekipa za štandom na kome nije bilo ničega osim jednog časopisa. Ljubazno su nas ponudili da pogledamo, i ako želimo, kupimo. Od tada redovno čitamo Liceulice. Oboma su nam bliske ideje koje časopis zastupa, a to su sloboda, ravnopravnost i demarginalizacija za koje ne možemo reći da su baš opšteprihvaćene. Takođe nas interesuju ekologija i očuvanje životne sredine.

Oboje volimo to što časopis obrađuje veliki broj aktuelnih tema, ali na specifičan i totalno drugačiji način od onoga što nam se svakodnevno servira u drugim medijima. Fascinante su priče o ljudima koji uprkos teškom životu i velikim preprekama, nalaze snagu za njihovo prevazilaženje. Time nam potvrđuju činjenicu da je najveća pobeda u čovekovom životu – pobediti samog sebe i pokazati da je uprkos svemu moguće postati koristan i produktivan član društva.

Teme i poruke koje se provlače kroz magazin su uvek bile nešto sa čim je Sofija mogla da se poveže i da razume s obzirom da se bavi volonterskim radom, najviše u okviru Jazas-a i u školi. Što se mene tiče, ne mogu se pohvaliti da sam baš društveno aktivan. Jedino što gledam da svakog meseca dobrovoljno dam krv pošto imam retku krvnu grupu, AB. Naime, danas postoji sistem davanja krvi „citofereza“ gde se iz krvi izdvaja samo plazma sa krvnim pločicama i kao gotov serum se daje pacijentima. Na taj način je moguće davati krv desetak puta godišnje. Ovim putem bih pozvao sve koji su u mogućnosti, da daju krv. Nas ništa ne košta, a nekome bukvalno znači život.

Na kraju, ovaj časopis nije lako štivo. Bavi se teškim i ozbiljnim temama od kojih mnogi zaziru i okreću glavu. Ne pretenduje, ne može i ne treba svima da se dopadne, ali oni koji ga zavole, zavole ga iskreno, čitavim srcem, za ceo život.

Sve najbolje u budućem radu žele vam,

Sofija Kulić, učenica trećeg razreda gimnazije Isidora Sekulić u Novom Sadu

i

Filip Kulić, profesor na Univerzitetu u Novom Sadu.