Big Issue Korea (BIK), the South Korean version of the London-based weekly magazine The Big Issue, has launched. The Big Issue started in London to offer homeless and vulnerably housed people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income. The staff produces a weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine, which vendors buy from us for 85 pence and sell to the public for £1.70, keeping 85 pence for themselves. Vendors must adhere to a code of conduct whilst selling the magazine. The publisher believe in offering “a hand up, not a hand out”, but also recognize that earning an income is the first step on the journey away from homelessness. The Big Issue Foundation is a registered charity, which exists to link vendors with the vital support that will help them address the issues that have led to their homelessness. The Foundation works exclusively with vendors, offering support, advice and referrals.
Fifteen people have begun sales in Seoul, and the magazine looks to increase their number to 50 this year, company officials said. Sellers are issued temporary ID cards and an initial set of ten free copies.
Half a month of vending permits them to purchase copies of the magazine for 1,400 KRW (£0.92) each and sell them for 3,000 KRW (£1.98) thereafter. The initiative will also be supported by the Seoul metropolitan government.