Face to Face – a voice and power for the voiceless & vulnerable!
In Macedonia, in the last 4 years, the street paper Face to Face, in original Лице в Лице, has taken on the role of initiator, supporter and mediator of the changes needed in the lives of the most vulnerable. Active in six towns around the country, “Face to Face” aims to impact the lives of people who for various reasons have found themselves on the sidelines, by helping them to develop their entrepreneurial spirit as a basis for further progress. Moreover, “Face to Face” is a pioneer in promoting the model of social entrepreneurship in Macedonia, although the country’s proposed Law on Social Entrepreneurship has yet to pass.
This product, from which half of the revenue always remains with the seller, is primarily a response to the economic crises that arose in almost every society that is undergoing a process of transition, as Macedonia is. The basic approach is to use work as a tool to make these vulnerable citizens more socially and economically resilient. By focusing on their abilities, they feel useful and see themselves as an important part of the society. With this labor model, they have the opportunity to be responsible for the successes they can achieve and escape the cycle of poverty into which they have fallen.
The concept of “Face to Face” is one of the most innovative and successful self-help initiatives for the homeless and other vulnerable groups in Macedonia. The magazine works with a number of target groups, including youth over 16, homeless people, people with a history of alcohol abuse, disabled people, social welfare recipients, single parents, former victims of violence, etc.
Selling “Face to Face” is a micro business for these people and provides benefits on several levels, including: daily sustenance, shelter, social inclusion, and adequate preparation for reintegration into the labor market.
Returning from street to school; from street and uncertainty to being at work, from open sky to shelter above head… are just some of the changes generated by the “Face to Face” model. Each story is different, but almost everyone has a positive outcome.
“I support ‘Face to face’ because some people were not given the best shot in life. With this initiative we will be able to provide those shots that are missing”, said the famous Macedonian actor Sasko Kocev.
The process of selling the magazine is generally face-to-face and represents another opportunity to raise people’s awareness about poverty and homelessness. This serves to fight common and pervasive stereotypes. Changing the way the general public sees these groups, influences their own self-perception, as acceptance becomes more widespread. In this way, the vendors of the street magazine will not wait for passive measurements from the state and its institutions, but will actively act towards the enhancement of their everyday lives.
Through its content, the magazine continuously works to break prejudices, to raise awareness, to support and encourage collaboration and partnerships, to inform, to educate, and to build values.
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