María Portilla
Director General
Mi Valedor
Regina Rivero
Regina Rivero
Administrative Director
Mi Valedor

Writing a Future for Mexico's Homeless Population

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 09:38

Despite public policies, Mexico City’s efforts to provide a sustainable economic status for all its citizens is falling short for those who live in the streets. Mi Valedor, a bimonthly street magazine that provides the homeless with an income, is trying to write a new story for the unattended population of Mexico City. María Portilla and Regina Rivero, Director General and Administrative Director respectively of Mi Valedor, say the publication is a vehicle for social reinsertion and a bridge to formalizing the informal economy. 

Mi Valedor includes graphic and literary depictions of everyday life in Mexico City. Vendors establish themselves in an area or move within the same zones. They sell the magazine to make an income, interacting with their neighbors, building a  client base and in some way become a valedor, or friend in the Mexican slang. The magazine follows the model of The Big Issue, a publication founded 25 years ago in England. Mi Valedor belongs to the International Network of Street Papers (INSP), a network of 110 papers from 35 countries written in 24 languages that provides an income for 10,000 vendors. 

“In some way, this project is helping us mitigate problems that should be part of the government agenda,” says Rivero. Vendors purchase each copy of the magazine for MX$5 and sell it for MX$20. The company also organizes workshops for vendors and other homeless people with to cultivate abilities and values. Around 200 vendors have come across Mi Valedor and 2,000 people have benefited from the workshops.