Our Vendors 

BISS vendors give example of migration across Europe

Fri, Aug 30, 2013

DSCN0127 Tibor Adamec sells at the Marienplatz, the square at the very heart of Munich that is the location of both the city hall and major stores.

“I am a very successful vendor. I think I am the best vendor,” he said. Adamec has been in Germany since 1958; in 1993, at age 56, he tried to find a job.

“All the companies did not want me. A friend of mine told me about BISS project. They took me immediately with no questions. I am employed as a BISS vendor. I pay everything on my own. I was the first vendor who was permanently employed. There were three at the beginning and now two are dead. I am the first and oldest. They were much younger. One died last year and the other seven or eight years ago at 49. “

DSCN0129 Nicolae Bungardi and Laura Simcea were in Portugal for 15 years, where they also sold a street paper. They left their homeland of Romania because of poverty and a lack of work.

The husband and wife arrived in Munich four years ago and couldn’t find work. He slept on the street with their son born in Portugal, now 9. They also have a daughter 15, who looks after her grandmother in Romania. After the couple saw a man selling BISS, they located the paper’s offices and became vendors last year.

Because Munich is so expensive, they live 20 kilometers outside the city in Puchheim (where they still pay 800 euros — $1066 monthly – for a room) and commute in by train. They also send money to relatives in Romania and 150 euros monthly to a sister in Portugal who is jobless.

Untitled-12Miladinka Milenkovic, shown on this week’s StreetWise cover selling BISS on the lower level of the Munich central railroad station, will be 80 years old on September 28. She started with BISS in January 2009 “and is so happy to have some money beside her really small old age pension,” said Hildegard Denninger, managing director of BISS. Milenkovic is Serbian and came to Germany from the former Yugoslavia in 1969. Her husband followed her to Germany and they raised two children. She is still looking after her husband and a son with mental illness. “I have never seen her in a bad mood or complaining about anything. She is such a strong woman,” Denninger said.

By Suzanne Hanney
StreetWise Editor-In-Chief


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