Megaphone Magazine is on a mission to tackle poverty differently. They create books and magazines and they train over 100 struggling people in Vancouver to sell them. Vendors buy the magazine for 75 cents and sell it for $2. Megaphone also provides jobs and workshops for people who need it in Vancouver. It’s a straightforward way to give a voice to those often overlooked and create jobs in the community. We spoke to Bianca Weima, Fundraising and Communications Coordinator of Megaphone Magazine, to find out more.
Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.
Megaphone exists to change the story on poverty by promoting social equity, amplifying marginalized voices and creating meaningful work. We produce literary and journalistic publications and train 100+ people experiencing poverty and intersecting marginalizations in Vancouver to sell those products for an income. Vendors buy the magazine for 75 cents and sell it for $2, with a similar system for our annual calendar and literary anthology.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Megaphone aims to amplify marginalized voices in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and help those who are low-income and homeless by supplying them with low-barrier and exciting work opportunities and paid workshops.
When did you start/join it?
I joined Megaphone in June of 2023.
What made you want to get involved?
Having volunteered in the area previously I was aware of how vital and important the work that Megaphone does is. It’s an outlet and an opportunity for the community to express themselves in an accessible and welcoming environment. I knew I wanted to work in a community-based space that also shared and output thoughtful stories and voices, which is exactly what Megaphone does.
What was the situation like when you started?
Megaphone has seen some shifts and changes this year, I joined as our Hope in Shadows calendar began production, so I was lucky to meet many Megaphone participants almost immediately as I started.
How has it changed since?
We’ve retained an influx of new vendors recently, people who have faced excessive hardship due to lack of resources in the area but are still excited to join their community and build friendships through Megaphone vending. We recently had our largest annual event, our breakfast fundraiser, which was an uplifting and thoughtful morning to be part of. Being able to see all the people involved with Megaphone, whether through sponsoring or volunteering in one room was an invigorating reminder of the power that Megaphone has to bring Vancouverites together.
What more needs to be done?
Megaphone aims to end the stigma on homelessness and other marginalizing factors and stereotypes. The more people who purchase the magazine and calendar, which highlights the beauty and connection in the Downtown Eastside, images taken by those who live in it, the more we can uplift those who are often overlooked. Each purchase, every donation, gives back to the community. By not only purchasing from a vendor, but buying from them and having that in-person interaction you’re helping end the stigma. You’re also providing our thoughtful and hard-working vendors with connection and friendship, helping us to end the stigma together.
How can our readers help?
Readers can go on our website to the ‘Find a Vendor’ page and see where there nearest vendor is located. They can also call our office and find their vendor that way. We exist to help people who are homeless and low-income in Vancouver, so purchasing the magazine that they help write, the Hope in Shadows calendar that they photographed helps us to do that. You can also donate online, which goes to our vendors for contributing to the magazine, or hosting and attending workshops, and other exciting and low-barrier opportunities!
Do you have any events coming up?
Our Winter Campaign is ongoing until December 31st, 2023 at midnight! All proceeds go to the production of our monthly magazine, written by our peers in the Downtown Eastside. Each donation gives the gift of opportunity and community to our vendors and writers.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
The Binners! The Binners’ project is a group of waste-pickers aided by support staff dedicated to improving their economic opportunities, and reducing the stigma they face as informal recyclable collectors.