Ulične svjetiljke (Street Luminaries) – Magazine Provided by the Homeless

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Ulične svjetiljke Facebook page
Ulične svjetiljke Facebook page

Ulične svjetiljke Facebook page

April 28, 2020 – While taking a walk through a few Croatian cities, you must have seen a person standing around holding a magazine. Sometimes you can hear them saying, “The magazine Ulične svjetiljke, 8 kunas.” Never approaching, never aggressively putting the magazine in front of your nose.


(Ulične svjetiljke Facebook Page)

The story behind humble homeless people, who earn 4 kunas from one sold magazine, began in 2008, in the current European Capital of Culture, Rijeka. The Trsat local Fraternity of the Franciscan Secular Order launched Ulične svjetiljke as one of a series of programs aimed at re-socializing socially excluded people. The first editor-in-chief was journalist and theologian Sinisa Pucić, and in 2014 Jasna Krapac took over.

The writers of the magazines are homeless people themselves, who are selling them on the streets, as well. In this article, I do not want to call them “homeless people,” so I’ll name them Luminaries.

Ulične svjetiljke – prilog o časopisu za beskućnike from TV Student FPZG on Vimeo.

They started on the streets of Rijeka, but now you can find them in also Varaždin, Osijek, Vinkovci, Zagreb… As they are often rejected from society, with their effort, you can notice more than one good thing. The magazine costs 8 kunas, 4 kunas are for the seller, and 4 kunas goes to publishing costs. We all feel good when someone appreciates our hard work, so do they. But their work costs only 4 kunas per sold magazine. And they are happy because maybe one or two sold pieces will provide them food for that day. 

Besides “the salary,” Luminaries who write and sell those are trying to remove the stigma about them being dirty, useless, and ineligible. If you watch them standing outside, holding a magazine, pay attention to how different they are. They are patiently waiting, with an accreditation around the neck, for somebody to buy a copy and smile at them. Those people contribute to society, not only with topics that are society-orientated but also with a noticeably positive change and look on them.


(Ulične svjetiljke Facebook Page)

If you don’t believe this, just remember how you accept hearing “Good morning” or similar from “ordinary, normal people.” How do you react to this? You smile and wish them the same. But when it comes to homeless people, who want to be accepted by us, doing the same, our reactions are not the same. Homeless people need to constantly prove their kind intentions because of our lack of trust in them.

That is what those writers and sellers want to achieve. From an article to a drawing, from a receipt to a poem.  Luminaries are showing us pieces of themselves, their talents, what they are capable of if we give them a chance. Pages of this magazine are filled with intimate stories about their lives and the second side of their homelessness.

They are truly like street luminaires. They stand still and give us the opportunity to see things. Sometimes those are things we don’t notice or even don’t know about. Sometimes those are things we keep forgetting about.

I remember when I met one Luminary on the street of Zagreb during Christmas time. Winters are not that cold anymore, but I believe it is not comfortable to stand in one place all the time. I passed by him. I did not stop at first. Then it went through my head that I don’t have a reason not to buy it. I went back to him and said that I would like to buy one piece. “Here it is, 8 kunas, please.”


(Ulične svjetiljke Facebook Page)

Eight kunas, a few seconds of your time, an honest smile, and one kind “Thank you, Merry Christmas” is all that it takes to make one Luminary feel appreciated. And it got me thinking, what all we do to try to impress people around us. Our friends, colleagues, boss, or even people we don’t know. Maybe that is sometimes to show how good we are, to raise ourselves in the eyes of other people. Let’s try to be big in our hearts and try to raise ourselves in the hearts of Luminaries.

Ulične svjetiljke Magazine is a member of the International Association of Street Newspapers (INSP), which covers 120 different publications in forty countries around the world. Through INSP, it wants to show the world the situation in Croatia regarding homelessness and poverty.

On December 10, 2013, the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights presented the Ulične svjetiljke Magazine with the “Joško Kulušić” Award for its contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights in the field of media activities.

Although homeless people are the main factors here, the magazine itself is open for volunteers. If you want your article, a drawing or a poem to take place in it, or if you are willing to participate in any other way, let them know. This circle of good needs to spread.


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