Shahin – Azerbaijan

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The following photos and article were composed by our Youth Reporter on Ground for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Parvin Alizadeh and are part of our campaign to celebrate International Day of Street Vendors 2021.

Shahin with Jamal, StreetNet International Secretary

Our next hero is Shahin. He is 35-years-old. After the death of his father, he was the eldest in the family and took full responsability. Shahin tried to work in several industries. He work for construction, he cleaned streets, but then decided to become a street vendor. He build a cart out with small wheels and loads figs and raspberries in small plastic buckets on it.

He moves along the streets and sells his goods near residential areas, from early morning until late in the evening, trying to earn as much as he can. He collects the fruits from his own garden, and also buys from elderly neighbours who do not have the opportunity to sell good themselves.

According to Shahin, he has more or less enough income to make a living. “I also earn money by selling fish products brought by my relatives” he adds. Thankfully, Shahin says he has not suffered violence or destruction of his products by authorities. “There are no problems, we live peacefully. Sometimes, they ask us to change the location and we agree with them”.

The pandemic affected Shahin, as it did many other vendors. But now that there is no lockdown, he his confident he can sell his products, especially during the summer when more people buy them. However, he is worried about COVID-19. If the number of people infected by the virus rises again and the government decides to take hard measures and announce lockdowns, he will not be able to trade.

Shahin is not married, but is responsbile for his family. He wants to save money in case of another quarantine. “I helped my brothers and sisters grow up and build their own family” he says.

As our conversation drew to an end, we wished Shahin good luck with his life path.