Ashoka Fellow
United Kingdom
Fellow Since 2015
This description of John Bird's work was prepared when John Bird was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2015.
John Bird founded The Big Issue in 1991, to liberate and de-criminalize homeless people by giving them an opportunity to earn a legitimate income, exit poverty and gain freedom over their life choices. Today, The Big Issue is the world’s most circulated street paper, selling editions in a dozen countries from Zambia to Japan and having inspired over 100 other street papers in over 40 countries. The Big Issue has become one of the most iconic social businesses in the UK, having coined the principle of ‘a hand up, not a hand out’ and John an inspiration for homelessness charities around the world, including Mel Young and the Homeless World Cup, leading a revolution of self-help.
The New Idea
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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