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The big issue starts up women's subscription enterprise: helping homeless and disadvantaged women one subscription at a time ...

Every night there are more than 46, 000 women who are homeless in Australia. Many of these women have faced horrendous histories of abuse and neglect. And many have children.

Two years ago The Big Issue recognised this problem and went about finding a solution. While the Street Magazine Enterprise (whereby vendors sell The Big Issue magazine on the streets of Australia) is very successful, it primarily helps men--with only 10% of vendors being female.

Homeless women are often fleeing domestic violence situations and present with a far more complex range of needs than men; including safety and security or somewhere to leave their children while they work. Standing on a street corner selling a magazine is not a suitable option for many of them.

So with a dedicated team at The Big Issue working tirelessly for the past two years, June 2010 saw the launch of The Women's Subscription Enterprise--a new social enterprise that will provide work, training and pathway opportunities for disadvantaged women.

Subscriptions are sold to The Big Issue magazine through professionals so there is no pressure on the women to sell and revenue is directed into the pockets of disadvantaged women, through provision of wages, training, mentoring and support.

With every 100 subscriptions, a disadvantaged woman will be employed to work as a Dispatch Assistant to collate, sort and insert the magazines for distribution every fortnight.

Women are given economic empowerment and the skills to change their lives and control their futures. As a steppingstone, the program also provides work experience and skills to help prepare women for entry into mainstream jobs.

Dannielle Bombardiere--The Big Issue

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Title Annotation:The Big Issue
Author:Bombardiere, Dannielle
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Dec 1, 2010
Previous Article:Local government leading the way in supporting social enterprise.
Next Article:The women's subscription enterprise: From living on the streets to helping the homeless: one woman's tale of how she turned her life around.

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