The Big Issue : Edition 554
JODI WOMEN’S SUBSCRIPTION ENTERPRISE #VENDORWEEK 26 JAN–8 FEB 2018 23 The Women’s Subscription Enterprise (WSE) was created in 2010 to provide job opportunities and give support to women who have faced homelessness, trauma or disadvantage. The women package copies of The Big Issue magazine for distribution to subscribers every fortnight, and receive access to training, mentoring and support. The WSE is also contracted for social procurement work, packing and distributing content for other organisations around the country. Jodi tells us more: “I’ve been here since the beginning. The first shift was exciting. It was a little overwhelming, because we had people from the companies that support WSE there. But afterwards I felt like I’d achieved something. It was a good feeling at the end of the day, and you know that whoever receives their subscription is going to get a perfect magazine. It’s daunting to get back in the workforce after being out for a while. I was in an abusive relationship, and out of work for five years. You are told to sell yourself, but it’s hard when they ask you why you were out of work. For me, the biggest benefit is working with other women who have had similar experiences as myself. We all seem to understand each other and we all support each other, we don’t judge. That’s helped with my confidence levels. There are lots of women from non-English speaking backgrounds, too. It has opened my mind up to the different religions and the unrealistic way the media portrays the Muslim religion. There is a friendship and we all care for each other, and if one of us isn’t there, then we all are worried about her. My biggest hope would be to use the skills I’ve learned to get into permanent full-time employment and be able to get a private rental. People might think it’s just a magazine that they get sent every fortnight, but the impact they actually have on an individual is something that individual will carry throughout their lives. It’s not just the money, it’s the interaction with colleagues and managers – not just the magazines but the third-party work, and dealing with the businesses that help support the WSE. It’s reconnected me to my community. The good thing about Perth is that there are so many organisations that are helping us.” PERTH AUSTRALIA DIANE L’ITINÉRAIRE CAFE This cafeteria in Québec offers low-cost meals to vendors of L’Itinéraire street paper and other people in need. It also offers frozen meals that vendors can take home, and serves a free community meal once a month. Disadvantaged people work in the kitchen alongside volunteers, learning new skills and giving back to their community. Diane tells us more: “When I sell the magazine, I’m in contact with customers. When I work in the cafe, I’m in contact with my colleagues (vendors) who are also my friends. I prefer working with my gang in the kitchen. Thanks to our cook, Mister Paul (a volunteer who has been working for the last 10 years), I learned new recipes. I am also responsible for the cash register, although I would like to improve my skills here, I still have a bit of difficulty calculating mentally the change I have to return (chuckle)! I’m really happy to have learned new skills! Everybody loves my soups, especially my cream of vegetable. I’m also proud to have learned how to bake good cookies. The cafe really changed my life! I meet a cafe full of people and I get to know them more and more. People like me a lot, and that feels really good. I love Canada in general, and Québec in particular because people are friendly and uncomplicated.” PHOTOS(L-R)BYYIANNISZINDRILIS;MARIOALBERTOREYESZAMORA;ROSSSWANBOROUGH QUÉBEC CANADA JODI (RIGHT) WITH WSE WORKMATES SUSIE (CENTRE) AND HARJINER.