The Big Issue : Edition 440
education rocks! Recently I attended a Big Issue Classroom event with a group of Year 12 students (aged 16–18). The classroom sessions in Melbourne are aimed at educating youth about the reality of socially disadvantaged people. I wanted to pass on my thanks, but also to mention the staff at The Big Issue. They make sessions informative, interactive and personal. We heard a personal story from Cheryl, who cleared up many misconceptions about living rough and answered many of the students’ very personal questions with ease and enthusiasm. These sessions are powerful in reducing stigma. They also expose young people to knowledge and ideas they may never have otherwise known. When we left the session, many of my students stopped to talk to vendors on their way to the train station. Their excitement and sharing on the train trip back to school was truly awesome (and a little bit heart-warming for a teacher). Education rocks! Jess Gill, Diamond Valley College, Vic For more information on The Big Issue Classroom, visit thebigissue.org.au/the- big-issue-classroom-about/. Jess wins a copy of Girt: the Unauthorised History of Australia by David Hunt (see our review on p41). your say ‘Your Say’ submissions must be 100 words or less, contain the writer’s full name and home address, and may be edited for clarity or space. Have Your Say about The Big Issue: • email firstname.lastname@example.org • post The Big Issue, GPO Box 4911, Melbourne, Victoria 3001 • facebook The Big Issue Australia • twitter @thebigissue letter of the fortnight My first glimpse of the sellers of The Big Issue was in the Ipswich Mall. I assumed, as so many other people might have done, that these were disadvantaged or homeless people selling a magazine some charity had donated in order for them to buy food or drink. Then I hurried on and thought no more about them. Surprise, surprise! A mutual acquaintance introduced me to Johnathan, who is a Big Issue vendor, and we chatted for some time. I bought a copy [Ed#437] even though I had no great expectations of the magazine. When I read it, however, I was quite impressed by the articles and also the human touch of introducing some of the vendors [in ‘Vendor Profile’]. Johnathan has a new customer. Ivy Hayward, Glen Cairn, Qld Ipswich vendor Johnathan is now saving up to marry his partner, Leanne, so regular sales are very welcome! – Ed. It is so obvious that the big newspapers have a vested interest in bringing the Liberals to power. Newspapers are under threat from declining readership and competition from other papers. I guess they need the money. How good it is to read free and frank opinion – about everything – in The Big Issue. There is minimal representation of women’s opinion in some other media outlets. But The Big Issue has Helen Razer. It’s an event if she writes anything meek and mild enough to be published in The Sydney Morning Herald! Congratulations, press on! Diddy FitzGerald, Windsor, NSW If it’s women’s opinions you want, we also have our Culture Policeperson, Fiona Scott-Norman. – Ed. Rebecca Litchfield’s fascinating historical photograph of part of a farmhouse in Belgium, where the beds were still made (‘Roving Eye’, Ed#438), reminded me of the bedroom in Lieutenant-Governor La Trobe’s cottage near the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. I visited the cottage some time ago. In it, the large bed was still made up, old hairbrushes were on the dressing table and large washbasins placed nearby. Gov La Trobe used to hold meetings with other politicians in his living room in the mid-1800s. Lisa Rhodes, via post Why are refugees such a Big Issue? More asylum seekers may be arriving, but compared to countries like Pakistan and Jordan, we have low numbers. We don’t have a refugee problem, but it has been politically expedient to maintain we do. It’s a wedge issue that has divided the nation, distracting us from focusing on things that truly deserve to be Big Issues: why one in every six Australian children is living in poverty; why there is so little affordable housing; the state of the environment. Instead of dealing with human stories and tragedies of family separation, our political leaders play their game of hairy-chested ping-pong with people’s lives – and risk our children’s future. Dianne Hiles AM, Greens Candidate for Sydney and founding member of Children Out of Detention 12 THe big issue 30 Aug – 12 sep 2013 @rebstadt If you haven’t got the latest copy of @thebigissue, grab one! I’ve only read two stories so far but ‘Travisty’ was funnnnnyyy @ffgeorgie If there’s one thing you should do today it’s buy a copy of @thebigissue’s latest Fiction Edition. It’s a good read.