Category Archives: Social Changers

Social Changers: The Big Issue

[This blog has since moved to bybethanyjae.com. Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]

“The Big Issue Australia is an independent organisation that develops and operates social enterprises and creative, sustainable solutions to homelessness; providing opportunities for homeless and marginalised people to positively change their lives.”

The Big Issue is a major social changer when it comes to the lives of those affected by poverty. Founded by John Bird and Gordon Roddick in London in 1991, it’s since spread to eight countries from varying social climates (Kenya, Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, Japan, Namibia, Ireland and Australia).

In Australia, the main program that they’re known for is The Big Issue Magazine. Released on a fortnightly basis, it’s produced by professional journalists and sold by street vendors – which is what makes this non-profit so special.

The street vendors are what many would consider ‘marginalised’ because of their circumstance. Some are homeless, others have physical disabilities, and others are struggling with addictions; but they all want to improve their lives.

Each magazine only costs $5 with half of the sale going directly to the vendor ($2.50 per issue). And since starting in Australia in 1996, 6 million issues have been sold with vendors receiving $13.2 million.

The vendors are incredible people and if you look at the website, you can read about some of their lives. Check it out here.

Another program the enterprise runs is The Women’s Subscription Enterprise.

Flowing from The Big Issue Magazine, it works on the model where for every 100 magazines subscribed to, a woman is employed. These women are employed by the enterprise to work as Dispatch Assistants, sorting, collating and inserting magazines. But more than that, they are given opportunities to receive training and ways to develop their skills in a great environment. Learn more about it here.

They’ve also started a community initiative called the Street Soccer Program.

With a simple mission: “To use sport as a means to promote social inclusion and personal change for homeless, marginalised and disadvantages people, creating healthier communities.” Participants are able to make friends, get fit and healthy in the process, receive support and advice, find employment, and become part of a community. [Note: Watch the video below on it, amazing.]

The last program run by the enterprise is The Big Issue Classroom.

With the purpose of breaking the stereotypes surrounding homelessness, students learn about not only about it, but also have their level of social awareness developed. This is done through lesson plans, excursions, and the opportunity to hear from someone whose experienced homelessness.

The Big Issue Enterprise is a great social changer. They value, educate, provide, support, encourage, and include those that society may have otherwise overlooked or ignored.

Next time you’re in the city and see a vendor, how about you stop, smile, chat to them for a bit, and buy a magazine (or two). That’s how simple it is to make a difference in their life.

“The Big Issue Australia is proudly non-judgemental and welcoming to all, treating all people with dignity and respect, and promoting independence and self-reliance”.

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Social Changers: TOMS

[This blog has since moved to bybethanyjae.com. Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]

“Giving is what fuels us. Giving is our future.” – Blake Mycoskie, TOMS founder and Chief Shoe Giver

TOMS. A company with a point of difference: A One For One Model.

When Blake, an American entrepreneur, travelled to Argentina in 2006 and saw children running around with no shoes to protect their feet, he decided to change that and started TOMS with a unique mission:

“With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One For One.”

Blake had no idea how to make shoes at the time, but he partnered with the right people, had the right connections, and TOMS was born.

Gathering worldwide attention and popularity by celebrities, media coverage, students, mothers, fathers, travellers, businessman, teenagers, and the like, by September 2010  TOMS had given its millionth pair of shoes to a child in need.

Having gone to many impoverished countries giving shoes to children, Blake saw other basic needs that weren’t being met – like eyesight. So in 2011, TOMS Eyewear was launched with the same One For One Model:

“With every pair you purchase, TOMS will help give sight to one person in need. One For One.”

TOMS also produce T-Shirts, sweaters, beanie’s, stickers, and a stack more. And when you purchase something, they give a pair of shoes to a child in need – One For One.

[fun fact: blake and his sister were on the second season of “the amazing race”. they came in second, missing out on the $1million prize by 4-minutes!!]

But TOMS isn’t just a company, it’s a movement. One Day Without Shoes is an annual event that started in 2008 by a group of college students. The reason? To spread awareness about the millions of children around the world without shoes. Since then it’s exploded and in 2010 over 250,000 people took part worldwide in 1,600 events.

But don’t get fooled by thinking that TOMS is named after Tom (as some articles on the web have claimed, tsk tsk). TOMS is a clever deriver of the phrase “Tomorrow’s Shoes”.

Truth be known, I love TOMS. Right now as I type this, my MacBook has a TOMS sticker on it, and I’m wearing a TOMS sweater and necklace. I also have two pairs of classic canvas shoes and a pair of botas in my shoe collection. And my bookshelf contains “Start Something That Matters”, an incredible book by Blake Mycoskie about the TOMS journey.

Sure, their products are nice, but the reason behind it makes TOMS so much more attractive and purposeful. My 6 TOMS items = 6 happy children with shoes. 

It’s new. It’s practical. It looks good. It’s innovative. And it’s helping people.

Website: toms.com | Twitter: @TOMS | Facebook: facebook.com/TOMS

INTRODUCTION: Social Changers

[This blog has since moved to bybethanyjae.com. Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]

Hi All!

Hope you’re all having a super week!

Let me begin by giving a bit of a background about this blog. It started in October 2010 when for one of my University assignments we had to set up a WordPress blog account, pick a topic and write weekly blog posts about it, gaining followers and publishing skills along the way.

Most of the girls picked fashion, most of the guys picked sport, and I picked social media.  I decided to call the blog “itsasocialthing” because the media is now a major part of our social lives, and at the time I was working with a social media marketing company. Once the assignment was completed my blog posts drizzled out to only being published every now when I came across something inspirational.

Over time this blog has changed. It travelled with me to the Philippines, it’s been listed on upstart: the magazine for emerging journalists, one of my heroes in the writing field even looked and commented on one of my blog posts (I was so shocked that I never even replied to even say thank you!!), and people subscribe to it now from all over the globe (what the?).

From post to post though, the focus has slowly changed. It’s no longer about social media, it’s about social justice. But it’s still all social. One of my passions is finding charities, non-profit organisations, people, and anything else that it related to bringing about a positive change in the world. The more I discover, the more I get excited about the state of the future.

So, I’ve decided to introduce something new to my blog entitled: SOCIAL CHANGERS.

Once a week there will be a post highlighting someone, an event, organisation or anything else that is bringing about a change in the world (think poverty, human trafficking, bullying, non-profits, cancer awareness days, charities, and more…)

Why? Because it’s one thing to be made aware of the injustices and poverty in our community, nation and world…but it’s another to be made aware of those who are being the solution and making a difference in it.

Stay tuned for the first piece. It will be up over the next few days.

Much love, Beth x

[Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours. — Cesar Chavez]