The Big Issue Classroom has educated more than 100,000 students

8 November 2017 The Big Issue Classroom

The Big Issue Classroom has educated more than 100,000 students

We’re excited to announce that The Big Issue Classroom has educated an incredible 100,000 students about homelessness since launching in 2009.

Homelessness is one of the country’s most significant social issues. According to the 2011 Census, 105,237 people are homeless in Australia.

Naturally young people are aware of the problem – and have questions about it.

But often they first encounter homelessness when they see someone sleeping rough on the street. Or perhaps they’ve have heard negative news stories about the homeless that suggest it’s a choice or that people who experience homelessness have done something wrong.

It’s important that students have the opportunity to learn about and explore the different forms and drivers of homelessness in a compassionate way.

The Big Issue Classroom encourages students to think deeply about social issues, it tests misconceptions they may have and it opens their eyes to things they haven’t experienced.

Each workshop also features a personal story from a guest speaker who has experienced homelessness.

Jessica, a student from Colac, said to a guest speaker: “Your story had a noticeable impact on my life as I was unaware of the severity of homelessness. I have never had a problem with money or accommodation so your story really showed me a different side of life.”

These first-hand accounts put a face to the issue and help to break down stereotypes. Guest speaking also provides employment opportunities for disadvantaged people.

Shane, who has been a guest speaker in the classroom since 2011, said: “The interaction with students is amazing. I love to see their reactions when they learn about homelessness. Kids come up to me weeks or months later and ask how I’m going – I can see the message is getting through.”

The program runs in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and online.

Find out more about The Big Issue Classroom or book a workshop here.

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