International Women's Day Fiona's Story

8 March 2019 Women's Subscription Enterprise

International Women's Day Fiona's Story

Halfway through Year 9 I decided to leave the family home due to domestic violence. For the next six years I was in and out of homeless shelters and crisis accommodation services.

It was difficult at the time, being 19, to try and get back into Year 11 and 12 to do VCE at a particular school because I was still homeless. So, I decided to do my studies via distance education.

I’d take my homework back to my homeless shelter in my bunk bed, where I was sharing a room with 46 other young people who were also homeless. I stayed up most nights with a torch under my blanket, studying.

It paid off, I ended up with a really high ATAR score of 96.55. But I was still struggling day in day out with mental health and other challenges.

The Big Issue came through and I was offered work with the Women’s Subscription Enterprise. So that was pretty exciting, coming into a safe environment, building relationships and friendships and getting to know the staff and other women. My self-esteem grew from that experience.

Fiona graduated from the University of Melbourne with a double degree. She is still working for The Big Issue, and in youth mental health counselling.

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