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June 2024 - WAGEC

 

At SNDYS, we believe in giving back, which is why each month a different team member gets to choose a charity close to their heart. For every sale made, we'll donate $1 to that chosen charity.

This month, our Ecommerce Coordinator, Danielle, has chosen WAGEC - Women's and Girl's Emergency Centre. Driven by a deep compassion for vulnerable families, Danielle recognised the critical role WAGEC plays in providing safety, support, and essential resources to women and children in crisis.

We recently sat down for a Q&A session with the team at WAGEC to understand more about their charity and how we can make a difference. Here are the highlights from our conversation:

Who is WAGEC? 
Women’s and Girls’ Emergency Centre (WAGEC) is a feminist, grassroots organisation that supports women and children in crisis.

Every night, WAGEC supports 200 women and children impacted by homelessness, domestic violence and systemic disadvantage. We do this by providing material aid, case management, wrap-around support, accommodation and crisis responses. 

Equally, we seek to stop violence against women and children before it starts, by addressing the causes of gender-based violence through advocacy, education and training.  

Our vision is to create safe futures for women and families by ending-gender based violence in a generation.  

We are based in Redfern, Sydney and work on the lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation.  

 

What motivated the founding of your charity, and how has its mission evolved over time? 

WAGEC was established in 1977 by a woman name Jeannie Devine – a woman who after becoming homeless and navigating the system (only to experience its failures), took it upon herself to create a space where women could turn when they had nowhere else to go.  

Jeannie scoured the city, street-by-street, finding the women in crisis that everyone else had turned away. She sheltered them and guided them – turning the pain of her past into a catalyst for improving the future of women and girls.  

More than 40 years later, WAGEC has grown from a small drop-in service in Surry Hills: WAGEC now provides over 200 women and children with accommodation each night, operates three crisis refuges and 40 transitional properties for women and families escaping domestic and family violence and/or homelessness, and actively engages the community to join the movement to end gender-based violence in a generation.  

WAGEC carries the vision of Jeannie Devine today, working with women in the community whose experience of violence and systemic disadvantage is not supported by the colonial and patriarchal structures of society. 

 

What challenges do you face in providing support, and how do you address these challenges? 

The main challenge faced by WAGEC, and the sector at large, is the ever-increasing demand for services.  

As we navigate the rising cost of living, ongoing housing crisis and epidemic of domestic violence, we know that more women and children need access to material aid, crisis accommodation and safety.  

In the face of these challenges, we can rely on the support and generosity of the WAGEC Community – from volunteers and donors to corporate partners and other funders.  

And of course, our team of passionate staff are dedicated to helping women and children navigate broken systems and build futures free from violence.  

 

Could you describe any specific programs or initiatives your charity offers to empower women and children to break the cycle of homelessness and disadvantage? 

As well as providing crisis accommodation and case management, WAGEC offers four tailored programs to build on the existing strength and resilience of our clients to break the cycle of violence, intergenerational trauma and social disadvantage.  

  • ACCESS is a free personalised mentoring program that helps women and non-binary people to restore financial independence by building confidence, achieving goals and providing pathways to work, training and education opportunities.  
  • HELPING CHILDREN HEAL Program provides specialist support for children and young people whose lives have been impacted by homelessness and/or violence.  
  • The ALL IN Program equips early childhood educators with the knowledge, skills and confidence to challenge harmful gender roles and stereotypes that impact young people.  
  • FROM NOW is a program that is tailored to meet the needs of women exiting prison, with an emphasis on pregnant women and those with children, so they can build a brighter, safer future together.  

 

Looking ahead, what are your organisation's goals and priorities for the future, and how do you plan to expand or enhance your services to better serve your community? 

WAGEC’s vision is to create safer futures for women and children by ending gender-based violence in a generation. 

We are continuing to build tailored programs that address specific areas of need, including FROM NOW, our newest project designed to support women with children who are exiting prison.  

As we grow our work in primary prevention, we are creating generational and cultural change that will stop violence against women and children before it starts.  

WAGEC plans to continue expanding with the goal of eventually providing essential services to women and children state-wide.  

 

Could you share some success stories or notable impacts your organisation has had on women and children? 

This month, we held our annual fundraiser Walk for WAGEC, to raise vital funds to help women and children walk away from violence. The WAGEC Community came together to raise over $437,000 that will help us provide:  

  • 70 women with a year’s worth of groceries  
  • 29 families with six months of crisis accommodation  
  • Over 5000 women can access counselling and therapeutic support 

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