Technology for social justice
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Read the latest stories about how we’re using technology for good.

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In recognition of International Women’s Day, we’re publishing a series of posts throughout March looking at the challenges women face in our society. Our previous article, Google gives a tick for tech supporting women, highlighted our successful partnership with Google and our combined projects supporting women through technology.

This week, Nicole* shares her journey of becoming homeless after fleeing domestic violence. Sadly, this is a common story as women and children escaping family violence were the largest group of people searching for housing last year via our support website, Ask Izzy.

Three years ago, Nicole was in an abusive relationship that had also caused a lot of friction between her and her family.

“My partner did a fantastic job of isolating me from my family and creating a situation where they had cut me off financially,” Nicole says.

“I was four hours late to my sister’s wedding and that was, I guess, the straw that broke the camel’s back. I missed the ceremony. It was actually extremely traumatic.

“And so, as a result of that situation, and several others, my family, basically who I had always relied on for support, had said enough is enough you have to do it on your own.”

When Nicole left her partner, she had no support network left.

“I didn’t even have time to grab my handbag - no ID, nothing. I just left and I ran. I was living in the country so I hitchhiked to Melbourne.

“When I got to Melbourne I just thought, I’m not going back, I can’t go to any friends or family for support, so I just have to work it out from here.”

After sleeping at a church one night, the priest there called the Salvation Army and put Nicole in touch with a domestic violence support service.

Nicole moved from a women’s refuge to a backpackers, and eventually found herself living on the streets. That is, until the Salvation Army’s Magpie Nest program helped her to find secure housing.

Nicole’s story is one that is not uncommon, and is one of the reasons behind why we developed products like Ask Izzy, connecting people who are homeless with support, as well as our client and case management system, which supports vulnerable women across Australia.

"One of the most significant issues that are facing people who are homeless, is a sense of being for forgotten and a sense of hopelessness,” The Salvation Army’s Major Brendan Nottle says.

 “One of the wonderful things about the Ask Izzy initiative is it answers both of these issues quite profoundly.  

“It lets people know that they are not forgotten, that there are a whole range of people that are concerned about them and it gives them links into local services that will help get them back onto their feet." 

With a brighter future ahead of her, Nicole is now studying community service work and hopes to continue her studies to complete a Bachelor of Social Work.

What are your thoughts on technology supporting those who are homeless? Share your comments with us below.

Read more about Ask Izzy.

*Names have been changed to protect the individual’s identity. 

As part of our blog series to recognise International Women’s Day, we talked to Google Australia/New Zealand Head of Public Policy & Government Affairs, Ishtar Vij, about supporting women through technology.

As part of our blog series to celebrate International Women’s Day, we talked to Infoxchange manager Amodha Ratnayeke about how our client and case management system is supporting vulnerable women across Australia.

If you're a service provider, Ask Izzy is a simple and easy way to ensure that the people who need your help can find you.

When it’s used well, social media can be a fantastic, cost-effective tool for your not-for-profit organisation.

Ask Izzy, the mobile website that connects people who are homeless with essential support services, is being expanded to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ access to health and wellbeing services.

It is hard to believe that just 12 months ago, we gathered with our friends from across the community, government and corporate sectors to launch Ask Izzy. Let's take a look back at the last year.

Since 2002, Green PC has provided close to 40 000 computers to individuals and families on low-incomes, helping provide access to the online world

Ever wonder how you fair compared to other not-for-profits when it comes to your website, email communications, fundraising tools and social media?  

Picture this. Today is the day you suddenly find yourself homeless. But you can’t, right? Nobody can. Pete Burns explains how easily it can happen, and why Telstra’s providing of unmetered access to Ask Izzy is so important.

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