Earlier this year, HopeStreet Women’s Services launched ‘Hope Narratives’, an anthology of stories from the women experiencing stigma, demonstrating resilience and finding belonging.

Jess Davidson, Women’s Services Manager, shares the journey of this stereotype-shattering publication.

“It’s easy to see something in our society like homelessness, drug addiction or sex work without empathy: as a headline, or a statistic. I once held the same view.

Through working with Women’s Services, I got to know the stories behind the headlines and I learned that stories are powerful. They challenge the stereotypes we hold, and change our understanding of people and their experiences. Instead of sympathy or judgement, stories allow us to empathise and see someone as our neighbour instead of the faceless and unknown ‘other’.

We wanted to give women the opportunity to tell their own stories, without speaking for them. We could see how it would empower women and give them a platform to share their own voice. We wanted to tell stories that show the strength, resilience and potential our clients have.

The result is ‘Hope Narratives’. Through the many voices who contributed to this publication, we hope that preconceptions might be challenged, so that readers may see the commonality of people with different experiences than their own.

The women who contributed to this publication, generously shared their stories, poems and experiences and after many months, we had a magazine. With an army of volunteers (graphic designers, photographers, artists, make-up artists and hairdressers) women had the opportunity to have beautiful photos captured. True partners in the process, they decided what photos they wanted published and gave final sign off on the use and placement of images and content relating to their stories.

Smiles beam as women share the magazine with their friends and family while celebrating the strength of others. As one woman reflected ’Reading the magazine made me realise I am not alone, others are ‘out there.’ It’s absolutely beautiful and incredibly inspiring’.”

You can purchase your own copy of ‘Hope Narratives’ today for $20. Visit our donations page and choose ‘Hope Narratives’ in the drop down list.