In 2005, I decided to give all the rough sleepers in Brisbane a swag for Christmas, because I don’t think anyone should have to sleep on concrete or in the dirt. News spread quickly of what I was doing and I have been really busy ever since.
After realising the negative effects of ‘sleeping rough’, Jean Madden designed the Street Swag made from lightweight waterproofed canvas with a high-density foam mattress that also has room for extra belongings. With school children, prisoners, and Aboriginal communities, Jean and her supporters have now bedded and given a basic shelter to over 16,400 of our homeless. Jean was the first Australian winner of the world’s largest design award, the INDEX: People’s Choice Award and the QLD Young Australian of the Year 2010. Jean’s initiative is about keeping people alive.
Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney Town Hall, Sydney