Jean Madden

Shelter designer

2010 QLD Young Australian of the Year

Realising the negative effects lack of sleep and sleeping on concrete has on physical and mental health, schoolteacher Jean Madden designed the Street Swag made from a lightweight waterproofed canvas with a high-density foam mattress that also has room for extra belongings. Funded by the community, prisoners sew the Street Swags gaining work readiness skills and qualifications; Aboriginal Communities gain government employment, and home industry skills and school children roll and package them adding other essentials.

Together with the help of numerous aid organisations, and volunteers Jean’s team have distributed over 13,000 Street Swags our homeless ‘sleeping rough’ across Australia. Along with founding and running the charity Street Swags Ltd, Jean has begun its wholly owned subsidiary Walkabout Beds Pty Ltd, which sells a commercial version to the public and provides both models to aid and relief organisations in other countries. This year Jean was the first Australian winner of the world’s largest design award, the INDEX: People’s Choice Award. Jean’s initiative is about keeping people alive.