I received a lovely email request today: Request for permission to archive the online publication Tenant Magazine The State Library of Victoria (in partnership with the National Library of Australia) aims to build a comprehensive collection of Australian publications to … Continue reading

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3183 – Alicja Wojcik, CEO and Founder of Tomorrow Foundation

Alicja Wojcik by Bobby Allen

Alicja Wojcik by Bobby Allen

I am just back from a very much-needed break. It has been a busy, busy year and many of my non-work commitments have been forced to take a back seat. (I might have even put some of them in the boot!)

For my holiday I decided to visit the one and only Australia state I’d never seen – Tasmania. I did not have much time, so I stayed around Hobart. I did get to Port Arthur, MONA and managed to check out the wonderful view from Mount Wellington (you can see photos on Insta). It is no secret that it’s a stunning island and I am already planning my return!

Back in Melbourne and inspired by the crisp, dry Tasmanian air I am pleased to publish a new TENANT profile celebrating the committed work of  Melbourne local, Alicja Wojcik.

Alicja was introduced to me by Anna Maria Rose, a Sydney based freelance journalist who penned her profile interview for TENANT. 

I hope you enjoy learning about another inspiring Melburnian as much as I did. (Thanks Anna!)

Advanced Mathematician and former international model Alicja Wojcik, 26, balances working for a global financial services organisation while running her own charity foundation.

Tomorrow Foundation, a charity that supports disadvantaged children in Australia and around the globe, is a project close to Wojcik’s heart.

“I know how it feels to not have much,” Wojcik says.

Growing up in Melbourne as the child of Polish immigrants taught her about the feeling of having little money and how to deal with cultural differences.

Coming from such a disadvantaged background motivated Wojcik to work on a successful career in order to provide other children with better chances compared to her own.

Today, she has travelled the world as an international model, has finished two science degrees, works for a global financial services institution and runs her own increasingly successful charity foundation.

She explains how modelling was an opportunity for her to leave Melbourne, to become independent and to earn her own money.

When she was 17, she did her first modelling job for Vice Magazine, which was soon followed by a campaign for an international fashion label.

Since then Wojcik worked and lived in Milan, Athens, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

After spending two years overseas, she settled back in Australia to finalise her studies and start her charity project.

“I have always done volunteer work with children,” Wojcik says. “I ended up thinking: ‘Why not starting up something myself?’”

She founded Tomorrow Foundation in June 2012. The foundation includes a team of 12 and is running multiple projects, including an orphanage in Uganda as well as a support program for refugee children in Melbourne.

“Recently we became recognised as a public benevolent institution by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and as a result were granted Tax Deductible Status by the Australian Taxation Office,” Wojcik says.

“As a result we can move forward with plans of running a standalone program that will involve multiple schools and at our new centre in early 2016.

“At the moment we all are focused on working through a pre-opening strategy and building the team for this.”

Volunteering weekly for 35 to 40 hours at the foundation would be a full-time job for most people.

However, Wojcik also works three days a week as a Risk Analyst and until recently still undertook various modelling jobs.

“The modelling gave me lots of contacts in the media industry, which has helped me with my work with the foundation,” she says.“Each job that I have done has helped me in a way for the other jobs.”

Wojcik ‘s current focus is to solidify Tomorrow Foundation as a sustainable organisation in order to increase its impact.

“Most of the kids and their families in involved with the Tomorrow Foundation don’t have much money, have little community and their English isn’t very good,” she says.

“We want to create a centre where they can meet people who are going through the same experiences and support one another.”

While successfully managing the balancing act of multiple occupations, Wojcik continues to achieve her goals to help children and make the world a better place.

For more information on Tomorrow Foundation, or to get involved visit:

Also, keep your eye out for a collaboration between the foundation and Australian artist David Bromley in 2016. The event, which will launch mid year, will invite children to paint their childhood dreams.

Posted in children's charity, refugee support | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

3181 – Dr. Elise Bialylew, Founder, Mindful in May

Dr Elise Bialylew photo credit: Fi Mims

Dr Elise Bialylew photo credit: Fi Mims

TENANT was born of an interest in documenting Melburnians and the way their choices are shaping the city, from the inside out.

This month I profile a person who impressed me, long before I had the opportunity to meet her in person.

Dr. Elise Bialylew is a Melbourne based doctor, turned social entrepreneur, coach and founder of Mindful in May (MIM) – a global movement that encourages people around the world to meditate daily, while raising funds to build clean water wells in the developing world.

When a friend recommended MIM to me last year, it was at a time I needed to make a difficult career decision, and needed some perspective. 

Having meditated on and off for years, in combination with yoga practice, I had confidence in the recommended benefits and it seemed like the right time to take the challenge. I signed up in the hope I would find mental clarity, or perhaps even a career epiphany.

To join the global challenge, participants pay a fee (this year it is $30.00, or $1.00 a day)  and throughout May have access to weekly meditation files, and interviews with global experts in the fields of wellness, meditation and brain training – to inspire and stay connected to the cause and personal goals.

Daily emails from Elise include words of encouragement, user stories and updates on fundraising successes from national and international teams who have joined the movement.

MIM Banner

MIM Banner

The idea is that while you learn to meditate and mindfully care for yourself, your efforts will ripple across the world to help improve the lives of the one in nine people on the planet who live without access to clean, safe drinking water.

This concept is a fabulous kind of yin and yang, where those in the developed world practice stillness and community, something that does not always come easily in a suburban or oversubscribed life, and those in the developing world, who on a simplistic level experience a counter issue, benefit from this mindful application to self and beyond self – working for a common greater cause.

Elise’s bio describes her as an ‘out-of-the-box’ thinker, a doctor trained in psychiatry, and mindfulness meditation teacher…

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St Valentine’s Day, Melbourne

Today is St. Valentine’s Day and couples all over Melbourne, and the world, are celebrating love. While there are many reject the day and balk at the commercialisation of love I’ve decided to embrace it. There are too few things that unite us in celebration and I reckon love, however you do it, is worth encouraging.

Did you celebrate love today? How do you love?

Here is what some Melburnians had to say when asked “about love”:

Cuong and Jess

Cuong and Jess in St Kilda

“Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you” (Rick Astley)

Arturo and Sophia on their wedding day

Arturo and Sophia on their wedding day in Mexico (photo supplied)

“Let these be your desires:
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and
give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart” (Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet)
Lilli in the Garden

A pretty and shy smile from Lilli in a South Yarra Garden

” Love all, trust a few and do harm to none.”

Paul and Sue from Middle Park

Paul and Sue from Middle Park

 Paul “I  love life and being together, still, after 52 years!” Sue ” I also recommend always keeping separate bank accounts.”

Julia and Scott from Brunswick (now Scotland)

Julia and Scott in Brunswick


“Love can take you to surprising and marvellous places, if you’re just willing to take the ride…”

Hayley and Shelley

Hayley and Shelley from Northcote

 “Go ahead… Love like you never have loved before…”

Posted in Melbourne street interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

St Kilda Festival 2015

I live in St Kilda, and have for quite a bit of my life. I went to primary school in St. Kilda, and high school as well.  I have lived overseas, interstate, northside, westside, and still I return. Usually it is unplanned but, nonetheless, I do return.

A bay-side, south-eastern suburb of Melbourne, St. Kilda is known for palm tree skylines, cake-shops, Sunday markets, rowdy backpackers, old rock’n rollers, seedy pubs, eccentric locals, charity organisations, and Victorian fun-park vistas – a Venice Beach of Melbourne if you will.

While it is certainly different to the ’80s St Kilda of my youth, it retains many of its seasonal charms and more community than it is given credit for.

Today was the annual St Kilda Festival. Often I choose to escape the suburb and leave the tourists to it… But today I grabbed my camera, and walked the streets  – celebrating my suburb and counting my blessings.

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015 Selfies with "Shakira" the police horse

St Kilda Festival 2015 Selfies with “Shakira” the police horse

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015

St Kilda Festival 2015 Waiting for The Church


Posted in Festivals, Photography, Street Photography | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Scott – Brunswick

Scott, Brunswick

Scott, Brunswick

Happy Australia Day! How are you planning to celebrate the public holiday?

My wife and I are actually flying overseas today. We are off to live in Scotland for a year or two.

Well isn’t that ironic!

Yes, it is, isn’t. We’ll miss our local community and our family and friends, but we are very happy to say “see you Tony”, and we hope  things will be a bit different, leadership wise, when we get back.

Posted in Melbourne street interviews, Photography, Politics, Street Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Karen – Warburton Main Street

Karen, Main St. Warburton

Karen, Main St. Warburton

It is lovely to get out of Melbourne for a weekend. Warburton feels so green and restorative. Have you lived here long?

I was working for a company in Melbourne which ran marketing campaign that started with the line “Life is too short”.  I heard that slogan everyday for months and then one day I thought… you are right – so I typed out my resignation letter and moved here soon after. That was in 2004.

Happy you made the change?

Very happy!

Posted in Craft, Fashion, Street Photography | 1 Comment